Landenberg Life Spring/Summer 2017 Edition

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Spring/Summer p g 2017

Landenberg Life


Inside: • The timeless designs of Kate FitzGerald-Wilks • Rooted in faith: Landenberg United Methodist Church • Old-school printing in Landenberg

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Spring/Summer 2017

Landenberg Life Table of Contents 12 24 34 46 58 68 86 90 98

Rooted in faith Finding beauty in the old ways


The New Garden Township Historical Commission Q & A with Meghan Bell of Red Bell Farms Finding ‘forever’ homes for pets Interior designer Kate FitzGerald-Wilks Letting nature be the classroom

24 46

‘E’ is for elephant ‘We’re better together than apart’ Cover design by Tricia Hoadley Cover photograph by Jie Deng


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Landenberg residents making great contributions



Welcome to the spring issue of Landenberg Life. In this issue, we spotlight numerous Landenberg residents who are making great contributions to the world around them. One example: Landenberg native Jen Samuels has a passion for saving elephants. She started a nonprofit organization called Elephants DC that works to prevent the extinction of elephants. We spotlight the work of the New Garden Township Historical Commission, a group of dedicated citizens who work to protect, preserve, and celebrate the history of the area. We profile Lindsay Schmittle, who runs Gingerly Press, an old-fashioned printing business out of her parents’ garage. Schmittle is hiking along the Appalachian Trail, where she is looking for inspiration for future graphic arts work. We feature a story about “Drop In On Nature,” a program offered by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. In this preschool program, children spend one or two mornings a week on a private, seven-acre property in Kennett Township known at the Bucktoe Preserve Annex. In the Q & A, we talk to Meghan Bell, who owns Red Bell Farms with her husband, Kevin. We talk to Meghan about how her love of horses led them to start boarding horses and providing event training and riding lessons on the farm. We also look at the history and deep roots of Landenberg’s United Methodist Church, a house of worship that dates back 170 years and is as important as ever to the community. We also profile Interior designer Kate FitsGerald-Wilks. We hope that you enjoy this issue of Landenberg Life. While the title of the magazine has changed slightly from the one that was used for the first ten years of its life, we still have the same commitment to bring you the best stories about the Landenberg community. You can now find more stories about Landenberg and the other communities in our coverage area at We always welcome your comments and suggestions for future stories, and we look forward to presenting the next issue of Landenberg Life in the fall. Sincerely, Randy Lieberman, Publisher, 610-869-5553 Steve Hoffman, Editor, 610-869-5553, ext. 13

Cover design: Tricia Hoadley - Cover photo: Robert Smagala, Jr. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


————|Landenberg Life History|————

Photo by Natalie Smith

From left: Lydia Akerman, the Rev. Hu Ju Lee and Alma Rigler look over scrapbooks Alma Rigler compiled over the years chronicling the Landenberg UMC’s history.

Courtesy of Alma Rigler

A photo of 10-year-old Alma Hendrickson, sitting on the steps of the church, circa 1937. This photo was among the many items collected and exhibited by Alma Hendrickson Rigler in her scrapbooks detailing the history of Landenberg Church. 12

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Rooted in faith

Landenberg United Methodist house of worship is 170 years old By Natalie Smith Staff Writer


he roots of the United Methodist Church run deep under the village of Landenberg. “It’s home to me. It’s my home church,” said lifelong church member and Landenberg resident Alma Rigler. When the church was first planned 170 years ago, this peaceful and scenic area along the White Clay Creek was known as Chandlerville, named after the mill owned by local manufacturer Joseph Ripka. Peter Hart, a mill manager, was the driving force behind the establishment of the church. Inspired by a Methodist evangelist, the Rev. Henry S. King, in 1847, Hart and other founding members collected $112.75 in anticipation of the $800 they reckoned building the structure would cost. Continued on page 14

Courtesy of Landenberg United Methodist Church

To pay for improvements to the thenLandenberg Methodist Episcopal Church parsonage in 1915, including the installation of electric lights and a new bathroom, $1 shares of stock were sold. The money raised also paid off the mortgage of $400. The stock was redeemed in 1999 during the Grand Jubilee get-together. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


United Methodist Church Continued from Page 13

‘I feel so blessed.’ – Hun Ju Lee, pastor of Landenberg UMC On donated land behind the woolen mill, the church forefathers spent many nights hauling quarried stones to the lot, and in 1848, they had constructed a plain and modest building in agreement with the Methodist Church tenets, according to a 1987 history of the church compiled and revised by member Ann Hagerty for its 140th anniversary. The church members at the time were likely the mill workers, local farmers and area artisans. Membership would ebb and flow, probably tied to the success of the mills, but there were apparently stalwarts who attended and kept the church going. Some 10 years after being built, with Ripka’s mills thriving, so did the church. Around 1864, Martin Landenberger purchased Ripka’s Chandlerville and Fisher’s mills in neighboring Laurel, and the booming economy made for Continued on page 16

Photo by Richard L. Gaw

The Rev. Hun Ju Lee.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |




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United Methodist Church Continued from Page 14

an even more vigorous church membership. But again, as the fates of the mills varied, so did church attendance, a pattern that seemed to continue until the mills’ closures in 1913 and 1914. As the years passed, many changes came to the “Church by the Side of the Stream.” Sunday School – a tradition that continues to this day – was offered as early as 1871, if not before. An influx of members in 1879 necessitated an enlargement, and later a bell was added to the steeple. A parsonage was built in 1902. The church and parsonage received many repairs over the years, much of it paid for through the faith, determination and resourcefulness of the many pastors and church members. In 1953, after large efforts had been made to raise money for and erect an addition in which to hold Sunday School classes, a Dec. 16 fire caused by suspected faulty wiring destroyed the church, leaving behind just four walls. Fortunately, the new annex was spared, and Continued on page 18

‘I’ve got such love of community and love for the people of this church.’ Lydia Akerman, longtime church member

Photo by Natalie Smith

The 170-year-old Landenberg United Methodist Church was founded when the area was known as Chandlerville.

