DIGITAL ORIGINAL: Lancaster Conservancy nearing completion of forest garden restoration

Lancaster

BAINBRIDGE, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lancaster Conservancy recently partnered with the Lancaster County Bird Club (LCBC) to complete restoration of the Falmouth Forest Garden.

The Falmouth Forest Garden encompasses five acres of floodplain land in the Conoy Wetlands Nature Preserve. The area used to be a derelict agricultural field, but now the Conservancy is working to restore it to a productive habitat for wildlife and native plants, explains Steve Mohr, preserves manager with the Lancaster Conservancy.

Some of the flora at the forest garden produce edible berries and other fruits that visitors are invited to sample, says Mohr, though they should make sure they know what is safe to eat before consuming anything.

The Conservancy began restoring the site about two years ago, Mohr says, and it should be completed by the end of this year. After that, several years of maintenance will be required to ensure that the plants thrive.

Over 1,000 trees and shrubs have been planted in the forest garden, says Mohr. The project was nearly three-fourths done with the help of the Conservancy’s original partners. Now, the LCBC is stepping in to support it to completion.

“Projects can be successfully accomplished, especially when groups work together,” says LCBC President Barbara Hunsberger.

Hunsberger explains that the LCBC got involved with the forest garden restoration because the project is helping preserve habitat for wildlife, including birds, and because it involves an educational component — both goals of the LCBC.

Currently, visitors can learn about the property through signage posted by the forest garden, but Mohr says that hopefully some in-person programming will be provided at the site in the future, too.

“It’s really important for people to see the way that we connect to the natural world around us,” says Mohr. “Our hope is this gives people an opportunity to have an educational interaction with the environment.”

The Falmouth Forest Garden, located along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, is open to visitors while the project is completed.

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