Best Practices

Mayor William L. Heydt

The Mosser Woods Environmental Education Project

Over the last few years 21 acres of overgrown woods that had been polluted with debris have been transformed into an outdoor laboratory for urban area students. A private-public partnership involving the City of Allentown's Parks and Recycling departments, the Allentown School District, Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., Lehigh County Conservation District, Pennsylvania Department of Education and many other organizations, as well as hundreds of individuals, led to this revitalization.

Mosser Woods has evolved. An amphitheater in Mosser Woods was constructed with recycled material supplied through a grant obtained by the city. Wetlands, a butterfly garden, a pond and 6,920 feet of nature trails have been preserved and maintained. Presently, plans are underway to construct several small garden plots to be used for a worm recycling program. Additionaly, historical trees that were missing are being replanted and more trails are being blazed with an anticipated expenditure of $125,000 and thousands of volunteer hours. Future plans include expanding the project into the City of Allentown's adjacent water reservoir.

With ingenuity, hard work and an enormous amount of cooperation this land has become a virtual paradise for the nature lovers of the Lehigh Valley. Students and adults stroll through the many paths that it took years to plan, observing and studying the many virtues of nature that were always in these woods, but needed to be uncovered and discovered.

The Mosser Woods Environmental Education Project will effectively deliver education about the natural world to our urban students, many of whom live in federal housing projects. The project is seen as a vast outdoor classroom to benefit students of all ages within the school district, throughout Lehigh County, and out-of-state students through exchange programs. This has been a tremendous community partnership effort that benefits the most important members of our community -- our children.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (610) 437-7546

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