Mengel Natural History Society 2022-2023
Berks County, Pennsylvania
.Updated October 29, 2022.
Return to Berks County Nature home page.


NEXT EVENT

November 8, 2022     Tuesday 7:30 PM  IN-PERSON at the Reading Museum.
"From Pompeii to Vesuvius" by Ryan Woolwine, president of the Mengel Natural History Society. Explore the famous ruins and the volcano that changed history. Joint meeting with the Berks Mineralogical Society Photograph of Vesuvius by Ryan Woolwine. 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 (2022-2023) as PDF

        Dues  --  No change from 2021-2022.
Active Member  $10   Family Membership $13  Sustaining Member $13  Junior Member-$5

The "Programs and Field Trips" brochure for 2022-2023 is available in PDF format
at: Mengel Brochure 2022-23.         (Updated: September 15, 2022)
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 - 2023.   (Updated: September 12, 2022)

(Programs & Field Trips) - 2021-2022 Season
For information: 484-883-6461

   September 23, 2022           Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Wild and Managed Bees and their Stressors" by Robyn Underwood, Penn State Extension. uring this talk, you will be introduced to the diversity and life history of bees native to PA. There are many stressors impacting these bees, causing their decline. One of these stressors is the keeping of managed honey bee colonies, but their impacts can be minimized. Ultimately, maintaining/creating habitat is the best way to help bees of all kinds. The program will be followed by our Fall Native Plant Exchange and Give-away. All welcome. Free.

                          October 28, 2022       Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Nolde Forest Update" by Sarah Presogna, Education Supervisor at Nolde Forest EEC. Join Sarah for an update of ongoing projects at Nolde Forest. From Beech Leaf Disease to the new environmental state standards for schools, get caught up on the ongoing changes here in the forest. Program followed by our Fall Seed Exchange and Give-away.

November 8, 2022     Tuesday 7:30 PM   IN-PERSON at the Reading Museum.
"From Pompeii to Vesuvius" by Ryan Woolwine, president of the Mengel Natural History Society. Explore the famous ruins and the volcano that changed history. Joint meeting with the Berks Mineralogical Society Photograph of Vesuvius by Ryan Woolwine.

   December 9, 2022          Zoom Only        Friday 7:30 PM.
"Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees - the Contact Zone" by Dr. Robert Curry, Villanova U. Dr. Curry presents new findings in the Black-capped and Carolina Chickadee contact zone where the species hybridize. †This long-running study now focuses on rapid northward movement of the hybrids. Collaborative work with the Lovette Lab at Cornell has identified a strong signal linking the hybrid-zone movement with climate change. Joint meeting with the Baird Ornithological Club on their meeting night with Baird hosting.

   January 27, 2023    Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Plant Galls of Pennsylvania" by Carol C. Mapes, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Plant galls are curious, often colorful growths that can be found on leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, branches, and even roots of plants. Galls consist of modified plant tissues that provide food and habitat for the inhabitants. This†presentation will focus on galls caused by insects and mites and will be an introduction to the fascinating field of cecidology, the study of plant galls. Photograph of galls of Acraspis erinacei by Carol C. Mapes.

   February 24, 2023  Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Magical Madagascar" by Mengel member Hannah Salvatore. From Berenty in the south to Anjajavy in the north with Antanarivo in the center. From the Lemurs (all the world's lemurs (100+ species)) to the chameleons (over half of the world's chameleons). †From the deserts to the forests. †Have a look at magical Madagascar.

   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 24, 2023           Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"A Western Wandering" by Rich Bonnett, Mengel board member. The program will take short focused looks at 4 iconic Arizona / Utah Parks. Includes Phantom Ranch overnight in Grand Canyon, a windy afternoon in Petrified Forest NP, brilliant autumn mornings in Canyon DeChelly, and freezing in Bryce. Throw in a ghost town for good measure to round it out!

   April 28, 2023           Friday 7:30 PM     An IN-PERSON meeting.
"Members' Night" Programs by our members. "Eclipse of the Sun" by Mengel vice-president Peter Wolfe. "Freshwater Porifera (sponges): rich history, ecosystem services, and a local find" by Mengel director Stan Kemp. Lecture is followed by our annual Spring Wildflower Exchange and Giveaway. All welcome. Free.

   April 29, 2023                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.

May 12, 2023                 Friday 7:30 PM
Social Event. We will join with the Baird Ornithological Club on their meeting day at the Berkshire Country Club. Details later.

   June 10, 2023    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 17, 2023                            Saturday 10 AM FIELD TRIP
"Dragonflies - Bartram Trail/ Kernsville Dam "  10 AM. Joint walk with Baird Ornithological Club.  Rte 61 north, right on Jetson Dr (across from Cabelas), right on Industrial Dr, left on Kernsville Dam Rd. (25 Kernsville Dam Road) The parking area is on the right. 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. A checklist of dragonflies and damselflies known from this area will be provided. Coordinators: Mike Slater 610-775-3757, 610-698-4031 (cell). All are welcome. Children Friendly. Free.
Here are photographs of some of the species seen in 2021 on this walk.

   June 24, 2023         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 some of the species seen on this walk in July 2021.

   July 15, 2023    Saturday 10 AM    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 5, 2023        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.

   August 19, 2023q    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 species seen on 5 walks from 2017 to 2022 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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