John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
Learning about the environment
The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is a 200-acre property designated to grow to a maximum of 1,200 acres. It's located about one mile from Philadelphia International Airport on Tinicum Marsh, the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. The property also offers meadow, field, impounded water and woods habitats for the wildlife. The primary water source is Darby Creek and about 4.5 miles of the creek meanders around on the property.
More than 300 species of birds pay a visit to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge during a normal year. 85 of those species nest on the property, sharing it with deer, opossum, raccoon, fox, muskrat, fish, turtles, frogs, wildflowers and other plants. The endangered Coastal and Southern Leopard Frogs and the threatened Red-bellied Turtle can both be found on the property. There are more than 10 miles of trails with two boardwalks to help people explore the property.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 and the staff has spent considerable time and effort since in working with local educators to provide learning opportunities for students. John Heinz NWR offers one of the pilot educational programs of the "Reconnecting Children and Families to Nature" national program, a priority mission of the US Fish & Wildlife Service. A major part of that effort went into designing and building the Cusano Environmental Education Center on the property. Tony Cusano bequeathed $2.5 million to the refuge for this purpose. Then the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation doubled that bequest and the result is a state-of-the-art environmental education center, complete right down to fully-green construction and sustenance methods that earned the building an award as one of the top ten Green Projects of the American Institute of Architects.
To get there: Take exit 14 off Interstate 95 onto Bartram Avenue. When you reach 84th Street (the 5th traffic light), turn right. Then go to the 2nd traffic light and turn left onto Lindbergh Boulevard. The refuge entrance is one block down on the right.
Canoeing on Tinicum Marsh
Map of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum