Welcome Janu-Wonder 2023!

January is a wonder-filled month, though the often gray skies may

leave you feeling less than inspired. A quick Google search for

'celebratory calendar days' will yield results for months like

Walk your Pet Month, Oatmeal Month, and National Mentoring Month,

as well as important days to honor our heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There are even week-long ways to celebrate the new year like

Hunt for Happiness Week, on January 15th through the 21st. We

think these are all fun and important ways to pass the time and hold

space in our hearts for others, but here at WPNR, we aim to guide

you to bundle up and get out there to look for the wonder all around.


January's colors may be muted, but they're there, across the spectrum,

waiting to be seen. Sounds may be a bit softer in nature, but pause to

listen, and you'll hear them - a reminder that life is resilient, carrying on, even below freezing. Sights are everywhere: your favorite tree showing

off its buds for the upcoming spring show, the icy trickle of a

once-swollen creek, the underbrush scarred with paths of small

mammals that you can't see in the height of lush summer foliage.

It's all there - the wonder that we need to remind us that we're

human and part of something wonderfully big.


As the days grow longer, we are hard at work planning new adventures

for you in 2023, so stay connected with us so you don't miss a thing.

Stay warm and well, and we look forward to seeing you!

Be Well in Nature,

Executive Director, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve

The Hunt For Happiness Week


January 15-21, 2023

join us for a week of finding your happy place.


What if we told you there was a group of folks who have existed for 25 years solely to help us humans become our happiest selves? Well, as surprising as it may be, it's true. The Society of Happy People is an honest-to-goodness real thing. According to Wikipedia, The SOHP was founded in 1998 in Irving, Texas, by Pamela Gail Johnson with the main idea of creating a "safe place" where people can share their happy moments, without being discouraged by the parade rainers. It gained international reception when it challenged advice columnist Ann Landers for discouraging people from writing happy holiday newsletters enclosed with their holiday cards, which spurred her to eventually change her stance.


The main purpose of the Society is to stimulate people's right to express their happiness "as loud as they want", and supports people who want to share their happiness despite the ones who don't want to hear happy news. Their mottos include "Happiness Happens" and "Don’t Even Think of Raining on My Parade."


We love the idea of celebrating happiness even in the darkest days of winter, but we propose that you take a vow to let nature be your guide. In the spirit of the original SOHP Hunt for Happiness Week, we'll be offering opportunities throughout the week both at the reserve and online so you can find your happiness through nature!


Check our Facebook and Instagram pages, and our Website for activities and nature prompts, and visit us throughout the week in person to participate in this mood-lifting event.

Have You Seen Her?

The Winter Solstice Sprite is still in our midst!


It's been told that Jack Frost rules over the winter fairies and tasks them with blanketing windowsills, rooftops, and rolling hills with sparkling snow. The Solstice Sprite is especially magical since she appears on the land around the time of the winter solstice, which occurs on Wednesday, December 21, at 4:47 pm. This is the day of the year with the least amount of sunlight and, consequently, the most darkness, and is the astrological first day of winter in the northern hemisphere. Known to the Germanic people as Yule, one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world, they rejoiced with bonfires, song, and libations as the darkest night of the year would now give way to the return of the light.


Though the solstice has passed, the Solstice Sprite remains in our presence as a reminder to honor the light as the days grow longer, minute by minute. Hidden somewhere on the reserve, you'll find her sparkling door. Use the riddle below for clues to find it, and share your photos of your adventures and tag us on your social media page!

'On the day most scarce of light

a sparkling tiny sprite

of winter's chill and cheer

you'll find will soon appear.

On the treed path east of our door

through the gate, you must pass

and search for

green moss in the cherry tree hollow

for magic and merriment follow!'


learn your way through winter

There's something for everyone, from the young to the young at heart!


Wild Ones Registration Opens February 3, 2023
Environmental Explorers Registration

Wee Ones, Come Nature Play!


We welcome "Wee Ones", from birth to age 2, for a morning of free play and exploration. A mini outdoor experience will follow with a short story and end with free time for exploring play stations

inside our Learning Center Barn. Relax, explore, and enjoy.


February 16, 2023, from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

March 23, 2023, from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Frosty Fridays

Visit us on the fourth Friday of the month in January, February, and March, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm when we"ll

#GetOutside and experience nature in all kinds of weather.


To kick off the first Friday of the series, meet us at the barn on Friday, January 27th at 10:30 am and we'll demonstrate

how to use iNaturalist and join our WPNR citizen

scientist project. Next, we'll bundle up and set off on the trail

to observe nature in hibernation.



We'll cap off the frosty day with cocoa in the barn where you can relax and enjoy our educational displays, animal friends, and our ever-growing lending library. There's no excuse for cabin fever!

All ages are welcome, no registration is required.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 16, 2023

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.

We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into

a single garment of destiny.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Today and every day, we honor your words, your vision for our future, and your shining examples. May they serve as a guiding force as we strive to be a more inclusive, fair, and just society.

The Season Through Our Lens

Above photo by Michael Sims 2023

Upload Your Finds


Join the conservation community and help us document the flora and fauna on our landscape so that we can protect them for everyone. Join the many projects the Reserve offers!

WPNR Projects

Follow WPNR Birds

Contact Us

(724) 537-5284

744 Walzer Way ​Latrobe, PA 15650

Barn Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10 AM – 4 PM

Trail Hours:  Daily Dawn to Dusk

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