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The former farm fields at the 55-acre Hildacy Preserve have been converted to meadows dominated by native grasses such as big and little bluestem, Indian-grass, and switchgrass. Native grass meadows provide valuable habitat for many bird species that are in decline across their ranges. Eastern Bluebirds, American Kestrels, Indigo Buntings, and Red-shouldered Hawks have all nested at Hildacy in recent years.
Crum Creek, a tributary to the Delaware River, meanders through the preserve. The creek is the leading drinking water source for Delaware County residents and was designated a “Special Protection Stream” by the PA Department of Environmental Protection. With help from volunteers and Pennsylvania’s TreeVitalize program, we have planted hundreds of trees along the edge of Crum Creek to improve water quality. Trees and other plants in this area filter the nutrients and sediments transported by surface and groundwater flowing into the creek. Native trees also provide shade and food that benefit fish and other aquatic species.
This project is a part of “From the Source: Stories of the Delaware River” and is produced with support from the National Geographic Society, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and the William Penn Foundation. Editorial content is created independent of the project’s donors.