Past Meeting, Jun 2021: Nature Walk – Nixon County Park with Kelsey Frey


June 20, 2021 by lancasterherp

The Lancaster Herpetological Society (LHS) wants to thank everyone that made it to Richard Nixon Park for our first nature walk of the year on Friday!

Richard Nixon Park is a 187-acre park south of the city of York. We had around two hours of daylight to explore, under the helpful guide of Kelsey Frey, who manages the Nature Center at the park. In that time, we were able to see a lot of the diverse habitats that the park has to offer, including a pond, a stream nestled amidst the forest, and wetlands. There were not many amphibians and reptiles out and about, but the evening was very pleasant; it being warm but not overly hot. It was perfect weather for a relaxed stroll through nature. Our tally of herps for the evening was: three snapping turtles, one painted turtle, two two-lined salamanders, a probable northern red salamander larva, a green frog, and some tadpoles (potentially for Spring Peepers).

Arriving at the park, we were all greeted by a splendid Nature Center with an impressive display of mounted insects, taxidermied animals from North America and around the world, and a host of informative displays.
One of our first stops was a pond which is home to a plethora of turtles. If you look close in the above picture, there is a turtle in the water by a partially submerged stick.
A serene stream running through a quiet forest. Teeming with unseen critters!
The urge to carefully flip a few rocks in search of salamanders was too great for many of us.
Kelsey, our intrepid guide for the evening, shows off some of the slippery friends from the stream. Photo courtesy of Anne Esbenshade.
Two of the salamanders found in the stream. Photo courtesy of Anne Esbenshade.
One of the many spectacular vistas seen on our walk.
Towards the end of the walk, a nice Green Frog was found! Photo courtesy of Kelsey Frey.
Our final stop was at the wetlands, where we found tons of tadpoles! Photo courtesy of Kelsey Frey.

Despite not seeing any snakes, the evening was a rousing success. Everyone appreciated the chance to be outside and away from the bustle of everyday life.

We want to thank everyone for coming and especially thank Kelsey for taking the time to show us around. If you have not been to Richard Nixon Park before, I highly recommend you give it a visit! The next meeting is Friday, July 16th, and will be another in-person nature walk! It will be at White Cliffs of Conoy in Marietta, PA.

-Gregory Wier


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