On the afternoon of July 25th 2016, a microburst – one of nature’s most dangerous windstorms – hit BHWP and felled more than two dozen mature forest trees along the road frontage at the corner of River and Aquetong roads. The same downdraft also shattered the road front sign that welcomes visitors.
BHWP staff and volunteers began the monumental task of clearing the damaged trees and began to formulate a visionary plan to regenerate the destroyed woodland with a colorful new meadow – called “Aquetong Meadow,” populated by hundreds of pollinator-friendly native plant species.
Finally fully realized, the Aquetong Meadow has become a very special corner of the Preserve that offers visitors and passersby their first glimpse of the botanical garden.
As a gateway into New Hope along River Road, the vista provides some with their first impression of the area.
By establishing a meadow in the storm-dam aged area, the Preserve has enhanced the entryway’s aesthetic and provides visitors with a lasting sense of the region’s beauty.
The meadow is a showcase for Pennsylvania’s spectacular meadow species and creates habitat for rare plants, like the locally extinct swamp sunflower.
Serving its ecological function, the meadow filters stormwater runoff, provides food sources for butterflies and other pollinators and shelters small mammals like voles, rabbits and woodchucks.
With the instillation of interpretive signage around the trail loop, Aquetong Meadow is an educational boom for visitors seeking to learn about the purpose of meadows and the vital species they harbor.
PHOTO CAP: 1. BHWP Executive Director Peter Couchman (center) prepares to cut the floral ribbon to Aquetong Meadow.
2. Attendees included David Schumann and Michael Agenbroad of New Hope.
3. Native swamp sunflowers are a feature at the meadow.