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United Methodist Church Continued from Page 16

services were temporarily held there. But again, generosity and resolution led to the building of a new church a year later in the same spot. In 1965, another addition was finished, to house a pastor’s study, records room and church school room. The lives of some of today’s worshippers have been intrinsically linked to the community that’s always been their home. Attending Sunday School and services played a big part in the life of Alma Hendrickson Rigler for almost as long as she can remember. Alma, who joked she and her family have lived in Landenberg “forever,” said she has long and fond memories of belonging to Landenberg UMC. “I started coming to the church when I was 3, with my grandmother,” Alma said, “and I’m going to be 90 in June.” Her grandmother, Emily Hendrickson, “was really dedicated to the church,” she said. Alma herself started with Sunday nursery, primary and senior

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One of the teddy bears that sits in the church during services, then is given away. They wear tags that read, ‘This special bear worshipped with us at Landenberg church. It has heard our Scriptures, prayers, songs and sermons. Our congregation has loved it and now it comes to you with our blessings. It brings prayers of love, peace and joy to you today and always.’

classes, leading up to going to church services as a young woman. She recalled her Sunday primary teacher, May Bryan, a woman who was very active in the church for many years.

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Continued on page 20

United Methodist Church Continued from Page 18

“She was quite a lady,” Alma said of her teacher. She also said that George Holton, who had been superintendent of the Sunday School and who held many positions in the church, was a positive influence on her life and lives of many others. Alma married her now-late husband Earl Rigler, Sr., in 1949. The Riglers had two children, Earl Jr. and Michael, who died in 2013. Earl and Alma were married “in the old church before it burned down,” she said. The destruction of the old church, “was just devastating to the congregation,” she said. Alma grew up with Earl, who was also a native Landenberger. “We used to ride bicycles together,” she said with a laugh. They shared “67 wonderful years together.” Her job with the American Mushroom Institute satisfied any wanderlust she may have had. Until retiring after 37


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

years, her position as assistant director of that organization had her traveling nationally and even internationally for conferences. But she was always happy to return to her home and church. Lydia Richardson Akerman is another lifelong Landenberger. All three of her sisters still live there. “My kid sister lives across from me,” she said. Of course, the connections continue. Both Alma’s and Lydia’s families eventually became neighbors, with Alma becoming good friends with Lydia’s sister, Mary. (Lydia admits to being the somewhat pesky little sister, 14 years younger.) Her father owned Richardson’s Garage, which was where her grandfather’s blacksmith shop used to be. She worked for NVF in Yorklyn, Del., retiring after 48 years when it closed in 2007. Lydia also married a local boy. She’s been married to William “Bill” Akerman for 56 years. Their son,

William Maurice, who also goes by Bill, lives very close to them. “We gave him property to do with what he wanted. He stayed,” she said. Although she said her husband’s family always attended the Landenberg UMC and Lydia attended Sunday School, her embracing the Lord and baptism came later, when she was 30. Lydia expressed what belonging to the church meant to her. “Landenberg Church Continued on page 22

‘I started coming to the church when I was 3, with my grandmother.’ -- Alma Rigler, who will turn 90 in June

Courtesy of Alma Rigler

Lifelong Landenberg resident and UMC member Alma Hendrickson Rigler has created scrapbooks containing historical highlights about the church. This page from one of her books displays cards that children used to receive at Sunday School. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


United Methodist Church Continued from Page 21

is, and has been, much more than just the building. The church is, and has always been, the people, who faithfully gather to praise and thank our beloved Creator God for His good news. “The church has been, and always will be, a place where one comes to be restored and renewed in spirit, soul and body. A place of acceptance, a place of love, and place where hands are raised in praise to God and where hands are stretched out to all people in need. “Throughout these 170 years, God’s people have formed loving relationships with one another, through prayer, encouragement, standing together in death and in joy, helping in times of devastation and rebuilding.” Since coming to the church, Lydia has held every position possible for a layperson. She ticked off some of them: Sunday School teacher, superintendent and chairman of the trustees. But she said her “greatest title” among the congregation is “The Gum Lady.” “I give out gum to all the kids. I check with their parents first, of course,” she said with a smile. Lydia even


Image courtesy Alma Rigler

A picture of the ‘old church.’ An electrical fire destroyed it in 1953, but it was rebuilt the following year.

received a wedding invitation addressed to, “Mr. William Akerman and Gum Lady,” from one of the students she’d taught in Sunday School. “I’ve got such love of community and love for the people of this church,” she said.

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Hun Ju Lee is the latest in a long line of pastors who have led the Landenberg United Methodist Church. When he was assigned to the church in 2011, he said he was greeted literally with open arms, receiving a big hug upon meeting Lydia Akerman. The warmth and openhearted spirit with which Lee and his wife Jessica, along with children Brian and Grace, were welcomed left an impression on the pastor. “I felt so blessed,” he said. “No more and no less than that.” The South Korean native’s original plan was to study in the U.S and then “go back home to teach or have a ministry and teach. But God guided me to [something] totally different,” he said. He received his master of divinity degree from Drew University in New Jersey in 2005, then graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a degree in Christian education. Lee served as pastor at two churches in Delaware County before arriving in Landenberg. In his seven years in Landenberg, the Rev. Lee said he is continually impressed by the connections between members and their long affiliations with the church. And although the church now probably has non-natives and native members in equal number, Alma Rigler summed up why those connections remain so strong. “People never want to leave,” she said. Natalie Smith may be contacted at DoubleSMedia@

Photo by Natalie Smith

The altar at the church. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


—————|Landenberg | g Life Arts|————— |

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Lindsay Schmittle is hiking the Appalachian Trail as inspiration for her old-school printing business By John Chambless Staff Writer

L To prepare for her current trek along the Appalachian Trail, Schmittle took practice hikes, like this one to the top of Long’s Peak.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

indsay Schmittle clearly remembers the moment she fell in love with the oldfashioned way of putting words into print. She was a visual communications major at the University of Delaware, and one day, she walked into the mostly abandoned print studio. “It was a big studio, with a ton of type in cases, and the first thing that overwhelmed me was the smell,” she recalled. “The ink, and the musty smell. I wondered, ‘How does this all work?’”

—————|Landenberg Life|—————


Continued from Page 25

Continued on page 25

Photo by Girl Photography

Lindsay Schmittle with one of her printing presses at her Landenberg studio. At left, one of her images documenting a memorable moment on a hike.

