Churchville Nature Center
History & Mission
We are a non-profit facility of the Bucks County Department of Parks & Recreation founded in 1964 as the county's first nature center. Our main focus ins environmental education and the promotion of responsible stewardship. The center occupies 65 acres of contiguous preserve with around 100 acres of connected properties.
Starting out of an old farmhouse on the property, the nature center has grown over its fifty plus years into a true environmental education center hosting thousands of school kids, scouts and visitors of all kinds each year for our programming.
Picture of the current visitor center in the fall of 2016.
Mission
The mission of the Center is to instill an awareness and appreciation of the natural world in all people through education, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship with a commitment to the preservation of resources and wildlife habitat.
Chris Stieber (retired) served as Director of Churchville Nature Center for over thirty years and retired after 44 years of dedication to the center. He spear headed the 2014 Green Building Expansion and the creation of the butterfly house.
The current visitor center was built in 1975 and housed a small area for offices, an auditorium, gift shop and library.
A major overhaul in the facilities was finished in 2014. The new sections included a new auditorium, a wetlab, exhibit hall and plenty of more office space for the ever growing staff.
The overhaul came as a Green Building initiative with innovative features including a cooling tower, 32 geothermal wells, a permeable parking lot with detention basin and water conserving bathroom features.
The CNC Visitor Center in 2002 prior to the Green Building Expansion.
The Churchville Reservoir
Established in 1942 by Springfield Water Company ( later purchased by Philadelphia Suburban Water Company), the lake now known as Churchville Reservoir was first called Springfield Lake. Formation was done by damming up a section of the Ironworks Creek which is the main flow of water in and out of the lake. It is a shallow reservoir that is meant to be used as a backup for drinking water supplies if the Neshaminy Creek and subsequently the Delaware River get too low.
Currently the lake is owned by Aqua America making it privately owned with sections of its surrounding land leased to the county for use by the nature center. It is important wildlife habitat preserved by Aqua and assisted in its preservation needs by the center.
Photos From the Past...
The original nature center, now office and archive building, was this early 19th century farmhouse.
Aerial of then Springfield Lake circa 1950's.
The center's original bird blind located adjacent to the farmhouse where the front pond now sits.
George's Lair long ago... ancient looking even in the 70's.
Former Assistant Naturalist, Paul Cornell leading the Mad Hatter Walk. Circa 1980.
2014 picture of the current auditorium under construction.
Construction of the Visitor Center.
A very early look of the library.
Trails of days past...
A 2014 picture of the four former directors of the nature center at the 50th anniversary party. From left to right: Chris Stieber, Harry Volker, Dave Williams and Julian Boryszewski.
Braille Trail and Lester S. Thomas Library dedication, circa 1970. pictured are Harry volker and Julian Boryszewski wearing the old school uniforms.
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