The Latest Creature Resident in Westtown Woods

A new fury friend has taken up residence along Westtown Lake.


T. Adam Salo

A beaver has recently taken up residence on Westtown Lake.

Moussa Dibassy, Editor

“I say that only because I noticed just last weekend that there were new trees that had been chewed on,” said Teacher Robert Frazier. “So I think beavers have to keep chewing on trees to keep their teeth from becoming too big. So it’s all year.”

For many faculty members, the beaver’s existence is a well known fact. Frazier, an avid outdoorsman, has become used to seeing signs of the beaver year-round. “It started over near the beaver lodge itself,’ Frazier said. “but now it is on both sides of the lake. Mostly on the east end of the lake.”

Westtown has fully transitioned into in-person learning, and students can finally rediscover the vast woods at their disposal. The Westtown woods are a place for fishing, hiking, barbecuing and ultimately serve as a space where students can truly unwind. It is important that Westtown doesn’t forget that the woods are also home to our elusive buck toothed friend. The half eaten trees and bark-less trunks remind us that the beaver never left.

As mentioned before, beaver sightings are still extremely rare. If you are lucky enough, you could find it going for a swim in Westtown Lake. 

Evidence of the beaver’s presence has been seen around the lake with trees and shrubs significantly gnawed on. (Joshua Ricci ’23)

“The first COVID summer, I was fishing off the dock at the boat house, and we saw it swimming out in the water. We didn’t know what it was at first,” recalled Teacher Josh Reilly. Reilly ran into a beaver during one of his frequent trips to the lake. He believes that, despite there being only one beaver, the animal has a significant relationship with our forest. 

“Beavers do help preserve it, right?” Reilly said. “Because they don’t go out and chew up the old growth. They chew the small things. They chew up the things that are going to grow underneath. I think beavers actually helped keep forests healthy.”

Chris Costa, director of outdoor education, agrees with Reilly. “I do think, anytime we have any kind of discovery of a new insect, plant, any aspect of the ecosystem, I think that’s good,” said Costa. “It’s increasing diversity, which is important for things to be healthy.”

For regular forest goers and occasional visitors alike, our untouched acres only expand upon the Westtown experience. The woods are a sanctuary that requires maintenance, and the beaver is  the animal that fills the job. 

“They’re really important in the ecosystem in Pennsylvania at large,’ said Costa.” I just feel like it’s kind of a gift that they’re here for us to learn from and observe.”