Places We Protect

Florence Shelly Preserve


A ruby throated hummingbird with an irridescent green head hovers next to a long stemmed plant with purple flowers.
Hummingbird A ruby-throated hummingbird pollinates a flower. © Shutterstock

A curiosity about science and dedication to conserving nature led to the establishment of Pennsylvania's Florence Shelly Wetlands Preserve.



The Florence Shelly Preserve boasts fields, woodlands, streams and a glacial pond surrounded by a floating bog. An easy-access boardwalk begins near the parking lot on Little Ireland Road and meanders through the hemlock forest to a lookout over the marsh. Guide sheets for the trail are available at the trailhead just off Stack Road.

Walks organized and led by the preserve's stewardship committee are held May through October. Walks and other volunteer events are currently paused due to COVID-19.


From the beginning, this unique area, with its variety of habitats and species, has been actively cared for by the Florence Shelly Wetlands Preserve Stewardship Committee. This informal group of volunteers meets regularly to share discoveries they’ve made at the preserve and works with TNC staff to complete maintenance and monitoring tasks and other activities. The committee organizes the preserve’s summer walk schedule and often works with local Eagle Scouts on projects at the preserve.

Contact Trebbe Johnson for more information about the stewardship committee.



Dogs are not allowed at this preserve.


Hiking, hunting (deer only, in cooperation with Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations) and birding.


380 acres

Explore our work in Pennsylvania


  • Volunteer Evan Mann has led spring bird walks in the preserve for many years. The bird he most looks forward to each year is the northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis). Look for these birds in low boggy areas—their preferred habitat—and listen for its rippling song.

    Another favorite of Evan’s is the white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), a bird that favors the upper elevations of the preserve. Their high-pitched song has been likened to the phrase, “Oh, sweet Canada-Canada.”

    The preserve is also home to the tiny blackpoll warbler (Setophaga striata), long-distance athletes that hold the record for the longest overwater flight for a songbird. Birders will note a marked change of appearance in the male blackpoll warbler from spring to fall. In the spring the bird is white with black markings and a black cap. In the fall, it turns tawny yellow, and the cap fades to buff-color.

  • We are creating a science database of all kinds of life—from lichens to ants, mushrooms to plants, birds to mammals and everything in between for our preserves in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

    TNC's roots began with local citizens and scientists concerned about special places and species. That legacy continues today. Across our lands, we are utilizing iNaturalist—a digital platform that gives users an opportunity to share and discuss their findings.

    Of the 14 preserve projects in iNaturalist, nine have observations recorded; help us increase that number and our understanding of the species—good and bad, native as well as invasive—that can be found on TNC lands across the state. This information can also help guide and inform our conservation staff's management and monitoring decisions.

Stay In Touch

Published every two months, the Florence Shelly Wetlands Preserve newsletter highlights exceptional natural features of the preserve and shares articles about how some human-made elements came into existence.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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