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Berks Nature Opens Newly Renovated Preserve to Public

By Berks Nature

Nov 05, 2020
Berks Nature

Berks Nature renovates Earl Poole Sanctuary to re-open to the public in a crucial time where people are connecting to nature more than ever!

The history of this nature preserve: 

The property was donated to Berks Nature in the late 70’s and was originally named the Earl Poole Sanctuary in honor of Dr. Earl L. Poole (1891-1972) famed ornithologist and artist. Dr. Poole’s illustrations have graced the pages of many books and endeared the peering eyes of many to the birds of Berks County. Dr. Poole was an artist, scientist, teacher, and author. In 1930, Poole wrote The Bird Life of Berks County, Pennsylvania and in 1932 he wrote A Survey of the Mammals of Berks County. Poole was one of the founders of Baird Ornithological Club, still active locally today. In 1947, Poole’s A Half Century of Bird Life in Berks County was published by the Reading Public Museum. Dr. Earl Poole’s legacy lives at this nature preserve which continues to be a haven for the many birds and mammals he wrote about many years ago!

The rich soils of this property provided a successful working farm and apple orchard up until about 1970. The farm sold vinegar, cider, potatoes, eggs and butter. No buildings remain from those farming days, and much of the land has returned to a natural forest. 

Today, we are pleased to announce the newly renovated nature preserve is open for public enjoyment as Bob’s Woods at the Earl Poole Sanctuary! You may wonder, who is Bob? Robert C. “Bob” Fleming lived in the forested Oley Hills region (not too far from here) of Berks County and was extremely fond of the outdoors, nature and forests. Bob enjoyed learning as much as possible while out in nature, and had great enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge of nature with those around him. 

In August 2018 Bob passed away unexpectedly. His loving family worked with Berks Nature to make improvements to this special nature preserve as a way to honor Bob’s love for nature. 

For those that knew him, they would always say, “A walk in the woods with Bob meant you would learn something new.”

 It is our hope that visitors will connect with nature, take a moment to learn something new, or simply stop and enjoy the forest as Bob did for many years.

This week would normally be Berks Nature’s popular annual State of the Environment breakfast. Since we cannot hold a large gathering this year, we decided to take a different route with a publication titled ‘Healing in Nature’ that shares powerful stories from people in our community about how they have connected to nature during this difficult time and other difficult times in their lives. With ‘Healing in Nature’ as our theme for 2020, we feel there is no better time than now to share our beautiful and newly renovated preserves with our community and let them know that nature is here to help us all during this uncertain year. Share with your photographers and writers to join us for this event and to get more info on our ‘Healing in Nature’ publication!  

DIRECTIONS TO BOB’S WOODS AT THE EARL POOLE SANCTUARY: Please note there is not an actual street address for this property. The directions from Pricetown Road are the easiest to follow. 

From Pricetown Road (Route 12): Enter Antietam Road (across from Giannotti’s Restaurant) next to Alsace Manor Fire Company and travel 1.2 miles to the Earl Poole Sanctuary. Entrance will be on your right between Beckers Road and Blankenbiller Road. 

From Lower Alsace/Mount Penn region: Follow Antietam Road north into Alsace Township. The Earl Poole Sanctuary will be on your left, 0.7 mile from the intersection of Antietam Road, Basket Road, and Church Hill Road between Blankenbiller Road and Beckers Road.

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