While her fellow students were devoted to producing type and graphics projects on their computers, Schmittle was fascinated with how the individual metal letters could be lined up, how the hands-on nature of letterpress put her in touch with the design itself, and with how muscle power entered into the process of making art. She also thought of all the ways the metal letters had been used in decades – or centuries – past. Graduating in 2013, she moved her studio into the garage of her parents’ home in Landenberg, opening Gingerly Press, named both for her ginger-colored

hair and the painstaking way she works. “My mom’s a computer science professor at the University of Delaware, my dad is a chemistry teacher at Wilmington Friends,” she said. “My mom does all sorts of crafts, though, and my dad has done photography and woodworking, so they both have a creative side to them. My sister is a dietitian, and my brother is going into robotics. I’m kind of the oddball artist in a family of scientists.” Today, Gingerly Press occupies half a garage, outfitted with hulking cast-iron presses and other Continued on page 26 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Lindsay Schmittle Continued from Page 25

equipment from around the turn of the century. In the room, and nearby in what used to be a rec room at her parents’ house, are tray after tray brimming with meticulously arranged metal type and graphic elements. Once a vital part of publishing everything from broadsides to newspapers to official documents, the equipment became surplus junk as typesetting modernized, but has found a niche among people like Schmittle, who are drawn to its tactile nature. “It’s a slow process, but there’s a market for it,” she said. “It’s kind of like building a sculpture and taking a print of it. I loved Legos when I was a kid, putting things together. There’s math to it as well, because of all the point sizes and the spacing. It’s like a big puzzle for me, which is fun.” The first of what Schmittle calls her “old man friends” was a former pressman, Henry Morris of Newtown Square, who was working as a printer of specialty books


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

and ended up selling Schmittle some of his old printing equipment. Old presses like the ones at Gingerly Press were once sold for scrap, and replacement parts are a do-it-yourself affair. “The motor for this press burned out,” she said, pointing to one of the more recent pieces of equipment. “It took about six months to fix. There is no replacement motor anymore. I had to get friendly with the mechanic to put on another motor and pulley system. We basically adapted a motor to fit it. “I try to save this equipment as a way of continuing this tradition,” she said. “This piece of equipment was orange with rust. It took three days to clean with steel wool and mineral spirits to make it useable again. But if you do that once, and you take care of it, you don’t have to do that again.” Schmittle has an encyclopedic knowledge of the names Continued on page 28


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Lindsay Schmittle Continued from Page 26

of obscure typefaces, including some that have been lost to time. “A lot of faces are not computerized,” she said, so she scours online forums and blogs to find designs she likes. There are companies that will cast new letters for her, she said, but some collectors hoard the only examples of the molds for vanished typefaces to keep them rare and out of circulation. And then there are the simple ravages of time, resulting in a white corrosion that coats old letters that have not been properly cared for, eventually dissolving them. Given the antique nature of her materials, Schmittle’s designs are up-to-the-second fresh and dynamic, reflecting her keen eye for what makes an attractive design. Clean, modern and distinctive, her printed projects and art prints are shining examples of melding old and new.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

With a loyal group of friends and customers, Schmittle has launched her biggest project to date, “The Printed Walk: Georgia to Maine.” Beginning on March 24, she has been walking the whole 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, beginning in Georgia and aiming for completion in late August or early September. For each 100 miles she walks, she is creating a print documenting her experiences. A Kickstarter campaign she opened last year reached its goal early and raised almost $17,000 to fund the project. Donors will get a range of gifts in return, from small, hand-printed notebooks to sets of art prints. Schmittle has plans for a touring exhibition of the whole series of 22 prints, which she estimates will fill about 25 feet of gallery wall somewhere. But first she has to Continued on page 30

Lindsay Schmittle Continued from Page 28

complete the grueling hike, with no plans to return home along the way. She has plenty of experience. “My dad is a Boy Scout leader, and he is an Eagle Scout, and my brother is also an Eagle Scout, and most of our family vacations were to national parks, where we’d go hiking for most of the time,” Schmittle said. “We’ve gone to the Caribbean for vacations, too, but we stay in town with the locals and then go hike the trails. ... Three years ago, I got the idea for the Appalachian Trail. My family was on vacation in Yosemite National Park and we did a lot of hiking. I was reading the book ‘Wild,’ which is kind of about what not to do,” she said, laughing. “But it did give me the idea of through-hiking and controlling my own schedule every day. I started making a list of the gear and what I’d need.” In the summer of 2015, she and her brother had a


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

practice through-hike of Vermont’s Long Trail for 19 days as a test run for the Appalachian Trail. On the trail, “you hit a town every three to four days,” she said. “Some towns you hike right through, some you have to hitch a ride to get to, or walk a mile or so to get there. I’ll probably stop in a town at least once a week to shower and stock up on food.” While she has all the necessary equipment and the mental fortitude for the trek, Schmittle said that she decided to do the trip now because she doesn’t have the expense of a home or studio rental, and is young enough to take the months required. “All the books I read have said it’s 99 percent mental and 1 percent physical,” she said. “You’re waking up every day and doing nearly the same thing, hiking 15 to 20 miles. You go through rain in the springtime. There were definitely some low

points on the Long Trail in Vermont with my brother, when we would just be hiking through rainstorms, crying while hiking. But the lows make the highs that much higher. When you’re at camp and you’ve got dry socks and a pot of mac-andcheese in front of you, you’re on top of the world.” Schmittle has documented her other hikes in her art, with designs that function both as abstracts and as exquisite graphics that distill the experiences. Slanting blocks of color become the mountainsides, and tiny triangles serve as pine trees or tents. Circular designs suggest the sun. On the back of the prints she will be designing during the Appalachian Trail hike, she will note her exact location and include some well-chosen words about the experience at each point in the trip. The combination of art and technical information will appeal to

both art lovers and hiking enthusiasts. “Over the last year, I’ve been trying to make my brand more outdoors-based,” she said. “This project hopefully will draw more attention from like-minded, outdoorsy people.” While on the trail, Schmittle said it will “be a blessing, in some ways” to be out of touch with the political turmoil that’s consuming the daily news feed. She also hopes to bring attention to the outdoors and the importance of national parks, which have been under fire from the Trump administration. On a previous trip, she picked up a piece of fallen bark in the forest and carried it in her backpack for 200 miles, eventually making prints from the piece in her artwork. “I really like that it could be just an abstract, or people could see the wood grain, or see the tents or the trees,” she said. Continued on page 32 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Lindsay Schmittle Continued from Page 31

in the winter, everybody describes it as gray and gloomy, whereas I’m looking at the tiny bits of mushrooms and grass and those bright pops of color,” she said. “I see different colors in things like bark – it has purples and golds in it. I think the way I see things is colors within colors.” After the hike, Schmittle will be consumed by months of printing and creating the 22 trail designs to present to backers, as well as her gallery show. She is also looking forward to using the hike as a springboard to move out of her parents’ garage and hopefully set up her own studio and shop front in Asheville, N.C., which has a thriving arts community. “There’s a great music scene, but the mountains are what drew me there,” she said. “I wanted to be on the


