As snow covers much of Shaver’s Creek there is still much to see and explore. The Eastern white pine and Eastern hemlock are a beautiful contrast against the white winter snow. Eastern hemlocks are characterized by their short, flattened needles and small brown cones. They are able to grow well in both open sun and densely shaded areas. Their seeds are usually dispersed by wind and individual trees have been known to produce cones for over 450 years. Although hemlocks require plenty of moisture to grow they are well prepared for the winter months ahead. These conifers have been known to resist -112 degrees Fahrenheit.
A walk along any of the trails and you may likely spot tracks of gray squirrel, cotton-tail rabbit, white-tailed deer, raccoon or even fox. These and other mammals will stay active during the Pennsylvania winter. Look carefully and you might also spot a bird’s nest or two still intact from the summer nesting season. Although many song birds have migrated further south, there are still many species to see here at Shaver’s Creek and your backyard. Black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, song sparrows, white-throated sparrows, and pine siskins are all in abundance. All that is needed is a bird-feeder or a walk in the snow and time to enjoy.– Chrysalis, Spring 2011 Intern