The Dreibelbis Farm Historical Society (DFHS) will be hosting a Wetlands Plant Species Walk at the Historic Dreibelbis Farm in Virginville on Sunday, July 20 at 2:30 p.m.
Dr. Frank Muzopappa, who holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from West Virginia University and is professor emeritus at Kutztown University, will lead the walk on farm grounds. Participants on this half-mile, hour-long walk through wetlands will observe and learn to identify a variety of unique plant species, with an emphasis on wetland indicator species and invasive species that are found on this site.
Originally from the small town of Penowa in western Pennsylvania, Dr. Muzopappa has lived in Virginville next to the Dreibelbis farm for more than 40 years and has extensive knowledge of the wetlands and wetlands plants on the farm property.
First settled in 1778, the Historic Dreibelbis Farm property has been owned by members of the Dreibelbis family, who were Swiss-German immigrants, for 235 years. Mark Dreibelbis, a Hamburg resident and descendant of the original Dreibelbis settlers, acquired the 180-acre farm from a cousin in 1998 for purposes of conservation, and has worked with the Berks County Conservancy and other organizations to protect the farm from future development, preserve the historical resources of the site, and enhance the ecological value of wetlands and endangered species habitat onsite. The DFHS was founded to carry out this mission and make the resources of the farm available to the public.
The DFHS has partnered with several Federal and State programs to protect the environmental resources of the farm. Twenty-seven acres of sensitive farmland were enrolled in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP supports landowners who agree to leave these sensitive areas fallow to protect wetlands and erodible soil. The farm was also enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Clean and Green Program, which offers tax incentives to protect open space and agricultural land from development. Furthermore, the Schuylkill Action Network drilled a deep well to provide potable water for the farm and erected stream-side fencing to prevent livestock from causing erosion along tributaries to the Maiden Creek that cross the farm. In addition, 63 acres of active farmland on-site are certified organic.
Registration for the walk is not required, and there is no charge to attend, although donations will be gratefully accepted. Sturdy walking shoes that can get wet or muddy are recommended, and participants are encouraged to bring insect repellent. Bottled water will be available. The event will be held rain or shine.
Please note that the farm house will not be open for tours during this event, but will be available for tours at the Historic Farm Festival to be held on Aug. 23. To arrange a private tour of the house, to inquire about volunteer opportunities at the farm, or for more information about the Wetlands Walk, please contact Mark Dreibelbis at 610-488-7896 or DreibelbisFarm@gmail.com, or visit www.DreibelbisFarm.org. The farm is located on Route 183 in Virginville. GPS compatible address: 356 Hard Hill Road, Hamburg.