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

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Since setting metal type means that each letter has to be inserted into a composing stick upside down, Schmittle has learned to read that way. She also has color synesthesia, “which means that every letter and number in your head is innately colored,” she said. “So the letter J, for instance, is yellowy-orange. That’s just the color I see J as. It really helped with memorization back in college. I remember one day my roommate asked me what my favorite number was, and I said 3. She asked why, and I said, ‘Because of the color. It’s like a gingery orange color.’ I just assumed everybody had their own color sets for things.” That visual ability gives her graphics a distinctive look that is immediately appealing. “When I’m out on hikes

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East Coast because I’m really close to my family, so I wanted to be able to come back after a day’s drive. But I’d like to get out of the garage,” she said, laughing. For more information, or updates on Schmittle’s trek, visit, and follow @gingerlypress on Instagram. To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

Photo by Girl Photography

The graphic tools of Gingerly Press are made of wood and metal, and burnished by the years. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


—————|Landenberg History|—————

Photo by Steven Hoffman

Members of the New Garden Township Historical Commission....Dr. Peg Jones, Joan Bonnage Proscino, Elizabeth Norton, Charles Norton, Michael Leja, Brian Roberts, Ted Christie, and Pownall Jones.

Group protects, preserves and celebrates New Garden Township’s history 34

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Courtesy photo

The Landenberg Bridge when it reopened in 2010.

By Steven Hoffman Staff Writer


n a Monday afternoon in January, a group of New Garden Township Historical Commission members gathered at the township building to take down the “Then and Now” showcase exhibit consisting of 22 pairs of photographs that illustrate how New Garden Township has changed in the past fifty years. The Historical Commission members spent part of the day planning for the 2017 exhibit, “New Garden’s Historic Houses of Worship.” This is just one of the many activities and initiatives that they will be working on in 2017. For the Historical Commission members, all volunteers, the work of protecting, preserving, and celebrating the township’s history is a labor of love. “My reason for doing this,” Dr. Peg Jones explained, “is that I care, from the center of my being, about being able to maintain the past. When an old house goes down, I weep.” Continued on page 36 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Historical Commission Continued from Page 35

The New Garden Township Historical Commission originally formed in 1992, and while Jones wasn’t an original member of the commission, she came on just a few years later, and has been the driving force ever since. She served as the chair of the historical commission for 16 years before taking on the role of historian. Today, the New Garden Township Historical Commission includes chairman Brian Roberts, secretary Charles Horton, treasurer Elizabeth Horton, members Ted Christie, David Hawk, Jones, Michael Leja, Lynn Sinclair, and associate members Marilyn Becker, Joan Bonnage Proscino, Pownall Jones, Chris Robinson, Carolyn Roland, and Mary Sproat. They all share a commitment to protecting New Garden Township’s history. The group has been described as a family by at least one official from Chester County. “There’s a lot of camaraderie here,” Jones said of the Historical Commission members. They are united by a purpose, fulfilling the mission of


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

the Historical Commission as explained by the township’s adoption of the Historic Preservation Ordinance: to protect historic resources in New Garden Township; to identify all buildings and structures which are important to the culture, history, and tradition to the residents of the township; to establish a process by which proposed changes or demolition affecting historic resources are reviewed by both the Historical Commission and the Board of Supervisors; and to encourage the continued use and preservation of historic resources consistent with preserving the historic character of those resources and to facilitate their appropriate reuse. The projects, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the Historical Commission are varied. “We have done so many things over the years,” Jones explained. The project that Historical Commission members spent the most time on was protecting the future of the Landenberg Bridge. The bridge was originally built

in 1899 and carried traffic across the east branch of the White Clay Creek for a century. Then, in the summer of 1999, PennDOT inspectors ordered the bridge closed after a routine inspection found structural deterioration. The Historical Commission did not support a plan to replace the bridge with a modern, concrete bridge that would be built according to the one-size-fits-all guidelines of PennDOT. Historical Commission members and many local residents favored restoring the historic bridge over replacing it completely with a modern structure because of its historical characteristics. The Landenberg Bridge’s stone abutments were built in 1871 for the previous bridge at the site. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. It earned the designation for its engineering significance—both for the cantilevered sidewalk and for being a Pratt pony truss bridge, an unusual style in this part of the state. Jones explained that David Hawk, an Historical

Commission member and an engineer, carefully documented the bridge and the Historical Commission formally petitioned PennDOT to restore the bridge, rather than replacing it. Jones explained, “The task for the Historical Commission was to persuade the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors to accept responsibility for the maintenance of a restored bridge. Not only did we lobby, but we held a Landenberg Day attended by several thousand people.” The Landenberg Day celebration focused a spotlight on the historic houses in the village of Landenberg, and promoted the importance of the textile milling industry. Shortly after the event, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain the bridge if it were restored. The bridge underwent extensive renovations, including new concrete and steel underpinnings, but it looks very much like it did on the day that it was first put Continued on page 38 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Historical Commission Continued from Page 37

in place over the White Clay Creek. The width of the bridge increased by just six inches, and it will now serve the community’s needs for 100 years. Once the bridge reopened to traffic, a Landenberg Bridge Day was staged to celebrate an important part of local history. “It was great fun,” Jones explained. Another project that the Historical Commission took on involved two cemeteries in the township that belong to the Friends Meeting. The New Garden Historical Commission compiled lists of people buried in both cemeteries. The Upper Cemetery—the larger of the two, with approximately 1,750 headstones, has been in use since the early eighteenth century when the original Friends Meeting was established. The Lower Cemetery, with approximately 200 headstones, was established in the mid-nineteenth century when the Friends in the Philadelphia area divided into two factions—Hicksite and Orthodox. In New Garden, most of the Quakers aligned with the Hicksites, and

continued to occupy the original and larger Friends Meeting House. Although the older cemetery dates back to the early 1800s, members haven’t been able to find comprehensive records of burials prior to the 1830s, and only a half dozen burials prior to 1830 have been documented. The Historical Commission members were able to compile a list of burials in the Upper Cemetery that is alphabetized by surname. Software was used to help locate a particular burial location in the cemetery. Additionally, a list of burials alphabetized by surname and a list of burials in row order have been developed for the Lower Cemetery. The interactive map and the list of burials in row order may provide some clues for family relationships when burials are in the same vicinity. All the information was digitalized and is available on the Historical Commission’s website. The Historical Commission and New Garden Township worked collaboratively with the University of Delaware’s Center for Architectural Design on a two-year grant fellowship that allowed the architecture of 30 historically

