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Taking a walk in Penn’s Woods at the Norths’ home


Special to The Press

A “Walk in Penn’s Woods” was observed on Oct. 1, at 3025 Victoria Lane, South Whitehall

Owners Marie and Paul North have a Stewardship Forest designation on their property, which means the couple actively manage the forest and lands to keep them productive and healthy for present and future generations, and to increase the economic, environmental, and social benefits of their land.

In 1988, the late Ruth Park of State College joined the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship program and, according to her obituary, “became a cheerleader for healthy forests.”

She was on the Pa. Forest Stewardship Steering Committee and due to her artistic and inclusive mindset, the “Walk in Penn’s Woods” was created.

“I do wish we could all get out into the woods for a walk one day,” she is quoted as saying.

Since 2017, the Walk in Penn’s Woods partnership has been working to offer Pennsylvanians a statewide opportunity to get out, have fun, and learn about Pennsylvania’s forests, to see forests in new ways, and to understand and appreciate the many values we hold for the woods.

The Norths have the only registered Stewardship Forest in South Whitehall.

Their property is about 2.5 acres. The couple planned their home in 2007 and completed it in 2009. The house is sustainable but doesn’t have a LEED certification. They cut 24 trees to build their home, and they used the wood for floors, counter and bathroom vanities.

There are several types of trees on the property including hackberry, white oak, hickory, sweet cherry and black walnut.

Although three acres is typically the minimum size for stewardship recognized by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources accepted this property into the program.

The owners offered timed narrative walks through their small forest on a trail that was approximately a quarter mile long.

Their property is also Watershed Friendly Certified Property with native plants and trees beneficial to pollinators, birds, and wildlife.

Along the trail there were two small ponds.

Stacey Hash-Nash, a landscape architect from Parkland Nurseries, was on hand to explain the one pond was shallow for birds to walk in it.

The other pond was deeper, and she pointed out a frog.

PRESS PHOTO BY MICHAEL HIRSCH Marie and Paul North outside their home where the Stewardship Forest is located. Hackberry, white oak, hickory, sweet cherry and black walnut wood samples are on the table.
There is a fox habitat in the forest, and owl and bat habitats are indicated along the trail.
PRESS PHOTOS BY MICHAEL HIRSCH A view of the pond on the property, although man made, collects rainwater.