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Land Conservation

Protecting the view for future generations

Photo by Bill Stauffer

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It takes a serious financial investment to conserve land and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hopes to work with supporters and local landowners to make it happen. Hawk Mountain has partnered with Wildlands Conservancy, a certified land trust that also wishes to see additional lands protected around Hawk Mountain and along the Kittatinny Ridge. Wildlands will help to facilitate permanent protection through acquisition or easement for properties that lie in the immediate viewshed of the North Lookout. A conservation easement allows a landowner to protect the conservation and scenic value of their property by selling or donating some or all of the development rights.

Another option Hawk Mountain is pursuing is to establish a list of interested “conservation buyers,” or people specifically interested in the purchase of land near Hawk Mountain and who have expressed a strong desire to conserve open space. By making our neighbors aware of our conservation buyer program we can hopefully match interested conservation buyers with properties that become available. Hawk Mountain can then work with these partners to place an easement on the property.

Questions? Contact:
Laurie Goodrich, Ph.D., Director of Long-term Monitoring
Laurie oversees the Land Conservation Committee
570-943-3411570-943-3411 x106 or goodrich@hawkmountain.org

Why conserve land? It’s for the birds

Little Schuylkill River

The lands that surround the ridge provide critical stopover habitat for migrants and year-round habitat for other wildlife that inhabit the Mountain and surrounding state game lands.

“The most important reason to conserve land is so we can protect the native wildlife and to conserve stopover habitat for migrating raptors and other birds,” explains Dr. Laurie Goodrich, the director of long-term monitoring at the Sanctuary.

She would know. As part of her doctoral research from 2003 to 2005, she studied the habitat use of sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks migrating south along the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania. Her findings showed that the birds stopped frequently to rest and feed during their annual migrations and often sought out large patches of suitable habitat.

The findings suggest that conserving a mix of rural habitats, forest, fields, wetlands, and streams along the base of this world-renown migration corridor could be critical to the survival of the migrants and their future migrations. Surveys of both songbirds and hawks conducted as part of her study also demonstrated that most birds stopped along base of the Mountain, not along the top, and that habitat diversity was higher in these lowland areas.

Counters and other observers at the North Lookout have seen this first-hand. “We often see ospreys, bald eagles, and clouds of broad-winged hawks rise up from the Little Schuylkill River, or from nearby lands in the morning hours. It reinforces what the research indicates,” Goodrich explains.

Conservation Buyers

The most affordable protection comes from the conservation-minded landowner who has the means to protect land forever by donating property, or protecting property and donating the cost of an easement. Mel and Marvin Charles, for example, donated their home to Hawk Mountain for use as the president's residence. While few have the financial means to make such a contribution, many smaller donations can combine to make an enormous difference. 

National Penn