Eva R. Meng Wildlife Preserve and Bird Sanctuary
Following the death of Ms. Eva R. Meng in 1994, the Valley Forge Audubon Society was fortunate enough to be willed 75.5 acres of forested open space in Lower Frederick, Montgomery County for itsownership, stewardship, and continuing its purpose as a natural place for flora and fauna to prosper.
Both Eva and her sister, Edna, were avid nature preservationists. A great thanks goes to the vision of these two women and the executors of their estate. Eva and Edna had also used their property as “Camp Ivy” for the Girl Scout Troop #3 of Schwenksville.
Over the years Camp Ivy provided many girls with an opportunity to learn of the natural environment and enjoy their camping experience.
The donated land is now known as the “Eva R. Meng Wildlife Preserve and Bird Sanctuary” of the Valley Forge Audubon Society. A hiking trail named for each sister is designated within the site. The dedication ceremony was held on May 16, 1998.
Since the late 1990’s Valley Forge Audubon Society has partnered with Montgomery County Open Space Program, Lower Frederick Township, Limerick Township, the Montgomery County Natural Lands Trust, neighbors, and others to acquire other additional adjoining properties.
This effort has created the “Stone Hill Greenway” with the Valley Forge Audubon property as the anchor on one end and Pennsylvania State Game Lands #234 along with Limerick Township open space properties at the other end.
The Montgomery County Open Space Program has provided a grant program to help fund many these property acquisitions. Several former property owners have also worked in a benevolent manner toward making the Stone Hill area a significant Montgomery County landscape resource.
After the initial founding of Meng Sanctuary, VFAS has been able to add additional properties to its holdings, bringing its total acreage to over 100 acres. The most recent acquisition was of 3.25 acres from a purchase made possible by a neighbor, Mrs. Theresa Maag. As of 2013, the entire Stone Hill Greenway including the Pennsylvania State Game Lands has well over 650 acres of public accessible land.
Over 52 types of fungus have been identified at Meng Sanctuary.
As part of the Stone Hill Greenway, Meng Sanctuary is an essential piece of one of the largest contiguous woodlands in Montgomery County. Additionally, it is a fundamental part of one of twelve Montgomery County Conservation Priority Landscapes, and is listed by the Appalachian Mountain Club as a “Pennsylvania Highland Critical Treasure Site”.
The steep slopes and rocky trails are due to its underlying diabase geology. Because of its rocky nature this land was never developed for farmland or housing developments, thus gaining its name as “Stone Hill”.
The woods have provided protection for a number of plant and animal species — 95 species of birds, 20 species of mammals, 261 species of plants, and over 52 types of fungus have been indentified here. Certainly, surprising finds are yet to be revealed.
Northern Green Frog
Meng Sanctuary and Stone Hill Greenway feature over two miles of trails on four well-marked, color-coded paths. A parking area and restored Girls Scout Camp building are located at the east end of Meng Sanctuary, off of Delphi Rd. in Lower Frederick Township.
Natural features of Meng Sanctuary include, beautiful diabase rock outcroppings and a maturing upland forest dominated by Red Oak, Tulip Poplar, Shagbark Hickory, American Beech, and Red Maple trees.
Several wildflowers can be found including Spring Beauty, Violets, Liverleaf, Rue Anemone, Mayapple, and Showy Orchis. The lower wetland areas include Skunk Cabbage seeps, and there is a cattail marsh near the parking lot where many happy frogs, dragonflies, and other marsh animals reside. Breeding birds of note include Turkey Vulture, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, and Scarlet Tanager. Meng Sanctuary also hosts migrants such as Veery, Hermit Thrush, and White-throated Sparrow.
Since opening its lands to the public, the Valley Forge Audubon Society has worked hard to ensure that birds and other wild creatures will prosper within the lands of Meng Sanctuary and Stone Hill Greenway. From dawn to dusk the trails are open for the public to enjoy this unique and beautiful natural area.
Directions: Take Route 29 north from Collegeville through Schwenksville. Turn left onto Meng Road. This will be the first road to the left just beyond the traffic light north of Schwenksville, where the sign says Spring Mountain to the right. Meng Road bears right almost immediately.
Follow Meng Road to Mine Hill Road on the right . (Mine Hill Road goes off to the left before this). Turn right on Mine Hill Road, then left onto Delphi Road, the first road off Mine Hill Road. This is a sharp left onto a gravel road. Continue on Delphi Road a couple hundred yards to the sign and parking lot on your right for the Meng Sanctuary.