The Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks, is dedicated to helping people develop a sound environmental ethic. Since the early 1970s, the center has provided a wide variety of activity-oriented programs for students, teachers, adult groups and individuals.
Nolde Forest encompasses more than 665 acres of deciduous woodlands and coniferous plantations. A network of trails makes the center’s streams, ponds and diverse habitats accessible to both students and casual visitors. Teaching stations offer places for students to work and benches for those who wish to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds associated with the natural world. There is a short, accessible trail by the mansion.
The Nolde mansion houses offices for the center staff. When hosiery baron Jacob Nolde acquired this area in the early 1900s, a single white pine grew amid meadow vegetation. Inspired by this tree, the German-born Nolde hired an Austrian forester to create a coniferous forest. As the plantations grew they formed a “luxury forest,” a source of family pleasure and pride. In 1926, Hans Nolde, a son of Jacob, initiated work on the Tudor-style mansion. When this year-round home was finished, it overlooked the sawmill pond and the lights of Reading. A garden featuring native wildflowers is adjacent to the mansion. The C. H. McConnell Environmental Education Hall near the mansion is the indoor site for year-round programming.
Schools and groups should schedule learning experiences as far in advance as possible. For more information on the center’s current public and school programs or to schedule activities, contact the center.
Managed by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Nolde Forest is in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on PA 625, two miles south of PA 724 or three miles north of PA 568.