Spring 2011 Senior Internship

Preston Park, which is located in Butler, Pennsylvania, was originally used by Dr. Frank W. Preston as a research center for Dr. Preston’s glass research.  Dr. Preston was a renowned problem solver and a well known naturalist.  He was a forerunner with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and a collaborator for the creation of Moraine State Park.

The property was recently donated to the Butler Township by the late Mrs. Jane Preston.  The property consists of 90 acres and abuts an existing 100 acre township park known as Sawmill Run.  These two properties located in the center of the township provide an area for outdoor recreation and natural stewardship.  Preston Park also contains a number of rare plants native to Western Pennsylvania and foreign to the area.

Preston Park will open to the public on May 7th, 2011.  Upon opening the park, the public will have immediate access to hiking, biking and dog walking trails.  This new outdoor recreation area will significantly increase the usage of the Sawmill Run, the neighboring park.  During the winter months Sawmill Run is a popular spot for many winter activities and the added acreage at Preston Park will increase the number of participants partaking in cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sled riding,

Visitors will be able to appreciate the natural habitat by bird watching, catch and release fishing, and studying rare plant life which includes prairie grass and hybrid tree species.  Throughout the property there are many secluded and scenic areas for picnics and gatherings. 

In addition to the wide variety of natural resources, Preston Park also offers significant historical and cultural resources.  These include Dr. Preston’s glass research laboratory and a second story addition where the family resided.  This building and its artifacts, as well as the machine shop, office building, summer cabin, and garage, demonstrate how the Preston’s lived and worked.  His experiments were essential to American technological advances in the fields of glass manufacture and national defense, and this site will educate the residents of Butler about Dr. Preston’s contributions and a unique mid-century small business model.

This project has a lot of potential to become a key natural and cultural destination for the people of Butler Township and surrounding areas.  With a strong interest and support from community members, Preston Park holds a bright future.

During my internship I have been focusing mainly on the overall development of the park.  Some of my initial duties woudl consist of creating trail map for both Preston Park and Sawmill Run, overseeing the construction of an information board, planning a Grand Opening Celebration on May 7th, 2011, and much more.

Upon my completion of this project I will be creating a final report based on the progress made and the future of Preston Park.