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ChesLen Preserve: Wildflowers, butterflies and countryside

ChesLen Preserve, wildflowers, butterflies and countryside beauty-slide0
Kathy Martin (www.kathyamartin.com) ChesLen Preserve

Feel free as the butterflies drawn to the wildflowers growing en masse when you visit ChesLen Preserve, one of the largest of the Natural Lands Trust-owned preserves in the Philadelphia region. Vast expanse of countryside, hills, woodlands and fields, ChesLen Preserve is naturally beautiful.

Wander and wonder

This impressive 1,263-acre natural resource is open to the public from sunrise until sunset to wander several unpaved trails. Hike along cornfields, through shaded woodlands and wide open fields where you can breathe in the country-fresh air. Although the spacious landscape is undeveloped, there is a refined order at the Lenfest Center where regular events are coordinated. One such event that meets on Sunday mornings in August is Wild Wanders. This weekly guided-walk includes inspiring insight from William Ryan, a nature educator, to connect nature lovers with the natural resources of ChesLen Preserve. There is much to see including two miles of the West Branch of the Brandywine Creek, the Star Gazers’ Stone, from which Mason and Dixon took measurements to assist their excursions, and well protected wildlife and plant life that help birds and butterflies thrive on the ChesLen Preserve lands.

The Natural Lands Trust maintains 42 natural preserves, including 14 that are open to the public in the Greater Philadelphia region. ChesLen Preserve is the largest in the region and offers superb viewing vistas where one can gaze for miles with only fields and meadows of wildflowers in sight. The Lenfest Center opened last summer and is elegantly placed to appreciate the outdoor views in all seasons. Wildflowers brighten the entrance of the center, carefully selected to draw bees and butterflies, as well as, visitors who appreciate the buzz and beauty. Bird lovers may also want to note The National Audubon Society’s important bird area designation for species such as the green-backed heron, indigo bunting and downy woodpecker. Birds, bees and butterflies are buzz and flutter at their invitation of favorite flowers and plants. Before summer shifts into autumn, you also should accept the invitation to wander freely about the wildflowers, woodlands and open space.

Parking is available in several places off Route 162 and Cannery Road. Woodlands, wetlands, planted fields and open space are there to experience from eight miles of unpaved trails that weave throughout the immense preserve. Walk your leashed dog, horseback ride on designated trails, or hike along this naturally beautiful resource. ChesLen Preserve is open year-round, but summer has a special buzz. Accept the invitation to wander the preserve in summer warmth amidst the energy of bees and butterflies on wildflowers.