We took a field trip last week to the Wildlands Conservancy's  Education Center at the Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary Preserve.  Director of Development, Jim Hess shared the history, mission and actions that make the Wildlands Conservancy a treasure to the Lehigh Valley. 
Since its founding in 1973 with the South Mountain Preserve here in Emmaus, The Wildlands has been the region’s premier, nonprofit land trust to preserve land, nature and water in the Lehigh Valley Watershed. Their mission is "to protect and restore critical natural areas and waterways, and educate the community to create a legacy of a healthy, sustainable, environment for future generations".  Over the past 47 years they have expanded to 9 preserves across the Greater Lehigh Valley region protecting 54,000 acres of land! Jim was excited to share that there will soon be an announcement of another preserve park opening in Emmaus this year! 
To make the morning even more interesting we got a birds eye view of a one eyed Red Tailed Hawk named Cyclops.  His handler Ben, shared with us that many of the animals rehabilitated by the Wildlands will never be released back into the wild due to injuries that would make them less likely to survive on their own.  Red Tailed Hawks are native to PA. They weigh about 7-8 pounds and live to about 5-7 years (12yrs. in captivity) They are solitary birds but pair up to mate and lay eggs. 
The great work The Wildlands Conservancy does for our community like education, removal of invasive plant/tree species and dams, enhancing water quality, and animal rehabilitation is made possible through donor contributions. If you would like to help future generations enjoy the gift of green space, clean water and the serenity of nature consider making a donation here: https://www.wildlandspa.org/donate/
If you love to get out into nature you may want to download the Wildlands FREE Interactive Mobile Preserve App!