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important houses to be studied and documented. New Garden Township has a long history, and Jones pointed out that the oldest house in the township was constructed around 1730, and two other homes were built around 1750. There were a number of houses built between 1750 and 1800. Jeroen van den Hurk, Ph.D., brought in students to document the architectural history of 30 old houses. “We chose houses that were significant in some way,” Jones explained. “I researched all 30 families that owned the houses so that we would know something about them, too.” Continued on page 40

Photo by Steven Hoffman

Ted Christie, Dr. Peg Jones, and Brian Roberts have all served as chairpersons of the Historical Commission. Roberts is the current chairman.


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Historical Commission Continued from Page 39

Roberts said that the Historical Commission is well aware of the need to help protect and preserve the history of some of the historic houses in New Garden Township. “I feel that there a lot of houses in the township that matter,” he explained. The township has seen both residential and commercial growth during the last twenty or so years, and some of the older houses have certainly been lost during that time as a result. But the Historical Commission’s members have worked tirelessly to protect and preserve as much of the township’s history as possible. The Historical Commission surveyed the houses in the township which were built prior to 1950. From this group of houses, one hundred were identified as important historic resources, and the list was attached to a Preservation Ordinance that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors. One function of the ordinance is to prevent any house from being demolished by neglect, while also giving the Historical Commission


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

the responsibility of counseling any homeowner about proposed changes to one of these houses. Another project that the Historical Commission worked on was the preservation of the Lamborn House, a farmhouse located in the township park, which was originally built in 1816. The house sat vacant for more than two decades as local officials tried to decide a good use for it. “We thought that it should not suffer demolition by neglect,” Jones said. The township provided about $50,000 in funding to start the renovation process to make the Lamborn house livable. A new kitchen roof, new windows, and exterior stucco made the house secure from the weather. Then the Historical Commission members volunteered their own services to clean, scrape, and paint the house. “We volunteered to renovate that house so that it could be rented,” Jones said, explaining that it took about 300 hours of the volunteers’ time collectively

to get the job done. Since the house is now able to be rented out, the township is now able to recoup some of the $50,000 investment. The New Garden Historical Commission also initiated History Nights that celebrate various aspects of the township’s history—the stations of the Underground Railroad that were located in the township, for example, or the history of the Lamborn family who owned Continued on page 42

Photo by Steven Hoffman

A flour barrel stencil from the last operating mill along the White Clay Creek. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Historical Commission Continued from Page 41

the property where the township park is situated. The Historical Commission also gives out Preservation Awards to people who make improvements to historic houses that are true to the home’s history. “We appreciate their care for our historical resources,” Roberts said. The Commission also planned and executed the 300th anniversary of the township in 2014. Historical Commission member Chris Robinson did the research necessary to establish the date when New Garden Township was first officially established—1714. The celebration to mark the township’s 300th anniversary included a festival in the park, speeches by elected officials and local dignitaries, a recital of the township’s history, tree planting, food and music. Jones also wrote author Keith Craig’s book about the history of New Garden Township, “New Garden Township,” which was part of the Images of America series. Many of the photos used in the book came from the Historical Commission’s files. Jones helped write


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

some of the information in the book, and Bonnage Proscino served as a copy editor. The book is sold at various township events, and is always available for purchase in the township building. The Historical Commission also oversaw an effort to make the out-of-print book, “Once Upon a Time in New Garden Township” by Ann Hagerty available digitally. A digitalized version of the book is available on the Historical Commission’s website. The Historical Commission also had a New Garden Township map from 1863 restored and framed so that it can be displayed in the township building. “It’s a typical map that would have been displayed in a one-room school,” Jones explained. Joan Bonnage Proscino has taken the lead in maintaining the Historical Commission’s Facebook page. “The goal is to make anyone who saw it aware of our group and what we do in the township,” she explained. “We have a lot of new residents and one of the goals is to inform them about the history of the township.”

The Historical Commission members have no interest in resting on the group’s past accomplishments. “Our main concern for this year,” explained Roberts, “is the Lyceum Hall and its preservation.” Lyceum Hall dates back to some time around 1850, and served as a community center, a school, and a station on the Underground Railroad during its history. The building was stabilized and refurbished and moved from its location along Route 41 to the park in 2012. It was sited on a grade that will allow for a strong foundation. This created space for a multipurpose room for park activities. The Historical Commission

is awaiting an historical analysis before beginning to restore the building so that it can once again be a community center, Jones said. “We plan to renovate it as a meeting room and small museum,” Jones explained. The Historical Commission is always looking for people to join the effort, people who are interested in learning about and preserving the history of the township. The Historical Commission meets regularly on the first Wednesday of every month. To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email

For more information about the New Garden Township Historical Commission, visit its Facebook page or | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING • INSTALLATION • MAINTENANCE • SERVICE Alan Sinton arrived in Philadelphia from Northern Ireland in 1953. He quickly put a plan into action to work hard to earn enough money to settle and have his wife, Mary, and four children follow from Ireland in 1954. Alan worked as a mechanical and electrical tradesman in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern New Castle County, Delaware. “Irish” as he was known by, used his friendly demeanor and work ethic to forge many relationships in the area. By 1970, Alan had saved enough to open his own business, Alan Sinton, Ltd. Once his new company was formed, Alan continued to grow his electrical, heating and air conditioning business and by the late 1970s, Alan Sinton, Ltd was a local leader in HVAC services. In 1989, Alan decided to retire, and his sons Robert and Billy took over ownership of the company, and continued to grow the reputation of his company. Robert and Billy renamed the company Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. and planned to focus solely on residential heating and cooling. In December of 1995 the business relocated to its current location in Kennett Square, Pa. And Billy Sinton took the helm as sole owner. In 2004, Billy’s Army National Guard Unit was called to duty. As a Reserve helicopter pilot, his unit was going to be activated and would be deployed to Iraq. Flying a Blackhawk helicopter was Billy’s other passion and now his country needed him, too. Returning to Kennett Square in December of 2005, Billy found a different climate. Many of his Army unit friends who were deployed had small businesses that were closed while they were on active duty. Billy returned to find his business still running strong, a testament to his brother in-law, Martin Gorman’s leadership as the general manager and the employees’ hard work and dedication. While Billy was in Iraq, a significant amount of customers were now inquiring about geothermal systems. 44

