Mengel Natural History Society 2023-2024
Berks County, Pennsylvania
.Updated February 20, 2024.
Return to Berks County Nature home page.




NEXT EVENTS

This meeting (like most meetings) will be held in
McConnell Hall at Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center.

   February 23, 2024  Friday 7:30 PM     
"Health Update for PA Forests" by Richard J. Hartlieb, Asst. District Forester, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry. He will review 2023 defoliation surveys, spongy moth forecasts, beach leaf disease, and other pest issues. He will also review the latest updates on the restoration of the American Chestnut. The Darling 58 transgenic tree is under federal review, and he will discuss the current timeline and distribution. All welcome. Free.

ABOUT THE MENGEL NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY

The Mengel Natural History Society originated as the Natural History Hikers in the 1930's, was renamed the Mengel Natural History Society in 1941, and incorporated as a non profit organization in 1956.

The By-Laws state: "The purposes of the Society are the stimulation of interest and study in natural history in all its branches, the promotion and diffusion of scientific knowledge, and the creation of the scientific spirit."

ACTIVITIES
*  Monthly Meetings with Lecture
*  Field Trips for Wildflowers, Butterflies, Dragonflies, etc.
*  Annual Wildflower Exchange and give-away and annual
*  Wildflower Seed give-away.
*  Show & Tell plus Membersí Night for your participation
*  A place to meet other people interested in the natural world 

MEETINGS
The Society meets once a month from September though April at Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, on PA-625 2 miles south of PA-724. (2910 New Holland Road, Reading, PA.) Usually on the fourth Friday of the month. In November we meet jointly with the Berks Mineralogical Society (on the second Tuesday) and in December we meet jointly with the Baird Ornithological Club (on the second Friday). In May we meet at a local restaurant for a dinner meeting. Joint meetings may be held at another location. We also sponsor field trips.

The public is welcome at any of the activities. All lectures and field trips are free.

If you are interested in joining the Society, you may pay dues at any meeting or mail them in. 
Dues year is September to September,  Download dues form (2023-2024) as PDF

        Dues  --  No change from last year.
Active Member  $10   Family Membership $13  Sustaining Member $13  Junior Member-$5
DOWNLOADS

The "Programs and Field Trips" brochure for 2023-2024 is available in PDF format
at: Mengel Brochure 2023-24.         (Updated: February 4, 2024)
The landscape formatted two page brochure can be printed two sided with 'short-edge' binding or printed one side at a time.
Butterfly, Moth, Dragonfly, and Wildflower Walks in Berks County, Pennsylvania - 2024.   (Updated: September 18, 2024)

(Programs & Field Trips) - 2023-2024 Season
For information: 484-883-6461

   September 22, 2023    Friday 7:30 PM   
"Damsels and Dragons - Flys That Is!" by member Anthony (Doc) Schoch. A digital presentation about these iconic insects will focus on their anatomy, life cycle, indication of water quality, identification and their place in the food chain of wetlands, lakes, ponds and streams. Gain a new perspective on dragonflies. After the presentation, we will have the opportunity to share recent sightings, observations, etc. Come for the information and catch the enthusiasm. All welcome. Free.
The program will be followed by the Fall Native Plant Exchange and Give-away. All welcome. Free.

  October 27, 2023       Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Home Sweet Habitat" by Marcy Engleman, Senior Coordinator, Conservation Education, Audubon, Mill Grove. Hummingbirds, bright goldfinches, and colorful bluebirds, oh my! Do you want to learn more about how to attract birds like these? Discover how to create bird-friendly habitat for birds that are looking for a place to call home or to rest and refuel during their migration. Program followed by the Fall Seed Exchange and Give-away.

SPECIAL NOTICE FOR THIS MEETING: Nolde is hosting another meeting this same night from 6:30 to 7pm in McConnell followed by a hike till 8pm.   1 This means we will not be able to enter McConnell Hall until after that program concludes. It is a live animal program so the doors must remain closed (people can't open them during the program). If anyone arrives early, they will be asked to sit in their cars until the program is over.    2. AND parking will be very tight. Nolde is asking the early program participants to carpool as much as possible, and they are asking the same of Mengel. We may be asked to park in the employee lot when parking spaces are filled, so Mengel members might want to bring a flashlight as there are no path lights along that driveway. Someone will be there to coordinate.

Please do not let this prevent you from attending this excellent program.



CHANGE IN NOVEMBER MEETING LOCATION, DATE, AND TIME!

