A vision of wholeness
Along with his professional life, Walter Koerber was a forester, and as such, understood one of the most important ways to help maintain wildlife diversity. Large, fragmented areas of habitat provide safe haven for many species and allows their movement within a healthy and protective landscape. Dr. and Mrs. Koerber own 66 acres of this wild Pennsylvania woodland and have managed it for wildlife habitat and natural resource value. Around their homestead, they have fenced approximately fifteen acres with deer exclusion fence, and the vegetation within the exclusion area is naturally restoring itself to appropriate understory for songbird nesting area and cover for many species who rely on this type of habitat.
Dr. Koerber, who passed in 2015, was concerned about potential sprawl development in Powell’s Valley, loss of wildlife habitat, potential pollution, and loss of large contiguous areas of forested land. Because of these concerns, he became a champion of their conservation, placing a conservation easement on his land, thereby protecting a long stretch of frontage along a forest road and providing a buffer to neighboring larger forested properties. He also kickstarted and championed Manada Conservancy’s Small Valley Project [link], a 762 acre scout camp adjacent to his property. He was very proud to note that his 66 protected acres were a key link connecting over 11,000 acres of forest, which includes the Small Valley project and adjacent state forest and game lands.
The Koerber property itself contains several pristine streams which flow into the Powell’s Creek and then into the Susquehanna River. In Spring, it is a haven of birdsong, filled with flowering mountain laurel, pink azalea, and other Pennsylvania wildflowers. The vision of the Koerber family has helped to ensure that these lands will remain a haven for wildlife for future generations.