Our Projects

Dedicated to providing valuable information to park visitors, the 3MJC undertakes projects that support their goals of promoting stewardship of our valuable natural resources.

Cavity-Nesting Birds TrailsMom and Dad Bluebird Like their Nest Box

Humans have been giving cavity nesting birds a hand by providing nest boxes along monitored trails. Moraine, McConnells Mill and Jennings all have nest box trails. These boxes are monitored weekly during the nesting season, which runs from mid-March through September.  The monitors follow the Nest Monitors Code of Conduct and the NestWatch Protocol for Monitoring Nests recommended by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Activity in the nest box is recorded weekly on a data form. The information gathered is submitted to the DCNR Regional Office and the DCNR Central Office at the end of the nesting season and is used to compile statistics regarding the health of the cavity nesting bird population. The monitors also clean, repair, replace and winterize all boxes as necessary.

Moraine has two monitors for the north shore and one monitor for the south shore. McConnells Mill has one monitor. Jennings has one monitor. 3MJC's role includes providing monitors with supplies and assistance with maintenance for the nest boxes.

Make a real difference to our native birds! Find out how . . .

 

 

 

Celebrate The Bloom! LogoCelebrate the Bloom!

Jennings Environmental Education Center celebrates the bloom of the blazing star prairie each July. This prairie is a unique natural resource and the goal of Celebrate the Bloom! is to share and protect this treasure.

Celebrate the bloom consists of a full day of activities for the entire family--walks, workshops, demonstrations and a bonfire plus local food, vendors and entertainment. This is the only managed and protected prairie in Pennsylvania--We want to make sure it thrives for generations to come.

You can participate in this event by being a sponsor, advertiser, food or product vendor. Or you can come out to the Jennings on during the celebration and participate in the fun.

To find out more about how you can participate in Celebrate the Bloom!

 

 

 

Invasive Species Removal

Invasive plants are always a problem. Planted for various reasons, mostly for functions like erosion control, natural fences or culinary purposes, these plants multiply rapidly and use up all the resources native plants would use. In the case of Oriental Bittersweet and other vining invasives, the vine kills trees by cutting off their access to sunlight and food. The result is the loss of native plants that feed native butterflies and wildlife and a break in the food chain. The environmental factors that would have kept these plants in check in their native habitats do not exist in their new habitat. Garlic Mustard Bloom

Garlic mustard is one such invasive. Thought to have been brought to the states from Europe for culinary purposes, garlic mustard has proliferated throughout Western Pennsylvania and is found throughout the parks. One of 3MJC's initiatives has been to organize days where volunteers meet to pull garlic mustard. This plant, with its ability to spread rapidly and thrive in shady, even undisturbed woodlands, is a menace that is crowding out many native plants. One local species it has displaced is the native toothworts, which sustained the West Virginia White, a small white habitat which is no longer found in many of its original habitats.

We need your help to make our parks a refuge for native wildlife and keep invasives in check. To learn more about invasive plants at the parks . . .

 

Muddy Creek Oil Field Photo

Muddy Creek Oil Field

The first of these projects was the restoration of an antique well. The Bessemer Gas Engine and Marshall- Barr No. 19 oil well equipment was substantially completed and opened for visitors in August of 2000. Since then the site has been operated on designated days during each month from May through October.

Unused for over 40 years, the original metal building containing an antique Bessemer engine would have been a discouraging sight when volunteers first considered the project. Undaunted, 3MJC took up the task of removing vegetation, cutting down trees and rebuildling the old corrugated steel engine house. They then restored the antique engine and other operating equipment. During site operations, the engine runs and pumps crude oil, just like in its heyday.

Volunteers continue working on restoration and maintaining the site. Learn more about the award-winning Muddy Creek Oil Field.

 

Swallowtail on Button Bush

Native Plant/Butterfly Trail

A second project, maintained by 3MJC in partnership with the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Butler County, is the Native Plant/Butterfly Trail. The trail is a wild garden located on a former potato farm near McDanel's Launch on the North Shore of Moraine State Park.

A peaceful place for an evening walk, the chief purpose of the trail is to provide habitat for native butterflies. This includes making sure there are host plants on which the butterflies lay their eggs and which the larva eat, in addition to having flowering plants to provide nectar for adult butterflies.

The pond contains frogs and native water plants, including water lilies. Only plants native to the region are placed in the beds. Milkweeds native to the area are a focus, as they provide food for the eggs and larvae of the Monarch Butterfly, one of the few hibernating butterflies. For more information on the Native Plant/Butterfly Trail, its plants and its wildlife . . .

 

Volunteers Begin Planting Natives at Prairie EntranceJennings Prairie Gateway

3MJC is working with Jennings staff to transform the current prairie entrance into an interpretive site and day use area. The overall project will consist of several smaller projects in order to complete the makeover.

Once these projects have been completed, 3MJC will maintain the native plant beds. The interpretive sites will include:

For more information about native plants and the proposed interpretive sites. . .

 

 

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