Jane Callahan ’22, Staff Writer

ChesLen Nature Preserve
Source: Jane Callahan

Here is a beautiful and inspiring thought for everyone. A spectacular spring is on its way! However, on February 2, it was reported that the Ground Hog did see his shadow. Therefore, we might have to wait a little longer for winter to exit this year. Being an outdoor enthusiast myself, I am not deterred from getting outside in colder temperatures, I find it both invigorating and refreshing. Fortunately, weather conditions in our area are not too extreme, like in Siberia! I find it delightful and pretty when it snows. That being said, I want to share a great local destination spot with everyone. I was thinking that many IU students come here and do not know where the local Nature Preserves and State Parks are located, so here you go.   

I want to highlight the ChesLen Nature Preserve, which is open and free to everyone year round. This organization is dedicated to land preservation, the protection of our precious watershed, and they work to restore the natural wildlife habitats for endangered animals, birds, bees, butterflies and other creatures who share our world. ChesLen is the largest local nature preserve in the Chester County area, with 1,282 acres of rolling hills, wooded trails and open fields. It is a year-round go-to- spot for people to get out and enjoy nature. The land provides diverse trails for walking dogs, hiking, jogging, and bird watching!

It can get crowded on weekends with people walking their dogs and families out for a stroll. I recommend visiting on a weekday, if that is possible. Also, all visitors are expected to follow the CDC guidelines that are in place to reducing the spread of Covid-19. A tip; if you venture out soon, bundle up, and be sure to wear good warm boots with good tread to hike the trails safely in the snow. Good hiking boots will provide better support for your ankles, especially when walking in snow.

So where is ChesLen Preserve? The Cheslen Center, is located on Cannery Rd. in Newlin Township. Travel time is approximately 20-25  minutes from IU campus and you will need a car to get there. The Center on Cannery RD. has public bathrooms that are open. However The main Center and office is not available to the public at this time.

This past year was especially stressful and difficult for everyone, we were told not to leave our homes, to stay home and to wear a mask. We were worried for our loved ones and family members. Feeling lonely and Isolated was a common denominator among us. As a result, so many people turned to nature for stress relief and grounding. Nature often provides a positive element and outlet when we experience stress. Being outside, getting fresh air helps us to better cope with stress.

Remember, we all need the sunshine vitamin everyday. Vitamin D is attributed to lifting our spirits when depression hits, and also Vitamin D helps to build strong bones and helps to boost our immune systems. Make sure to take breaks from computer screens and cell phones, and set aside time for being present outside. Free yourself from overusing game technology, to fill in the open gaps of time in your schedule.

God made the world so exquisite and beautiful for us all to observe and enjoy. Be good to yourself, shut off the computer and social media channels. Gather safely with friends and refresh your mind, body, and soul outside.

The Earth is a gift from the divine Creator of the universe. It was made for all of us to cherish and enjoy. We also need to take good care of our planet for future generations to also enjoy.

The Spring season begins on March 20, this is the time of the “vernal equinox” and it is followed by the March full moon. Come and visit Cheslen Preserve. Listen for the spring peepers as they will alert us to the start of the spring season! You can visit the website for Cheslen Preserve/ nature.org for more information has and directions. I hope everyone who visits, enjoys the abundant beauty that is there.

Source: Jane Callahan