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Geothermal was nothing new to the business, but only amounted to 5 to 7 percent of the yearly installation business. For over 20 years, many installations were completed for local engineers and leaders in the technology industries who recognized all of the benefits of geothermal systems. The company had been accredited by the International Geothermal Source Heat Pump Association in 1994, and were the first in the area to receive such recognition. In addition to standard heating and cooling systems, 2006 was a banner year for the installation of geothermal heat pumps. Keeping up with the steady increase of inquiries was and still is quite an exciting opportunity. Despite the great demand for geothermal systems, the company is determined to use a thorough and proper approach for every customer, and avoid using a “rule of thumb” which is so prevalent in the HVAC industry. At Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating, you can expect a design and installation process that is carefully calculated and precisely executed. This perseverance has positioned them as the preeminent leader in residential and light commercial geothermal installations in the region. Unchanged since 1970, the cornerstone of the business is protecting the concept of properly designing, specifying and installing heating and cooling systems. The company differentiates itself by following the A through Z concept of evaluation through completion. Sinton Air is committed to maintaining the steadfast reputation and providing the longest-lasting, energy efficient comfort systems available for homes and businesses. Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. Is a proud sponsor of, KAPRB (Kennett Area Parks and Recreation Board) Kennett Run Charities, Inc. - The KAU Little League - The SCCSA (Southern Chester County Soccer Association) - Kennett High School Demon Robotics - The Kennett High School Scholarship Fund and many other community organizations.

—————|Landenberg Life Q&A|—————

Q&A Meghan Bell of Red Bell Farms Meghan and Kevin Bell are the owners of Red Bell Farms in Landenberg. Landenberg Life caught up with Meghan to talk about how the couple came to live on a farm in Landenberg, and how her love of horses led them to start boarding horses and providing event training and riding lessons on the farm.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Q: You established Red Bell Farms in the summer of 2015. Tell us about what led to the decision. Did you always plan to have a farm? Bell: Owning a horse farm was a dream of mine since I was a little kid. It’s something that got put on hold, because of my career as a physician assistant, but when my work situation changed in 2014, I decided to make the dream a reality. It was a big leap of faith to move from a neighborhood to 11 acres, but it has been worth it. What did you like about the Flint Hill Road property that made you and your husband decide this was the place for you? I had actually seen the property years before when I was looking for a place to board the horse I had at the time. When I saw the ad pop up online, I knew I had to go see it ASAP! I knew it was the place for us the second we started down the long driveway. It just felt like home before it was even ours. The property is gorgeous, set a mile back from the road, and we are surrounded by farmland and a golf course. It’s so easy to picture Kasey, our daughter, growing up here and possibly running the boarding business herself one day. We weren’t the only family to put a bid in on this property, but the

Meghan Bell said that owning a farm with her husband was a dream come true.

homeowners told us later it was the letter we wrote about how it was going to be a family farm that got passed down to Kasey that really moved them to accept our offer. Meghan, tell us about your love of horses. I have always loved animals. I begged for a pony for Christmas every year, even before I started riding. My mom got me a week of summer camp the year I Continued on page 48 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Q&A Continued from Page 47

turned 8 for my birthday, and I never looked back! I went from camp, to lessons, to showing and then volunteering around the barn, to teaching lessons and managing a barn during college. There’s something about the connection between horse and rider that separates equestrian sports from the rest of the sporting world. Plus, there is nothing like the feeling when you nail a dressage move you have been working on for weeks, or when you complete a stadium course with no rails down, or when you get done flying around cross country. It’s the trust and partnership between horse and rider that make it special and exciting. You board horses at the farm. What are some of the services that you offer? We are a full-service boarding facility offering both full care, and field care board for horses. We have a large sand ring with lights for riding year-round, and we are a short hack to Fair Hill and White Clay Creek, so there are miles and miles of trail riding. We offer training and lessons as well as horse shows on


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

the property. We also have a small therapeutic riding program. We offer other services as well, including photography sessions, small parties, and we are thinking about offering yoga. How many horses do you have on the farm? I have three personal horses. My 8-year-old off the track thoroughbred Symphonic Hero, who is also known as “Stark,” my daughter’s pony, Blue Suede Shoes, who is known as “Elvis,” and a six-year-old off the track thoroughbred Street Warrior known as “Roo.” Both Stark and Roo are getting a second career as eventers. Stark will remain my personal horse, hopefully for years, while Roo is currently for sale. They both have so much talent! I can’t wait to see where their careers go. Elvis is a saint of a pony. He is currently teaching one of my advanced students the ropes in the show ring, but he is also used in our small therapy program. In total there are nine horses on the property. We also have four chickens, three goats, a dog and a cat.

Tell us about the riding program. We offer beginner to intermediate riding lessons on the farm. For our boarders that are advanced riders, we allow outside trainers to come use the ring as well. We are eventing based, all my students learn dressage basics. We trailer to local horse trials and jumper shows. But we also go to local hunter shows. I think it’s important to be a wellrounded rider. There is something to learn from every discipline. I also have a handful of therapy students. They are so much fun! Can you talk a little about the therapeutic riding lessons that you offer? I didn’t set out to start a therapeutic program when we first came to the farm. It kind of happened as an amazing accident. It’s a long story, but I love working with these amazing kids! We are slowly taking new students in this program, especially now that the weather is getting nicer. Elvis loves to teach and he is so good with kids of all ages and abilities.