Our NOVEMBER 2023 meeting will be held at the The Berks Military History Museum in Mohnton (198 E Wyomissing Ave, Mohnton, PA 19540) on
SATURDAY, November 11, 2023 at 11 AM.
This is a change from the usual joint Mengel/Berks Mineralogical Society meeting normally held at the Reading Museum on the 2nd Tuesday in November.

  November 11, 2023       Saturday 11:00 AM     
Program: "Sam Gundy Exhibit, Berks Military History Museum". The Museum is holding an Observance of Veterans Day in conjunction with the America Berks 250th Committee. Sam is a founding father of the Berks Mineralogical Society and an early member/president of the Mengel Natural History Society. Sam Gundy is included in the Museum because he served on a B17 crew in WWII and was shot down while returning from a bomb run. He survived the crash, was captured, and served out the rest of the war as a POW. The clubs can tour the rest of the museum with tour guides available. Sam's educational rock collection will be on display as well.
This meeting will be held at the Berks Military History Museum. at 198 E Wyomissing Ave, Mohnton, PA 19540. Hours are 11 AM to 1 PM, but afternoon hours are planned to be extended if necessary

   December 9, 2023          Zoom Only        Friday 7:30 PM.
"Looking Forward to a Third Pennsylvania Bird Atlas" by Andy Wilson, Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College. Bird Atlas projects provide periodic in-depth snapshots of bird distributions and status across large areas, such as states or countries. Andy will talk about plans for the five-year 3rd PA Bird Atlas project which will be designed to engage thousands of birders, of all experience levels, across the state. Joint meeting with the Baird Ornithological Club on their meeting night with Baird hosting.

   January 26, 2024    Friday 7:30 PM     
"Members' Night" Members' opportunity to present. Program will consist of three or four short programs by members. See an officer if you have a program to share. Mengel vice president Peter Wolfe will present "SE Arizona Flowers and Butterflies." Kutztown University Professor Todd Underwood will present "Natural History and Habitat Restoration Along the Sacony Creek Trail" We need one or two more.

   February 23, 2024  Friday 7:30 PM     
"Health Update for PA Forests" by Richard J. Hartlieb, Asst. District Forester, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry. He will review 2023 defoliation surveys, spongy moth forecasts, beach leaf disease, and other pest issues. He will also review the latest updates on the restoration of the American Chestnut. The Darling 58 transgenic tree is under federal review, and he will discuss the current timeline and distribution.

   Some time in late February or March.
Herp Helper Night for Spotted Salamanders at French Creek State Park.

Contact Lori Soraparu () to get on e-mail contact list. See a few or dozens of spotted and four-toed salamanders, wood frogs and other herps. This event happens every year. You and your children should see it at least once in your lifetime. Volunteers must check in at the French Creek State Park Headquarter lobby (located on Park Road, 843 Park Rd, Elverson, PA 19520) to sign in, pick up a reflective safety vest and a data collection sheet. You are welcome to participate even if it is for just a portion of the evening. Emergence is weather dependent. Often a windy or foggy night, always rainy. More information.

  March 22, 2024           Friday 7:30 PM     
"To be announced"
All welcome. Free.

 April 26, 2024    Friday 7:30 PM   
"Microbial Naturalists - Observing the Invisible" by Jamie Becker, Assist. Prof. of Biology, Alvernia University. Observing life is a bit tricky when your subjects are invisible. Learn how microbial ecologists meet this challenge using the universal language of life on Earth and how democratized microscopy is empowering microbial naturalists. Lecture is followed by our annual Spring Wildflower Exchange and Giveaway.
All welcome. Free.

   April 27, 2024                Saturday 10:00 AM      FIELD TRIP
"Butterfly, Bird, and Botany Walk" on Neversink Mountain. Butterflies, birds and plants. We will view at a distance and for a good look we will capture some butterflies and put them in viewing jars so you can get a close look before releasing them. A checklist of the 59 species of butterflies known from the mountain will be provided. Meet at S. 10th and South Street Reading. Park on South Street. Joint walk with  Baird Ornithological Club . Leaders: Karl Gardner, 610-987-3281, and Ryan Woolwine 484-883-6461. All welcome. Free.
Photograph is of a Brown Elfin, a scarce spring flying butterfly found in only a few Berks Co. locations.

May 10, 2024                 
Banquet. "pOrnithology: The Birds and the Birds and the Bees" by George Armistead. A review of interesting and unusual courtship and reproductive habits of birds, littered with copious innuendo and anthropomorphism to keep the concepts firmly in perspective. Joint meeting with the Baird Ornithological Club on their meeting day. Details later.

