The Mira Lloyd Dock Resource Conservation Center
The seven mountains region of central Pennsylvania, just south of State College, is home to a very special place: the Mira Lloyd Dock Resource Conservation Center, formerly known as Penn Nursery and Woodshop. Initially named after William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, the tree nursery was renamed in October of 2016 to honor environmentalist Mira, who was instrumental in the City Beautiful movement of the 1900s and in launching Mont Alto School of Forestry, as well as preserving nearly one million acres of state forest land.
In 1908, the nursery began in a potato patch behind forest ranger W.F. McKinney’s residence. The nursery was used to produce primarily conifer tree seedlings that would cover land stripped bare by the unsustainable timber practices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1950s, the nursery evolved into a source of thousands of seedlings for the beautification of Pennsylvania highways, and in later years the native conifers, hardwoods, and shrubs were used for reforestation projects on state forests and state parks.
Staff from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources coordinate the collection of seeds from state forest trees and orchards across the Commonwealth in order to preserve genetic diversity. This helps protect tree species from pests and diseases. Nursery staff are committed to ongoing research to develop trees that are resistant to illnesses such as beech bark disease, butternut canker, and others. They work closely with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring and Protection Programs, as well as universities from across the region, on such efforts.
In addition to the propagation of trees and shrubs, the nursery has a state-of-the-art sign and picnic table operation, the products of which are used within the state parks and state forests. All new tables produced at the center will bear a seal honoring Dock, the visionary environmentalist, and all other women working in the conservation field.