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DCNR celebrates the inclusion of the environmental education center Nolde Forest in the old growth forest network


Harrisburg, Pa — The Department for Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) today celebrated the inclusion of the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center near Reading in Berks County in the National Ancient Forest Network.

“The addition of Nolde Forest to the Old-Growth Forest Network is a tremendous honor for DCNR,” said Dunn. “I will forever be grateful to the Old-Growth Forest Network for their work identifying and supporting forests in Pennsylvania and across the United States. and how important it is to be good stewards of our natural spaces like this.”

The environmental education center Nolde Forest covers more than 700 hectares of deciduous forest and conifer plantations – some of them regrowing for almost 120 years. A network of nearly 10 miles of hiking trails makes the center’s streams, ponds, and various habitats accessible to visitors daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

Nolde Forest is in the Schuylkill River Valley – the traditional homeland of the Lenape people. Thousands of years before European contact, the Lenape people and their ancestors hunted, gathered, farmed, and traveled the land comprising the Schuylkill River Valley and its tributaries.

“This is a place where visitors can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the creek,” said Nolde Forest Director Brent Erb. “Volunteers come to check water quality, fix trails and do special fundraisers. Students visit us to learn more about our ecosystem and the connections between people and nature from our dynamic educators. Because of our shared commitment to the management of natural resources, this partnership with the Old-Growth Forest Network is a natural step in promoting ecological literacy and accessible forests. It is the people who come here to the Noldewald Environmental Education Center and the habitat and wildlife that we all love that make this place so special.”

The Nolde forest is a biodiversity success story and a unique member of the primeval forest network. Five generations ago almost every tree had been felled by European settlers, including miners making charcoal for the iron industry, farmers clearing land, and loggers felling trees for sawmills. What had been a place of abundant natural resources until the 17th century had become almost devoid of wildlife due to the industries of the time.

The Old-Growth Forest Network is a national organization working to preserve old-growth forests for the enjoyment of present and future generations. In counties that can support forest growth, the network identifies at least one forest that is protected from logging and open to the public. The 2012 by Dr. Joan Maloof, the network currently includes 184 forests in 32 states. Nolde Forest joins 26 other Pennsylvania forests already on the network.

“Pennsylvania leads the nation in the amount of old-growth forests dedicated to the network,” said Brian Kane, Mid-Atlantic Director of the Old-Growth Forest Network. “Pennsylvania shows a remarkable commitment to the preservation of ancient forests, and the DCNR has shown strong support for the protection of these valuable national resources. Without our volunteer district coordinators, who help us with forest identification and monitoring, we could not expand the old forest network. We are also grateful to the District Foresters at DCNR who share the amazing stories of these treasured lands with all of us.”

Jacob Nolde, a German immigrant known for his successful knitting factories, acquired what is now the forest in 1904. At that time a single white pine grew near the sawmill on Angelica Creek. Inspired by this tree and his knowledge of European forestry, Nolde started planting trees.

By 1910 he was nationally recognized for his forestry practices. The Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center was protected forever in 1966 when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania bought the land from the family to build the first environmental education center in Pennsylvania.

Find out more about the environmental education center Nolde Forest on the DCNR website.


MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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