   June 8, 2024    Saturday 10 AM    FIELD TRIP
"Butterfly Identification Walk" at Green Hills Preserve We will view at a distance and for a good look we will capture some butterflies and put them in viewing jars so you can get a close look before releasing them. A checklist of the 40 species of butterflies known from the park will be provided. Take PA-10 south to PA-568. Turn right (west) for 1/2 mile to Gunhart Rd. Turn right. Park on right in about 1/4 mile. (553 Gunhart Rd., Mohnton, PA 19540) Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club. Leaders: Karl Gardner 610-987-3281 and Ryan Woolwine 484-883-6461. Bad weather will cancel (or reschedule). All welcome. Free.

   June 22, 2024                       Saturday 10 AM - noon FIELD TRIP
"Dragonflies & Damselflies at Hay Creek-Birdsboro Reservoir"  Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club
An opportunity to visit this interesting habitat with others who can identify the dragonflies, damselflies, and other insects, animals, and plants found here. Meet at Old 82 & Parking Area, 2000 Hay Creek Rd, Birdsboro, PA. From traffic light at Rtes. 568 and 724 in Gibraltar, take 568 west approximately 1.5 miles and turn left on White Bear Rd. Drive 4 miles through 2 stop signs and turn left on Hay Creek Rd. Drive to the dead end and park on the shoulder. Coordinators: Mike Slater paplantings@gmail.com, Todd Underwood (underwoo@kutztown.edu) & Karl Gardner 610-987-3281. Binoculars and a camera will be helpful. For a good look we will capture some insects and put them in viewing jars so you can get a close look before releasing them. All are welcome. Children Friendly. Free.

  
June 29, 2024         Saturday 8:30 PM  to  ?  FIELD TRIP 
"Moth Night at Nolde Environmental Edu Center."  A joint event with the Baird Ornithological Club.   Enjoy the Katydids with friends and family as leaders bait trees and hang sheets to bring in the night insects. Jim Eckert will present "Introduction to Moths" in McConnell Hall at 8:30 PM. A flashlight and a camera would be helpful. Who knows what will turn up?  Meet at picnic area behind main parking lot. Use main entrance and turn left at "T". Leaders are Jim Eckert 610-373-1064 and Ryan Woolwine 484-883-6461. All are welcome. Children Friendly. Free.
Here are photographs of 29 of the many species seen on this walk in July 2021.

   July 20, 2024    Saturday 10 AM - Noon     FIELD TRIP
"Wildflowers and Pollinators: Union Meadows West" A meandering path through this former ball field converted to a pollinator meadow provides good access for observing and netting a variety of species. Route 724 (East Main St., Birdsboro) (turn opposite St. Michael's Cemetery) parking in the ball field lot. Leader: Mike Slater. Coordinator: Linda Ingram (610-621-7473). Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club. All are welcome. Children Friendly. Free. Bad weather will cancel (or reschedule).

   August 3, 2024        Saturday 10 AM FIELD TRIP
"Butterfly Identification Walk" at Blue Marsh. We will view at a distance and for a good look we will capture some butterflies and put them in viewing jars so you can get a close look before releasing them. A checklist of the 48 species of butterflies known from the park will be provided. Meet at the Blue Marsh Visitor's Center off of Palisades Drive. Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club. Leaders: Karl Gardner 610-987-3281 and Ryan Woolwine 484-883-6461. All welcome. Free. Photograph is of a Hackberry Emperor, a species often seen at this location in August.

   August 17, 2024    Saturday 10 AM    FIELD TRIP
"Butterfly Identification Walk" at Angelica Park. We will view at a distance and for a good look we will capture some butterflies and put them in viewing jars so you can get a close look before releasing them. A checklist of the 39 species of butterflies known from the park will be provided. Take PA-10 south from Lancaster Avenue 1-1/4 miles. The park entrance road is on the right at the big masonry sign for Alvernia University. Turn right and park at the first parking area on the right. (575 St. Bernardine Street) Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club. Leaders: Karl Gardner 610-987-3281 and Ryan Woolwine 484-883-6461. Bad weather will cancel (or reschedule). All welcome. Free. Report:
Here is a list of the 37 species seen on 6 walks from 2017 to 2023 at Angelica Park.

To receive email notices of programs and field trips sponsored by the Mengel Natural History Society send an email request to

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