EAST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A world-famous hiking spot and bird sanctuary that stretches into parts of Schuylkill County received a big boost. The sights and sounds of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary near Orwigsburg have made it one of Pennsylvania's most attractive destinations for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
"We started counting raptors in 1934 and keeping very detailed scientific records on all of that. Now we have the longest standing data set on raptor migration in the world," Sean Grace, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary president said.
This sprawling 2,400-acre space of pristine nature is world-renowned for its research into those raptors, otherwise known as carnivorous birds with talons but also for hiking and education.
"We work with school groups, we work with scouts, we have birthday programs, we have adult workshops. So, we have programs going on nearly every single day of the year. That's a big part of what we do," Grace said.
That's why it's a big deal for this independent non-profit to receive grants, such as the $5,500 one it recently got from the First Energy Foundation. That money will go back into everything the sanctuary does.
"I think all conservation starts with education and it's sharing that information about the species or the habitat, why it's important to conserve it, understanding it and that's part of what we do," stated Grace.
On a yearly basis, around 80,000 people come to Hawk Mountain. Not only can they experience great views, but this region is one of the top places in the world to study birds of prey.
"A lot of people I know like to come here hiking, come for the fall migration of the hawks. It's a great place. People love it," Greg binger of Schnecksville said.
Hawk Mountain is open Monday through Friday.