Hampton Library assists exploration of Crouse Run Nature Reserve, other sites

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 | 3:31 PM

Allegheny County Library Association and Allegheny County Parks have developed materials that families can borrow and use to enrich the time children spend outdoors. The program has begun in Hampton.

One area attracting new visitors is the Crouse Run Nature Reserve off Wildwood Road. Liz Spence, director of the Pine Creek Land Conservation Trust that owns the reserve, believes that time outdoors is valuable not only for children but also for parks and green spaces.

Spence estimates that since the new trails and access areas were created in 2018, use of the ravine has risen more than 50%.

“We love going to our property to do planting or maintenance and seeing children in the stream searching for macroinvertebrates, examining plants or listening to bird calls” said Colleen Lizzi, a land trust board member.

Recently, Spence and Lizzi accompanied Merrit Des­lauriers and her sons, Finn and Lucius, as they tested the new nature backpacks just borrowed from Hampton Community Library.

The boys used the identification guides, collection nets and binoculars to closely examine plants and animals. Salamanders were the big hit of the walk.

Spence said she is thrilled that children are walking and learning in the exact spot where Rachel Carson visited as a young girl, beginning her many years of learning about and advocating for the natural world.

“Who knows what seeds are being planted that may continue to grow for decades?”