Groff Conservation Easement Protects Vernal Pools & Bushkill Creek Tributary

Property extended as an outdoor classroom for Jacobsburg Environmental Center

Groff Conservation Easement Protects Vernal Pools & Bushkill Creek Tributary

More than 20 years ago, Ray Groff and his wife Pat first had the notion to preserve their land. Passionate outdoors-folk, horse-loving trail riders, and small farm advocates, they couldn’t imagine a time their land would ever get developed.

Through the work of the late Charlie H. Nehf, Sr., and more recently through the educational outreach from Jacobsburg Environmental Center, the Groffs decided a conservation easement would best protect what they loved most.

Almost entirely wooded, their property sits near the base of the Kittatinny Ridge and at the headwaters of the Bushkill Creek – one of the Lehigh Valley’s premiere High Quality Cold Water Fishes streams. Cold, oxygen-rich water flows from three little streams into a main tributary of the Bushkill helping support native Brook trout.

Vernal pools and wetlands spot the property offering special breeding habitat for amphibians and hunting ground for migrating birds. Because vernal pools are temporary wet areas, they tend to lack fish that might otherwise prey on young frogs and salamanders. Ray’s favorite time of year starts with the mating call of wood frogs and from time to time spring peepers, frogs not much bigger than a quarter. And, with their bird journal, the Groffs have already identified 45 separate visiting species of birds.

In December 2011, Ray and Pat officially preserved 41-acres of the land and habitat they love so much. By granting a conservation easement, partially funded by Northampton County and Moore Township, to Wildlands they are assured their habitat will be properly stewarded and future generations will have a place to learn about nature.

The Groffs went one step further and asked the Jacobsburg Environmental Center to consider their property an outdoor classroom for budding naturalists.