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General Information

Jennings Environmental Education Center
Copyright: Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Jennings Environmental Education Center
Description - The Jennings Environmental Education Center was established in the late 1950's by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a nonprofit land conservation agency, to protect and conserve a beautiful prairie flower, the blazing star, Liatris spicata. The center is named for Dr. Otto Emery Jennings, a famous botanist and naturalist who first discovered the plant area. It includes about 220 acres of a woodland ecosystem. The Center provides environmental education and interpretive programs which explore a wide variety of ecological and environmental topics. School, youth and other organized groups are invited to participate in workshops and interpretive talks. In addition, the Jennings Center provides college level students with internship experiences in environmental education, interpretation and resource management. A visitor center contains displays, exhibits, and information on environmental issues and local natural resources.

Attractions - The Jennings Environmental Education Center was established in the late 1950's by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a nonprofit land conservation agency, to protect and conserve a beautiful prairie flower, the blazing star, Liatris spicata. The center is named for Dr. Otto Emery Jennings, a famous botanist and naturalist who first discovered the blazing star prairie area. The Jennings area was the first "reserve'' established in Pennsylvania to protect an individual plant species and remains the only public and protected relict prairie in the Commonwealth.

The Jennings Center also includes about 220 acres of woodland ecosystem which is more typical of the mixed hardwood forest of the area. Stream valleys and lowlands have many dead elm snags. These are remnants of the elm forests that existed prior to the blight of Dutch Elm Disease in the 1930's.

A species of special concern in the resource management of the Jennings Environmental Education Center is the endangered massasauga (pronounced mass-a-sawga) rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. This small, retiring species of poisonous snake is an endangered species in Pennsylvania and is strictly protected. Although very shy and rather mild mannered, the massasauga can inflict a dangerous poisonous bite. It should not be molested or disturbed. To help protect the snake, and for your own safety, visitors should stay on the trails and observe all snakes from a safe distance.

Recreation - The Jennings Environmental Education Center is surrounded by approximately 300 acres of a fragile ecosystem. The Center provides environmental education and interpretive programs which explore a wide variety of ecological and environmental topics. School, youth and other organized groups are invited to participate in workshops and interpretive talks. Call the park office for a schedule and to make a reservation.

In addition, the Jennings Center provides college level students with internship experiences in environmental education, interpretation and resource management. A visitor center contains displays, exhibits, and information on environmental issues and local natural resources. The center staff provides services and assistance in plant and animal identification, conducting and developing environmental programs and supplying information relative to environmental issues.

Diverse habitat, varying terrain and several miles of walking trails provide the center visitor with opportunities to view and photograph over 386 species of plants, 134 species of birds and a large variety of animals.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week for hiking and other nature related activities.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Jennings area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Location - Jennings Environmental Education Center is located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. It is located in the western region approximately 20 miles north of Pittsburg off I-79.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Jennings Environmental Education Center, 2951 Prospect Road , Slippery Rock, PA, 16057-8701, Phone: 724-794-6011
, jennings@dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.
Pittsburgh Area - Pittsburgh is one of the greatest steel-making centers of the world. The area is host to the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers creating the Ohio River.

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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