‘Guardians of the Forest’ help beautify Catawissa Nature Reserve in Langhorne Borough
BOROUGH OF LANGHORNE – Armed with shovels, rakes and weeders, as well as donuts, coffee and bottles of ice water, 25 volunteers from the Langhorne Open Space Land Trust arrived at Catawissa Creek Nature Reserve on Saturday, May 21 despite the weather forecast of 95 degrees for the day.
Nicknamed “Guardians of the Forest,” they weren’t going to let anything stop them from making improvements to the Catawissa Creek Nature Preserve in the heart of the Langhorne Historic District.
“This nature reserve helped my family through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said one mother, “when the four walls of our house were closing, my friend and I would gather our children and walk through Catawissa. We listened to the frogs and the bubbling of the little stream, and our cares seemed to float away with the birds fluttering through the trees above our heads.
At the benches at “The Gathering Place” just off the West Maple Avenue sidewalk, Betsy Carr, Debbie and Bob Tyl pulled out seedlings of perennials, including black-eyed Susans and blue sage. Amanda Regan, Nancy Culleton, and Wendy and Dana Rollins joined them in pulling bindweed and dandelions around the hosta planted a few years earlier.
About a hundred yards up the trail, near the start of the forest, working in the pollinator garden, Bernadette West and Adi Mervine brainstormed which plantings would bloom and help attract bees and which were weeds to pull. “Bees need all the help they can get right now,” Bernadette commented.
Moving away from the traffic noise of Maple Avenue, on the quiet, curving forest path with groupings of lavender and white wild phlox, a family of weekend hikers passed Rich Greger, clearing overgrown vines of roses wild and hanging branches.
At the other end of the nature reserve, a completely different project was underway. Carol Deaver, Chip Lovich, Barry Truchil and four men from Zetterberg, Larry with his son Forrest and his grandsons Liam and Aeden were working to correct the results of the storm water runoff, shoveling a gravel truck in the rutted parking lot and pushing wheelbarrows of more gravel to reinforce an eroded abutment of a bridge over the Catawissa,
Carol Deaver, who lives across the road, said: ‘My son and his friends used to play here in the woods every day when he was growing up. I always feared that it would be developed. I’m so glad to see him saved.
Carol Zetterberg, Director of Funding and Development for Langhorne Open Space Land Trust, watched the work in progress and smiled. “The development plans for this beautiful little forest called for the felling of all the trees and the construction of a crowded complex of triplexes and quads stuck on both sides of the creek. It took seven years and over $1,000,000 to convince the developer to leave, but we finally did. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see children and their parents walking around here. How many people live in a beautiful, historic little town like Langhorne Borough and walk every day through a forest just a few blocks from their home? »
Pat Carr, Chairman of Langhorne Open Space Land Trust, said: “The Catawissa Creek Nature Preserve is just one of many open spaces that Langhorne Open Space Land Trust has saved from developers over the years, and that they maintain today as parks, in a unique setting. partnership with the Borough of Langhorne. From its approximately 200 member families, LOSI collects funds and makes available, free of local taxes, volunteers to maintain these parks for the inhabitants of the municipality.
LOSI’s original project thirty years ago provided the financing and negotiations to purchase the popular heritage farmhouse on Green Street, slated for duplex development but now with its 100 community gardens and 8 artist studios . A few years later, LOSI provided the financing and negotiations to purchase the landscape for the historic Orthodox Friends Meeting, on North Bellevue, now a residence. On South Bellevue, LOSI led the fight to identify and preserve the Revolutionary War burial site, slated for townhouse development before it was discovered to be the second largest group of revolutionary soldiers buried in the state of Pennsylvania.
At lunchtime, the volunteers, having finished their work, sat at a picnic table in the shade of a pine tree, munching on hoagies and pizza. “I’m hot and sweaty,” said one, “but it was good work. All good. Keep me posted when the bulbs are planted next fall. I’ll be back.”