Skip to main content

Susquehanna Life

Ferncliff Nature Preserve Backstory

The 65 acres on which Ferncliff Wildlife and Wildflower Preserve sits in Lancaster County once was owned by the Dr. Henry H. Huffnagle family. Dr. Huffnagle collected species of plants and transplanted them onto the property. He taught his son, Henry, the common and Latin names of plants, flowers and trees found on the property. 

“He didn’t control the land as far as brush and shrubs go, although he did some work on the evasive species,” Henry recalls. “One of the premises was to let it go as nature intended. For example, dead trees are part of the ecosystem. It exposed us to [important] concepts—like the relationship between land and its people.”

This immersion in nature made a huge impact on Henry’s life and fostered an appreciation for wild places—in particular the Susquehanna River hills. When his father passed away, Henry donated the land to the Lancaster Conservancy in 1996.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Susquehanna Life's free newsletter to stay informed