Preserving a geological, ecological and cultural treasure

Media, Pa. - April, 1st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Contact:             Laura McPhail/610.566.9134×208


Tyler Arboretum takes measures to preserve the Pink Hill serpentine barren in Delco 

MEDIA, Pa (April 1, 2014) – When people think of Tyler Arboretum, they generally think of magnificent trees and whimsical tree houses. However, many do not realize that the arboretum is also home to and caretaker of the Pink Hill serpentine barren, the last of this kind of ecosystem in Delaware County. Ecologist and conservation biologist Dr. Roger Latham will speak at an open meeting about Pink Hill and the importance of its preservation at the Middletown Township Land Conservancy Meeting on April 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Middletown Township Building, located at 27 N. Pennell Road in Lima, Pa. Attendees are invited to find out what Pink Hill at Tyler Arboretum reveals about continental collision, extinct megafauna, ancient customs and the steps being taken to preserve this rare ecosystem.

The ecological history of Pink Hill is almost inconceivable. Created half a billion years ago when the continents of Africa and North American collided, the serpentine layer that was the sea floor between the continents was buried in rocky hills and mountains. After 100 million years of slow erosion, the serpentine layer was exposed, creating a rare ecosystem with truly unique soil chemistry. Few visitors to the serpentine barren know this complex and fascinating history, but come to see the springtime bloom of the moss phlox plant, which transforms the area every spring into spectacular acres of soft pink blooms. Even fewer know that this serpentine barren is the last of its kind in Delaware County.

Pink Hill is defined as the area near Painter Road between Barren Road and Dismal Run of nearly 14 acres that was once open grassland. It is home to an extraordinarily diverse group of plants and animals for such a small area of land, including several rare, threatened and endangered species. There is strong evidence that the barrens lost considerable ground in the latter half of the 20th century, shrinking in area and declining in native species diversity with the waning of the disturbance regime that sustained it for centuries or thousands of years.

Tyler Arboretum has been instrumental in preserving Pink Hill and its natural treasures. Tree removal, excess topsoil removal, and controlled burns necessary for the flora to flourish are just some of the measures being taken to conserve this unique natural area.

Those interested in the natural wonders of Pink Hill and the plans to save its rare and critically endangered native flora and fauna are encouraged to attend the Middletown Township Land Conservancy Meeting. No registration is required and refreshments will be provided.

About Tyler Arboretum

Tyler Arboretum, one of the oldest and largest arboreta in the northeastern United States, is an important community resource and cultural destination. Tyler provides a natural sanctuary for visitors interested in horticulture, history and the natural world.  Its 650 acres of meadows, wetlands and unbroken forest can be enjoyed via over 17 miles of hiking trails.  Additional information is available at