Birds and Biodiversity at Lacawac Sanctuary

When you sit in one place for an hour or so doing nothing but watching the nature around you, you start to notice things. Like the two beavers that live in Heron Pond, the way the osprey family has different screams for different purposes or the fact that taking good pictures through binoculars is almost impossible.  

George Green & Claire Wang / DESLA ANS

At Lacawac Sanctuary there is a pond, host to many species of flora and fauna, but most notably, herons. As such, it was named Heron Pond. However, in our week-long visit during our Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy experience, we determined that it should probably be called Osprey Pond, because every time we went looking for herons there, all we could find were the family of ospreys that lived next to the pond. So, heron-hunting trips turned into osprey watching.  

George Green & Claire Wang / DESLA ANS

The osprey family was so consistently present because of one important element at Lacawac Sanctuary: a special osprey nesting platform constructed in 1997 at Heron Pond, part of a nation-wide conservation effort for the previously endangered osprey. The platform is home this year to three ospreys, two parents and a juvenile, hunting in the many nearby lakes. This family, thriving in the 550-acre sanctuary after its species was critically endangered just forty years ago, is still only one piece of Lacawac’s incredibly important role in the protection of biodiversity in the region.  

George Green & Claire Wang / DESLA ANS

In the face of a global biodiversity crisis, the ability to go birding every morning for only five days and observe 53 species is truly incredible. To put that number into perspective, in my seven months of birding back at home, I’ve observed 42 species — and I live in a fairly forested area. As experiences like ours at Lacawac are becoming more and more difficult to find, it is easy to believe that the fight against our numerous environmental crises is hopeless.  

But places like Lacawac Sanctuary show how much nature will flourish if we simply protect an area of land, giving us hope for the future of our planet. It certainly did for us in the week we spent there, and we implore any who reads this piece to seek out ways to engage with the nature around them and renew their own motivation to protect the environment and its sacred beauty.

Written by George Green and Claire Wang 


  1. Thank you for writing about your experiences at Lacawac. I did research on the plankton and littoral zooplankton many years ago. Your description encourages me to think the lake is still as pristine as I remember it to be. I hope it will remain this beautiful and as nice for future visitors like you. Thank you for appreciating Lake Lacawac. Clyde Goulden

    1. Same here. I visited the Lake about the same time as Clyde. We were colleagues at the ANSP. I in the Entomology Dept and Clyde in Limnology. The lake still looks pristine and a perfect place to birdwatch or just relax and think of how lucky we are to have such a place to visit.

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