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Powdermill Nature Reserve, Rector

4.8
#65 of 76 in Wildlife in Pennsylvania
Wildlife Area · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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Powdermill was established in 1956 to serve as a field station of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for long-term studies of natural populations—their life histories, behaviors, and ecological relationships.

Powdermill Nature Reserve is both a place and a philosophy. It stands as a symbol of the human vision—both scientist and philanthropist alike. The museum's need for a natural area which could be used as a laboratory and preserved for the study of natural processes was understood and outlined in 1948 by Dr. M. Graham Netting, then Assistant Director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Since he believed the Ligonier Valley to be the finest natural area in western Pennsylvania, he personally instituted a search for a suitable site for his vision.

In 1956, General and Mrs. Richard K. Mellon and Dr. and Mrs. Alan M. Scaife presented to Carnegie Institute, for the use of the Natural History Museum, eleven tracts of land totaling 1,160 acres, beginning about three miles south of Rector. The area was named "Powdermill Nature Reserve, a Research Station of Carnegie Museum." Over the next several years, additional acreage was added to the Reserve through other generous gifts, and today, Powdermill Nature Reserve offers 2,250 acres of woodlands, streams, open fields, ponds, and thickets.

The reserve is used by scientists to monitor and study changes in the local ecology and wildlife populations. It has served as a refuge for many plants and animals which, as a result of habitat destruction, are now becoming increasingly rare in our region as their habitats are destroyed. Powdermill Run, the mountain spring stream that traverses the mixed deciduous forest property, was found to be one of the very few unpolluted streams available for ongoing studies of aquatic life.

Today it is far more beautiful than when it was established, due to the natural growth of protected vegetation and the efforts of many supporters.
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Powdermill Nature Reserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
9 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Powder mill is not far from Linn run and Forbes state park. Inside was closed . You can walk around but I wouldn't spend more than 30 minutes with Linn Run and Forbes nearby and scenic Mountains to... 
    Powder mill is not far from Linn run and Forbes state park. Inside was closed . You can walk around but I wouldn't spend more than 30 minutes with Linn Run and Forbes nearby and scenic Mountains to...  more »
  • The Powdermill Nature Reserve (at least the main building, as we've experienced it) is a great place for about an hour-long visit for nature lovers, conservationists, etc. (It's probably not the... 
    The Powdermill Nature Reserve (at least the main building, as we've experienced it) is a great place for about an hour-long visit for nature lovers, conservationists, etc. (It's probably not the...  more »
Google
  • Lots of stuff to see. Nice little area for the animal environments. Nice natural treatment plant for the bathrooms using a natural Marsh machine. Very kewl description of the device and how it works. There are a few trails here as well to explore. There are several events that Powdermill hosts and is always a great experience! Thank you! Down the street is their bird tagging operation and I got to see what they do in their open house in the spring and fall. Very well put together open house. You get to see the bird tagging in progress and the information at the open house was Amazing. Everyone who took time to explain everything was wonderful. We got to hear special details about the birds we saw and some characteristics of some of the birds and what they do for the tagging. This was a wonderful experience ... Thank you!
  • Fun for the whole family! We've been other times throughout the Summer, but our most recent visit was this past Fall. Such a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy the fall leaves. They were having an owling at the moon event that was a bit over crowded. We stayed for a bit, but figured it was too loud for them to actually catch an owl. I'm not sure if you have to pay to visit the interior building since we have a Carnegie museum membership.

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