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Berks Nature announced today that it was awarded an American Water Charitable Foundation 2024 Water and Environment grant to construct a vernal pool habitat on the Neversink Mountain Preserve. The project will serve multiple purposes for both Reading’s people and its wildlife.

Vernal pools are temporary wetland habitats that are typically wet in the spring but dry up by mid-summer. While these shallow pools are fleeting, they serve as the critical breeding grounds for many of our local beneficial insects and amphibians, including wood frogs and spotted salamanders.

Within the steep topography of Neversink Mountain, the proposed vernal pool will also assist with stormwater runoff and address erosion concerns. Stormwater directed towards the vernal pool will be naturally slowed, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground instead of rapidly flooding down the mountain’s slopes, which in turn benefits the wetland seeps and baseflow of nearby Klapperthal Creek, a direct tributary to the Schuylkill River.

Finally, thanks to a partnership between Berks Nature and Albright University, university students will regularly monitor the vernal pool collecting and analyzing data and gaining valuable training on monitoring tools to study this real-world, water quality and wildlife management solution.

“The promotion of biodiversity is something that Berks Nature continues to strive for,” said Jeremy Haymaker, Trails and Preserve Specialist for Berks Nature, “My hope is that this project can increase biodiversity, enhance storm water management, while simultaneously engaging and educating students from the local community.”

The Water and Environment grant is part of the American Water Charitable Foundation’s Keep Communities Flowing Grant Program. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established by American Water, the largest regulated water and wastewater utility company in the U.S., and aims to support high-impact projects and initiatives that further American Water’s commitment to ESG, as well as inclusion, diversity and equity.

“The American Water Charitable Foundation is committed to participating and investing in organizations and programs that benefit the diverse communities served by American Water,” said Carrie Williams, President, American Water Charitable Foundation. “We take pride and are proud to further American Water’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor and strong partner in the community.”
About the American Water Charitable Foundation

The American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to be a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. For more information, visit

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