The Conococheague Institute near Mercersburg, PA has announced a new exciting event for the Spring season, made possible by a generous sponsorship by F&M Trust. On Saturday April 15th from 10am to 4pm, the event Get to Know Nature: Learning then Conserving will take place at this beautiful 30-acre site.

The theme of the event is understanding nature and conservation (and its global impact), in advance of Earth Day 2023 the following Saturday. CI has been partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Conococheague Audubon Society for many years, and so is no stranger to tree plantings, native plants and birding walks. What makes this event special is the F&M Trust sponsorship that has enabled two incredible new components: A Live Creature program by Wonderfully Wild, and a Birds of Prey and Falconry Demonstration by Miller’s Falconry.

The event will also feature the Franklin County Library Bookmobile, CBF tree plantings, Conococheague Audubon talks, medicinal plant walks, pollinator crafts, StoneHouse History offering 18th century life in the cabins, as well as other craft vendors and activities.

Matthew Wedd CI’s Executive Director explained how the event grew in the planning stages. “We’ve been doing free programming and events for two years now with great success, relying on the skills and dedication of our volunteers and staff. To make this event stand out from the rest, we had to think about what we COULDN’T do ourselves…and animal handling is definitely that! Both the animal program and falconry are going to be a really unique aspect for all ages. I myself will be in the front row to hold a python or look into the eye of an owl up close. The F&M Trust sponsorship is what made this happen as these talented handlers will be paid for the program they provide and to care for their creatures. We’re incredibly thankful for their support.”

The activities planned will be an incredible draw especially for younger children who are always amazed at the beauty of nature up close, but the day’s theme on educating everyone on the wonders of the natural world, and the need to protect it through conservation will be woven into every program. Most of the activities will be ongoing throughout the day but the Wonderfully Wild creature program will be held at 11am in the Visitor Center, and the Miller’s Falconry flight demonstration will be at 1pm at the large field adjacent to the cabins.

The program will be free to all, with donations being accepted for parking and programming support.

For more information visit CI’s website at or email