High School Park Meadow Walkway Project: A Birders’ Lookout in Elkins Park

Julie Slavet
May 9, 2016

Guest blog post by Kevin Reis, High School Park Restoration Manager

A wooden walkway recently installed in High School Park is ADA-compliantThrough a generous donation from Elkins Park residents Roy and Shelley Schwartz, The Friends of High School Park (FHSP) spearheaded the construction of a meadow walkway earlier this year. Working with Cheltenham Township and landscape company Garret Churchill, FHSP helped to design the elevated walkway. The timber walkway is supported by a number of corrugated pipes laid on a bed of stone.

The boardwalk begins at the southeastern corner of the meadow in High School Park. It stretches out 85 feet into the meadow, rising slowly up to two feet above ground. The timber structure is ADA-compliant and offers a great view across the top of the meadow. Bird interactions between the woodland edge and the meadow can be viewed from one of three benches located in the viewing area. The bench design, known as an Aldo Leopold bench, has been modified to provide comfortable seating and easy bird watching. The design allows the user to utilize the flat surface on the back as an elbow rest for binocular use or a surface for note-taking.

An Aldo Leopold bench in High School Park.
An Aldo Leopold bench in High School Park.

The area surrounding the walkway will be reseeded and planted with two inch plugs of native grasses. Two trees have been planted in the area during fall, a magnolia leftover from the Arts in the Park plant sale and a willow donated by a member of FHSP. Regular maintenance of the area will continue along with regular meadow maintenance operations.

Planned additions to the walkway include signage highlighting various birds, both migratory and resident populations.

The walkway will be dedicated to the memory of the Schwartz’s son, Joshua, on May 15th at 10:30am in a small public ceremony held by FHSP and the Schwartz family and friends. The meadow walkway is now open for use by birders and non-birders alike.

A wooden-plank walkway installed in High School Park, which is ADA-compliant.

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