These kids have so much to offer, and they learn so fast. They also love every bit of the process. You don’t have to argue with them to groom the horses, they may get easily distracted, but they are having a blast, whether we are riding or just walking the horse on the lead line. There is something to be learned about ourselves from that. It’s so nice to slow down and reexperience they joy of just loving a horse. Besides, the farm, what is your favorite spot in Landenberg? My parents’ house in Somerset Lake. We go every Sunday for a big family dinner, which can include just my sisters and I and our families, or cousins, aunts and uncles, and family friends. What three dinner guests, living or dead, would you invite to dine with you? Only three? There are two ghosts that live in the house, and possibly one in the barn. It would be really cool to Continued on page 50

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Q&A Continued from Page 49

meet them. I would love to hear stories about the farm from the late 1800s. I know that there used to be cattle and goats here. There’s so much history in our area, wouldn’t it be cool to know if any historical figures had ever stopped by for dinner or to spend the night? I would also love to have my grandparents. It would be amazing to make homemade raviolis with my dad’s mom in our farm kitchen and have a huge family dinner, old farm style, in our big dining room. I think they would be so proud, not only of me for following my dreams, but of my parents for helping their kids get as far in life as we have. Plus, Kasey is such a joy, I could see her grabbing their hands and taking them to see her pony and chase the chickens around. What food is always in your refrigerator? Eggs and hot sauce! Our girls keep us supplied with fresh eggs and we always have a cabinet full of hot sauce. We have a big garden, including apple trees, too, so in the summer we always have fresh fruit and veggies. How can people contact Red Bell Farms? We have a website, Facebook,, that’s the best places to get updates on our upcoming shows. But I am easily reached on the phone or via text as well at 610-470-8667. – Steven Hoffman


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

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Jenny Chen Pediatric and Family Dentistry: enny Chen Pediatric and Family Dentistry is a multispecialty dental practice with a highly visible location at Old Baltimore Pike and Guernsey Road in West Grove. The practice offers pediatric, family, and cosmetic dentistry, and has specialists in orthodontics and implant dentistry. “From the moment our patients Àrst arrive here, our goal is to provide them with a comfortable, relaxing experience,” said Dr. Jenny Chen, who provides top-quality care along with her husband, Dr. Michael Lemper, and their team at the West Grove ofÀce and their ofÀce in Willow Street. For a decade, they have built a thriving practice that has seen long-term loyalty from parents, children and grandchildren. Dr. Jenny, as she prefers to be called, was a dentist in Beijing, China, before coming to America 20 years ago to pursue a Ph.D. in experimental pathology at the University of Texas. After earning her degree and preparing to be a scientist, she decided that she wanted to pursue her Àrst love, dentistry. She then obtained her DMD from the University of Pennsylvania school of Dental Medicine, where she met her husband, Dr. Mike. After several years of honing her skills as an associate in busy Philadelphia practices, Dr. Jenny came to Chester County to open her own practice. Dr. Jenny is skilled at all aspects of general dentistry, including cosmetic dentistry, root canals, crowns, bridges, and restoring implants. The aspect of Dr. Jenny most loved by her patients, however, is her friendly, humorous, easygoing manner, which often calms the fears of the most severe dental-phobic patient. Many patients who have avoided seeing the dentist for years out of fear have come to Dr. Jenny and now will receive dental care from no one else. She trulyy treats her p patients as part of the family. A unique feature of Dr. Jenny’s practice is that it provides comprehensive dentistry for

(L to R) Tracy Nino - EFDA, Lindsey Mccabe - EFDA, General/ Ortho Asisstant, Dulce Villagomez - Ortho/General Asistant.

all ages, and to this end has both a board-certiÀed pediatric dentist and board-certiÀed orthodontist on staff. It is unusual for a dental practice to provide this kind of specialized care for everybody in the family. Dr. Ahmad F. Charkas is the orthodontist, and he provide comprehensive orthodontic care for children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Charkas is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and is Invisalign certiÀed. Dr. Jenny’s husband, Dr. Mike, is the pediatric dentist, and is trained and experienced in providing dental services for all children, including those with severe dental disease, anxiety, behavioral issues, and special health care needs. Dr. Mike is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Almost the entire staff speaks Spanish, Dr. Jenny said. “People appreciate that you try to communicate in their language,” she said. “We have brochures and information in Spanish to explain everything about a procedure.” About half S of the service’s clients are Spanish-speaking, she said. A very o warm and welcoming environment exists among staff and w patients. “The staff treats each other as family, and we treat p our patients as family,” says Dr. Jenny. o Many people avoid the dentist due to barriers involving insurance and economics. At Jenny Chen Pediatric and Family in Dentistry, they try to make dental care available to as many D people as possible. “We take a wide range of insurance p and coverage through almost every network.” Among the a many insurances accepted are the full range of PA Medical m Assistance and CHIP programs for children. “We want to help A the children who need us most”, Dr. Mike says, “and we want th

Dr. Charkas (Orthodontist) and Daniella Guzman (Receptionist) D

Expert Dental Care for the Entire Family to erase the typical barriers to care that many children face. All children have the right to see the dentist and have happy and healthy teeth”. In addition to accepting a wide range of insurances Dr. Jenny is willing to work with you to implement the best treatment plan for your budget. “Some dentists examine a patient and give them a very expensive treatment plan, which is either all or nothing, and no other options. This naturally scares the patient and prevents them from undergoing much-needed dental care. We work with a patient within their budget or insurance limitations and prioritize. You can get a few teeth Àxed this year, and a few next year” Dr. Jenny says. Another aspect of the practice that Dr. Jenny is proud of is her willingness to squeeze in emergencies. A wide range of emergency dental services are offered, and often people can be seen on the same day as they call. Tooth pain can be very serious, and we want to help as much as we can. To this end, the practice offers convenient hours including evenings and Saturdays. The practice stays up-to-the-minute with technology as well, Dr. Jenny said, including the i-CAT, a three-dimensional dental imaging tool that allows the doctors to examine teeth and surrounding structures with amazing accuracy. Because the i-CAT allows the staff to view a patient’s oral structures from different angles on a monitor, the doctors can create more comprehensive treatment plans. This is extremely useful for implant placement, and the practice has an implant specialist

for complex cases, including multiple implants for denture stabilization. “This advanced x-ray system allows us to take 3-D photos, whereas previously we were only able to diagnose from 2-D images,” Dr. Jenny said. “With this technology, we have a better understanding of the patient’s anatomy and dental problems, and can more accurately recommend procedures. Very few general dentists have this technology. Everything’s very advanced in our ofÀce. We’re constantly looking for new technologies.” Jenny Chen Pediatric and Family Dentistry is open Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit Jenny Chen Pediatric and Family Dentistry West Grove, PA • 610-869-0991 207 N. Guernsey Road For our friends in Lancaster County:

Lancaster County Pediatric and Family Dentistry Willow Street, PA • 717-464-0230 325 Carol Lynn Drive Se habla Español

Front row (L to R) Dr. Ahmad Charkas, Dr. Jenny Chen, Dr. Michael Lemper. Second row (L to R) Dulce Villagomez, Vicky Zhu, Tracy Nino, Diana Fraticelli, Paula Williams, Andrea Mireles, Lindsey McCabe. Third row (L to R) Dalila Padron, Daniella Guzman, Edgar Beltran.

