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About Powdermill

Powdermill Nature Reserve is Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s environmental research center. Located 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in Rector, Pennsylvania, Powdermill is a field station and laboratory where researchers do long-term studies of natural populations in western Pennsylvania. In addition to being positioned for Appalachian-specific studies in ornithology, ecology, invertebrate zoology, and botany, Powdermill is a great place to spend a fun-filled day outdoors with the family.

Explore the beautiful woodlands around Powdermill, or visit the nature center, which features exhibits that highlight local wildlife, an indoor stream, and a marsh machine that uses a living greenhouse to purify waste water.

Admission to Powdermill Nature Reserve is free.

Nature Center Hours

Wednesday–Saturday:
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 4:30 p.m.

Closed: Monday & Tuesday

Winter Hours (starting November 20, 2023)

Monday–Thursday:
by appointment only 

Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m.– 3 p.m. 

Closed Sunday 

Location

GPS Coordinates
+40.160    -79.272

Address         
Powdermill Nature Reserve
1795 Route 381
Rector, PA 15677

Phone
724.593.6105

Hiking & Trails
Trails are open dawn to dusk.

Events at Powdermill

Family Nature Walk at Powdermill

March 2, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us as we hit the trails for a guided nature walk! We’ll meet in the atrium of the Powdermill ...

After-school Story Stroll:
The Secret Pool (ages 7-10)

March 20, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
This month, we will discover The Secret Pool by Kimberly Ridley Reading level: Ages 7-10 Explore Pow...

Timberdoodle Night Hike at Powdermill Nature Reserve

March 29, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
What makes that noise that sounds like “Peent” in the night? The American woodcock! Also called ...

Timberdoodle Night Hike at Powdermill Nature Reserve

March 30, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
What makes that noise that sounds like “Peent” in the night? The American woodcock! Also called ...

Family Nature Walk at Powdermill

April 6, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Join us as we hit the trails for a guided nature walk! We’ll meet in the atrium of the Powdermill ...

Powdermill Avian Research Center Open House

April 20, 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Join us for an Open House to celebrate the grand opening of our new bird banding laboratory! Powderm...

Powdermill Avian Research Center Free Guided Tour

April 26, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Enjoy a free guided tour of the bird banding lab and research facility including the flight tunnel. ...

Powdermill Avian Research Center Free Guided Tour

May 3, 8:00 am - 9:30 am
Enjoy a free guided tour of the bird banding lab and research facility including the flight tunnel. ...

Powdermill Avian Research Center Open House

May 11, 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Join us for an Open House to celebrate the grand opening of our new bird banding laboratory! Powderm...
taxidermy coyote

History

Powdermill Nature Reserve was established by Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 1956 to serve as a field station for research on natural populations. General and Mrs. Richard K. Mellon and Dr. and Mrs. Alan M. Scaife presented 1,160 acres of land located about 3 miles south of Rector, Pennsylvania, for the use of Carnegie Museum of Natural History which was named “Powdermill Nature Reserve, a Research Station of Carnegie Museum.” Over the next several years, acreage was added to Powdermill Nature Reserve, and it now offers more than 2,200 acres of woodlands, streams, fields, and ponds for research and educational programs. Powdermill is home to the museum’s GIS lab, avian research center, and a new nature center with ecological exhibits.

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