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Chicory Lane Farm


Overview

ChicoryLane Farm is a scruffy 68 acre farm lying in the Upper Penns Creek watershed east of Spring Mills, north of Rt. 45, and less than a mile from Muddy Paws. It provides a wealth of ecological diversity, including some 10 different plant communities and the expected range of animals, amphibians, and birds. ChicoryLane promotes educational and research use through field days and other events, as well as appreciation and enjoyment of natural landscapes. See the ChicoryLane Web site (www.chicorylane.com) for information about the farm and its activities.


Diversity

The farm includes 5 different kinds of wetlands (riparian, wet meadow, cattail marsh, old farm pond, and vernal pools), a 16 acre grassland of both warm- and cool-season grasses, a pollinator field, and 3 kinds of forests (remnant, successional, and a 13 acre hardwood planting). We are releasing plant species native to the area by managing invasives as well as supplementing them with new plantings of natives consistent with these communities. This diversity of plants and environmental conditions is attracting an increasing variety of animal life. We are especially pleased with our growing population of American Woodcock.

Chicory Lane Farm Map


Education & Research

ChicoryLane provides a rich environment for learning and research. We take an opportunistic approach, varying events each year according to interests and available resources and expertise. Recently we held a native plant identification walk, a conservation practices field day, a wetlands tour, and a plien air drawing and painting day. We have also encouraged individuals to return for follow-up visits. An ecology class is currently inventorying amphibians. The farm includes numerous trails to provide access to its many areas. Maps can be seen on the Web site and are posted on display boards in the field. As the year goes on, up-coming events will be posted on the Web site.

Chicory Lane Farm Education


Aesthetics

We encourage an aesthetic awareness and understanding of the farm's natural landscape. "A wetland is not a wetland is not a wetland," to paraphrase Gertrude Stein. There is great diversity in different kinds of wetlands, and in them there is considerable beauty and a variety of things to look at and to wonder about. We are trying to see the different areas of the farm with fresh eyes and to encourage others to do the same. One way was to host the plein air field day in which 17 artists spent the day drawing and painting and, several weeks later, displayed their work at the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim. The Web site also includes a number of slideshows of different farm landscapes as well as events.




History

In 1766, in forest controlled by the Iroquois confederacy, surveyor William Maclay acting for William Penn's sons marked out a 330-acre tract "situate on the headwaters of Penns Creek" that he named Hopewell. After Indians ceded the region in 1768, Philadelphia Quaker brewer and land speculator Reuben Haines acquired Hopewell from the Penns. In 1775, a Scotch-Irish blacksmith Daniel Long acquired it and "improved" it, according to early tax records. Throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s, a succession of Pennsylvania - German homesteaders owned and lived on it while selling off parcels to family or neighbors. They timbered its woods, drained its wetlands, planted apple trees on its hillsides, and grew grain or pastured animals on its open ground. To keep fields dry or to power sawmills and fill tanning ponds, they straightened the meandering streams flowing from Brush Mountain springs through the farm and on to Penns Creek. Sometime before 1842, they built the log home still occupied today. These prior land and water uses shaped the landscape of the present-day ChicoryLane Farm acquired in 1974 by John and Catherine Smith.

Chicory Lane Farm historical building


Web Site

The ChicoryLane Web site (www.chicorylane.com) is both a repository for information as well as a catalyst in an evolving sense of place. We encourage anyone interested in the place and/or in the kinds of things we are doing to spend time with it. It includes sections on the different areas and plant communities, the history of the farm, events, awards, a blog of ruminations, and technical and "people" resources that may be useful to others. It also includes a database of plants, birds, and soon-to-be-added amphibians. A separate part of the database includes Google maps showing areas, streams and water bodies, trails, and locations for some plant observations. These data can be viewed against a recent aerial image of the farm or against images from 1971, 1957, and 1938.