Willistown's Okehocking Nature Center
A place for people and nature
About Willistown's Okehocking Nature Center
The Okehocking Preserve, owned by Willistown Township, was established in 2001 in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Chester County, using Open Space Funds. The 180-acre Preserve is a unique property that includes mature woods, meadowlands, uplands, wetlands and riparian areas along a tributary and the main stem of Ridley Creek. It is a naturalist's ideal teaching environment and a place of great beauty that brings joy and serenity to those who visit. The Preserve includes 5 miles of mown and wooded walking trails. Located between Ridley Creek State Park and thousands of acres of privately conserved land, it is a critical component of a larger ecological network and open space plan.
In August, 2011, after many years of careful planning, an all-volunteer board of directors established the headquarters of the Okehocking Nature Center, in cooperation with Willistown Township, at the Preserve's historic Garrett Farmhouse off West Chester Pike in Newtown Square. The group is in the process of outfitting the farmhouse to serve as an interpretive center and programming headquarters, and will create informational signage to help visitors fully enjoy and appreciate the Preserve.
The Mission of Willistown's Okehocking Nature
Center is to enhance people's relationship with
nature, sense of community and knowledge of
natural resource management and stewardship,
thus improving their life experience and creating
life-long advocates and practitioners.
The Okehocking Nature Center headquarters provides a sheltered location, running water and a restroom to support environmental education and outdoor recreational opportunities for local schools, Willistown Township Parks and Recreation, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, the Upper Mail Line Y, Paoli Hospital's Wellness Center and other community organizations and visitors.
Activities and events will promote environmental stewardship, recreation, health and wellness and building a stronger sense of community through the use of this unique local treasure. Core elements of the Okehocking Nature Center's programming will include demonstration gardens where visitors can take away "green" ideas for their own homes. Planned programs include bird walks, tours and talks for all ages and land and water management projects and plantings.
Another focus of the Okehocking Nature Center will be historical information about the Okehocking band of the Lenni Lenape Tribe - that used the Preserve's land as their summer camping grounds. The turtle of the Nature Center's logo is derived from their primary totem.
The Center will emphasize the need for the protection of the many habitats represented at the Preserve, including native plant and animal species, vernal pools, mature woods, meadows and uplands. These strategies are a vital response to many local issues, including suburban sprawl, fragmentation of natural lands and growing demand for outdoor recreational activities.
Donate now to the Willistown's Okehocking Nature Center Fund or mail a check,
made payable to Willistown's Okehocking Nature Center to:
Chester County Community Foundation
28 West Market Street
West Chester, PA 19382
The Okehocking Nature Center is a registered 501(c)(3). All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Visit Okehocking Preserve.