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Greater Philadelphia: Spring emerges in nearby preserves

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Winter weary can witness signs of spring in its most natural and beautiful settings by visiting one of several wildlife and nature preserves managed by the Natural Land Trust. Unpaved trails will lead you along woodlands, meadows, forests and wetlands with views of how the landscape appeared centuries ago.

Signs of spring for all senses

Nature responds to the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures with noticeable energy. The area’s preserves carefully provide habitat settings for a wide variety of birds and small mammals who are the first to audibly announce their delight of spring. Listen. Watch. Smile. Absorb the energy. Appreciate all of the energy necessary to find and please a mate and establish a new home. And then there are or will be the planning for, feeding and rearing of the young. Oh so much to do. Yes, spring is a surely a busy season in all of our nearby nature preserves. Here are five to choose from.

Plan your nature walk prudently, as appropriate footwear and clothing is as important as your pre-printing of trail maps and reviewing the site for restrictions and amenities. All grounds are open during daylight hours and are free for your undisturbed visit. Make note of parking kiosk locations which often provide additional information.Consider choosing a visit to one of these five established nature preserves. Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve, with 279 acres and more than six unpaved miles of trails and diverse wildlife among its grasslands and meadows in Ambler. Sharp’s Woods Preserve, a 28 acre island of nature in the midst of suburban development in Berwyn. Sharp’s offers nearly a mile of trails along a mix of meadows and marshlands. Stroud Preserve's impressive 571 acres in West Chester includes just shy of 10 acres of trails and horseback riding on designated sections. Originally part of property used to graze cattle for Wawa Dairy is the Wawa Preserve with 98 acres in Media. Trails, here, are part of a four mile network of trails managed by Middletown Township. Let’s round out this selection of five nature preserves with Briar Bush Nature Center in Abington with 12 acres and a mile or more of trails that wind through forest, pond and a bird observatory at the original home of the Griscom’s cottage. Enjoy spring as it emerges from our meadows, wetlands, woodlands and fields. It may well energize your plans for this season.

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