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More than 40 volunteers will gather Saturday morning in Dead Man's Hollow to help plant seedlings that should improve the environment for resident and migratory birds.
The effort is being organized by the Allegheny Land Trust, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. at the parking lot off Scene Ridge Road in Liberty Borough, said Keri Rouse, community coordinator for the land trust, which owns Dead Man's Hollow.
Dead Man's Hollow is a 450-acre nature preserve, created in 1994, that spans parts of Liberty and Lincoln as well as Elizabeth Twp. More than six miles of trails through the preserve connect it to the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail just north of Boston, Elizabeth Twp.
This is actually the second half of an effort to remove non-native, invasive species --- such as Japanese knotweed --- in the nature preserve and replace those plants with native shrubs and trees.
Volunteers pulled knotweed and other pests in the fall, Rouse said.
On Saturday, she said, volunteers will plant 336 bare root seedlings to promote growth of native shrubs typically found in Western Pennsylvania, including spicebush, arrowwood, witch-hazel, serviceberry and maple-leaf viburnum.
These species create breeding habitat for birds such as Kentucky warblers, whose environment is threatened in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Lindsay Dill, a spokeswoman for the land trust, said the planting is a result of collaboration of environmental groups that belong to the Allegheny Bird Conservation Alliance, which is made up of local and regional organizations working together to protect birds and their habitats in Western Pennsylvania.
The ABCA is the result of a 2015 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant received by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Dill said.
The Saturday planting event at Dead Man’s Hollow will wrap up at 12 noon, organizers said, and people who want to volunteer should wear sturdy shoes and long pants.
Originally published March 24, 2017.