Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Located in the heartland of southeast Pennsylvania, the Game Commission's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is a mecca for wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The 6,254-acre facility, created in 1973, is home to pheasants and deer, bluebirds and cottontails, and many other wild animals. The area is particularly noted for the thousands upon thousands of ducks, geese and swans that drop in during their spring and fall migrations. Middle Creek is also a popular destination for teachers and students, birders and hikers, and hunters and anglers, too.
One of the most popular attractions at Middle Creek is the Visitors Center which features a variety of displays of waterfowl and other wildlife that inhabit the area. The center is visited annually by hundreds of thousands of people of all ages.
While Middle Creek was originally created to provide waterfowl hunting opportunities to people in eastern Pennsylvania, today, the overwhelming majority of visitors to Middle Creek are non-hunters. The exhibits and displays at the Visitors Center create the opportunity to educate all visitors, hunters and non-hunters alike, about Middle Creek's purpose, emphasizing the role that hunters play in waterfowl management and wildlife management in general.
Several years ago, recognizing this unique opportunity, Game Commission staff started to map out a plan to increase and improve the educational experience offered at Middle Creek. The first step was to add an Environmental Education Specialist to the staff at the center. Lessons were designed to address the specific Pennsylvania Department of Education standards in the areas of predator/prey relationships, adaptations, migration, threatened and endangered species, watersheds/wetlands, ecosystems and their interactions and food chains/webs. The availability of this type of educational experience tremendously increased the use of the facility by schools, scouts, and other public groups.
The next step in the plan was to update and improve the center's exhibits and displays. The majority of the displays housed within the center where created when the center opened in the early 1970's. While still attractive and enjoyed, many lacked a real opportunity for learning through hands-on interaction.
Over the last several years, as budget permitted, changes were made. Some of the changes to date include:
- Series of wildlife murals created and painted by the students of the Lebanon Career and Technology Center. These murals were designed to feature a lot of the subject matter included in PDE's environmental educational standards.
- Wildlife viewing area, which includes a bank of binoculars and bird identification guides. This area overlooks bird feeding stations and two of the many lakes of Middle Creek.
- Children's reading corner, which features a wide variety of quality children's wildlife books as well as wildlife coloring pages. The area is popular with both the young and old.
- Small theater used for continuous viewing of videos about wildlife, wildlife management, the Game Commission and more.
Plans for future projects include:
- Migration map depicting the migration routes for Canada geese, tundra swans and snow geese.
- Interactive Waterfowl display offering visitors a first hand experience of what it's like to be a hunter in a duck blind.
As time and budget permit, Game Commission staff hopes to continue to update and improve the exhibits and displays to enhance the educational experience available at the Middle Creek Visitor Center.