Places We Protect

Woodbourne Forest Preserve

Pennsylvania

Blue sky is visible behind a tall stand of hemlock trees at Woodbourne Preserve.
Woodbourne Forest Old-growth hemlocks at the Woodbourne Forest Preserve. © Kelly Donaldson

Woodbourne’s ancient trees—a mixture of white pine, hemlocks, ash, maples, oaks and other hardwoods—blanketed the region prior to human settlement.

Overview

Description

At the Woodbourne Forest Preserve, open fields, wildflower meadows, winding creeks, mossy bogs and historic stone walls complete a scene that invites and inspires artists from far and wide. However, most visitors seek out the preserve to witness its ancient trees—a mixture of white pine, hemlocks, ash, maples, oaks and other hardwoods that blanketed the region prior to European settlement. In fact, a portion of the preserve contains the largest remaining old-growth forest in northeast Pennsylvania.

Donated by the conservation-minded family of Francis R. Cope, Jr., in 1956, the property represents TNC first preserve in the state of Pennsylvania. Over the years, TNC has added to the original contribution of 500 acres through land acquisitions and the continued generosity of the previous owners. TNC also works to build on their legacy of inspiring and educating others about this extraordinary landscape.

Milestones

In 2006, the Keystone Trails Association restored existing trails and created new trails to mark the preserve’s 50th anniversary. TNC manages the preserve and its trails with help from a committed volunteer stewardship committee. The committee and volunteers also assist with implementing environmental education programs for local schools, scout troops, surrounding communities and other visitors.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours

Daily, from dawn to dusk

Highlights

Hiking, birdwatching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, photography and guided tours.

Size

648 acres

Explore our work in Pennsylvania

Wildlife at Woodbourne Forest

Recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s 100 best birding locations by the PA State Game Commission, Woodbourne Forest serves as a hotspot for more than 180 species of birds, including pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls and winter wrens.

Additional wildlife includes white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, coyote, mink, chipmunk, jumping mice, southern bog lemming, snowshoe hare, beaver, river otter, lilypad clubtail dragonfly and northern flying squirrel.

Scattered wetlands host frogs, snakes and nine salamander species that hide among leather leaf and pitcher plants. Other plants include Robbins pondweed, carnivorous sundew, Painted trillium, wood sorrel, gold thread and other wildflowers.

A man wearing an orange jacket and green cap.
Dr. Jerry Skinner Resident Naturalist, Woodbourne Forest & Wildlife Preserve. © courtesy Jerry Skinner

Dr. Jerry Skinner Retires

30 Years of Service

It is with mixed emotions that we announce Dr. Jerry Skinner is retiring from his post as resident naturalist at Woodbourne Forest & Wildlife Preserve.

For the better part of 30 years, Dr. Skinner has provided environmental education experiences to countless members of the community, from 2nd graders at the local schools, to students from Keystone College, where he taught, to adults wanting to catch a glimpse of a rare bird in the spring. For those who know Dr. Skinner, he is quite the birder ...

It is with mixed emotions that we announce Dr. Jerry Skinner is retiring from his post as resident naturalist at Woodbourne Forest & Wildlife Preserve.

For the better part of 30 years, Dr. Skinner has provided environmental education experiences to countless members of the community, from 2nd graders at the local schools, to students from Keystone College, where he taught, to adults wanting to catch a glimpse of a rare bird in the spring. For those who know Dr. Skinner, he is quite the birder and always knew where they would be in Susquehanna County.

“I was fortunate enough to experience the Woodbourne Preserve for the first time with Jerry as my tour guide,” recalls PA/DE chapter Volunteer Coordinator Molly Anderson. “This preserve has held a special place in my heart ever since. Dr. Skinner’s wealth of knowledge about our natural world and his way of explaining it is very special, so it’s hard not to fall in love with the birds, plants, insects and all the interconnected intricacies of nature that he shares with visitors to the preserve.”

The preserve just won’t be the same without him, we can’t thank Dr. Skinner enough for the impression he has left on this special place and we wish him all the best for his next chapter.

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I’m truly grateful and honored to have had the privilege of living on the preserve for 30 years, raising my family here, and playing in this big back yard. I couldn’t have imagined a better fit for my skills and interests.

Resident Naturalist, Woodbourne Forest & Wildlife Preserve

Guide to iNaturalist

Join a community of citizen scientists using our iNaturalist fact sheet.

Become A Citizen Scientist

We are creating a citizen science database of all kinds of life—from lichens to ants, mushrooms to plants, birds to mammals and everything in between for our preserves in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

TNC's roots began with local citizens and scientists concerned about special places and species. That legacy continues today. Across our lands, we are utilizing iNaturalist—a digital platform that gives users an opportunity to share and discuss their findings.

Our 14 preserve projects in iNaturalist currently have 2,709 observations of 1,219 species made by 47 observers. Of the 14 preserve projects, nine have observations recorded; help us increase that number and our understanding of the species—good and bad, native as well as invasive—that can be found on TNC lands across the state. This information can also help guide and inform our conservation staff's management and monitoring decisions.

Stay In Touch

Published every two months, the Florence Shelly Wetlands Preserve newsletter highlights exceptional natural features of the preserve and shares articles about how some human-made elements came into existence.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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