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Wildflowers in full bloom at Tom Ridge Wetlands

by on October 03, 2019 2:24 PM

JULIAN — There is a simplistic beauty to wildflowers which makes them delightful to behold. There are many varieties of wildflowers in bloom right now at the Tom Ridge Wetlands, and these might make great subject matter for the Autumn in the Wetlands photography contest, brought to you by Wildlife for Everyone and The Centre County Gazette.

The Tom Ridge Wetlands is located along Route 220 between Julian and Martha Furnace. There is currently a mowed walking path through the wetlands, and it is open to the public. Parking is available in the gravel lot where you will also see the Tom Ridge Wetlands sign.

Once you are out of your car, start walking through the wetlands on one of the paths you will find. Along the way you will see a myriad of wildflowers, Monarch butterflies and other insects, and nature will surround you with plenty of fodder for a great photographs.

If you are focusing on wildflowers, be on the lookout for wood asters, Queen Anne’s Lace, small asters, goldenrod, New England aster and many other types of wildflowers and interesting shrubs and trees. You may also see Monarch butterflies moving from wildflower to wildflower. If you are patient, you may even be able to get the perfect picture of a butterfly on one of the wildflowers.

Patience is definitely the secret to nature photography. Find a place to sit and wait. Pay attention to what surrounds you. There is always more in the Tom Ridge Wetlands than meets the eye.

The Autumn in the Wetlands photography contest is open to youth, 17 and under, and adults 18 and older, who have never before been published. The final day for submitting an entry is Oct. 14. For complete details about the contest and submission information, visit, call (814) 238-8138 or email [email protected]. There will be one winner announced on Oct. 25 from the youth category and one winner announced from the adult category.

The Tom Ridge Wetlands awaits your visit whether you are entering the Autumn in the Wetlands photography contest or not. It takes approximately one hour to walk the entire Tom Ridge Wetlands. You can stop along the banks of Bald Eagle Creek and take in nature there and move through the rest of the trail, or return to the parking lot for a shorter visit.

Wildlife for Everyone is creating an all-accessible nature trail at the Tom Ridge and Julian wetlands. The Julian Wetlands is less than a mile from the Tom Ridge Wetlands, and on the opposite side of Route 220. Work is currently underway to bring this project to fruition, so that everyone, regardless of physical limitation, can enjoy nature.

Susan Hawthorne is the executive director of Wildlife For Everyone Foundation.


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