Just one mile north of tiny Thompson Borough on Route 171 in rural Susquehanna County, the 357-acre Florence Shelly Preserve boasts fields, woodlands, a stream, and a glacial pond surrounded by a floating bog.
The protection of this diverse natural area was spearheaded by Florence Shelly, who organized a committee of citizen naturalists and volunteer professors from SUNY Binghamton to characterize and inventory the property. They found a rare red alga (batrachorsermum vagum) at the outlet of Wier's Pond and an abundance of biologically diverse habitat. Other species discovered at the preserve include insectivorous sundew and pitcher plants, black bears, otters, hummingbirds, and great- horned owls. The Shelly family donated the land to The Nature Conservancy in the 1980s; the purchase of nearby Plew's Swamp completed the preserve.
A stewardship committee, partners with diverse talents, maintains the preserve to this day. An architect, a draftsman, writers, farmers, and retirees—volunteers all—have created pleasant walkways, a self-guided trail and an observation platform overlooking the swamp. Biologists and amateur naturalists interpret the preserve for classes and others. Outreach includes a slide show, articles, and scholarships to local high school seniors interested in environmental careers.
You are invited to join the preserve's regular walks, held May through October, organized and led by stewardship committee members. Check our Events page for the walk schedule, or come walk the trails any time of day, week, and year.
Give us a call first and we may even guide you to the far reaches of the preserve to see what special secrets nature chooses to reveal: (570) 727-3362 or (570) 879-4244!
Guide sheets for the trail are available at the enclosed trailhead just off Stack Road. An easy access boardwalk begins near the parking lot on Little Ireland Road and meanders through the hemlock forest to a look-out over the marsh.
Call us for directions (570) 727-3362.