Craighead House

The Craighead house in South Middleton Township.

The Craighead House will host a day of activities this Saturday in celebration of two anniversaries in the life and legacy of Craighead twins John and Frank Jr.

The celebration is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the house, 318 Old York Road, South Middleton Township. Free parking is available on an adjacent lot.

2017 marks the 85th anniversary of the first hunting falcons trained by the brothers at their family’s summer home on the Yellow Breeches Creek. This year is also the 80th anniversary of their first article in National Geographic magazine, which documented how they trained the birds. The article helped to popularize falconry as a sport in the U.S.

Saturday’s event will focus on nature and the Craighead legacy. Scheduled activities include:

10:15 a.m.: Bird watching walk presented by the Appalachian Audubon Society

11 a.m. and 1 p.m.: A presentation by John Coyle on starting a fire with flint and steel

11 a.m. and 2 p.m.: Historic tours by Tom Benjey

11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.: A Monarch butterfly tagging program offered by the Appalachian Audubon Society.

Father/daughter falconers Sean and Margaret Young will conduct demonstrations with live hawks throughout the day. The Penn State master gardeners will present information on native plants and pollinators. The Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania will have information on air quality and pollution while representatives from the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association will be on hand to talk about water quality.

One goal of the event is to celebrate the twin brothers and their pioneering work in natural studies, said Lu Conser, a board member of the Craighead House Committee Corp., the nonprofit organization behind the effort to transform the 1886 home into an educational center on nature and local history.

“They had that excitement, commitment and passion for nature,” Conser said. The hope is the event and activities inspire the same kind of emotions among adults and children who come to the Craighead House.

She said organizers want children to learn an appreciation for the outdoors and, like the twins, find adventure in nature.

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