—————|Landenberg People|—————

Finding ‘forever’ homes for needy pets All photos by by Natalie Smith unless otherwise noted

George Treisner shares a moment with foster dog Malcolm, a shepherd/husky mix who’s available for adoption. 58

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

By Natalie Smith Staff Writer


or Laurellen Treisner, you might say it all started with a golden retriever. She had grown up in Allentown with smaller pets -- guinea pigs, ducks, chicks and parakeets. As a teenager, she got a cat, “but it really became my father’s cat,” she said. About 2001, she and her husband, George, decided they wanted a dog. Their son, Joshua, was a junior in high school and going away to college in a couple years – daughter Elizabeth had left three years earlier -- and the looming empty nest would need filling. George, who had “lots of dogs” growing up in Bethlehem, was interested in goldens, which have a reputation for sweet and amiable personalities. They were going to wait until after their son graduated, but Josh pointed out that he’d like to enjoy the dog, too, so sooner was better than later, said George, a pharmaceutical industry consultant. “I started looking up dogs on the Web and doing research,” said Laurie, who teaches math at Lincoln University. Then she heard about Petfinder, a website where humane societies, shelters

Photo by Natalie Smith

Lovely Liesel is about nine months old and available for adoption from TreeTops.

and animal rescue services from across the country advertise pets and domestic animals available for adoption. The breeds offered span the spectrum, from purebred to allAmerican mixed breed. The Treisners found puppies they liked online, then filled out an adoption form. When the woman from the rescue agency came to do the customary home inspection, she brought with her Eliza, a coal-black, fluffy mixed-breed she’d been fostering. Laurie was pleased, because she’d been drawn to a photo of Eliza on the website. So Laurie and George ended up adopting a dog, but it wasn’t a golden retriever. Eliza is 15 now, the matriarchal pooch of their Landenberg home, which sits high

on a hill on a tree-filled, sevenacre property overlooking the White Clay Creek. “She’s still in good shape because she’s a mutt,” George said, referring to the many health issues pure breeds can have. A year later, they adopted a highenergy keeshond/border collie mix called Taz (short for Tasmanian Devil, the cartoon character known for its wild moods and antics). They’re joined by two more dogs, four cats, five goats and four donkeys. Rounding out the Treisner family were fosters -- a dog, four shy cats and a pygmy goat. The experience with Eliza and learning about animal rescue made Laurie realize she wanted to be more involved. So after about five Continued on page 60 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Tree Tops Continued from Page 59

years of volunteering and fostering animals while working with a Delaware-based organization, she founded TreeTops Animal Rescue, named after her scenic address. The non-profit TreeTops is a foster-based rescue, meaning it doesn’t have its own shelter. Animals are placed in volunteers’ homes, where their physical and emotional needs are tended to. TreeTops pays for the food, medical care, toys and sundry needs of the animals. Most animals are fostered between two weeks and two months. Potential adopters can check the organization’s website to see photos and descriptions of available pets. The animals TreeTops accepts are only those for which it can find foster homes. Some of them might come from bad situations, like from the home of a hoarder; or unfortunate ones, such as being surrendered because of an owner’s illness. Sometimes they have minor behavioral problems, or are frightened or shy. Some haven’t lived in homes before. Continued on page 62

Photo by Natalie Smith

Barn cat Olivia climbs up Laurellen Treisner’s shoulder as Laurie’s husband, George, looks on. Laurie started TreeTops Animal Rescue more than 10 years ago.

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Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Tree Tops Continued from Page 60

‘I don’t think people realize how rewarding it is to take an animal that’s not a good pet and turn it into someone’s friend.’ – Renee Ullman, adopter and foster Laurie and George believe the advantage of fostering is that those who bring a cat or dog into their house can give a better evaluation of an animal after living with it and learning its habits, making for a more successful adoption later. Also, offering the animal loving and stable surroundings can only help its adjustment to a “forever” home. TreeTops currently has about six volunteer fosters, who have varying degrees of availability, Laurie said. Many cats also live at the Paws and Claws Pet Store in Kennett Square, of which George is an owner. Those kittens and cats are only available for adoption through TreeTops. At Paws and Claws, cats are able to meander about, so customers (and


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Photo by Natalie Smith

Foster volunteer Hannah Sypniewski greeting Elsie, who was just delivered from a southern high-kill shelter.

potential adopters) get a chance to know them. Paws and Claws will be closing the end of the year, but the Treisners are hoping to transform it into a cat café. These types of establishments are popping up

Probably the most common question across the country. Currently, there are at people have when they’re considering least two in Philadelphia and one more in taking in a homeless animal as a foster Baltimore. is, “How can I possibly give up this cat To fund the non-profit business, people or dog to an adopter after living with and pay a small fee to spend time and hang loving it?” out with the kitties as they frolic outside “It is hard, especially the first time,” of cages in a special lounge. The plan is Laurie admitted. “But there are so many to have food and drink available for purPhoto courtesy of Renee Ullman that need to be saved. So maybe you can chase. Monies raised at the Treetops Kitty Sydney was Laurie Treisner’s first save the next one.” Café will go toward the costs of caring for foster. In 2006, Jeff and Renee Ullman adopted the cats. According to TreeTops, the cafés are a good way to get cats adopted and spread the word the first dog that Laurie rescued under the TreeTops banner, an Australian shepherd named Sydney. “I was about rescuing, not buying, a pet. As a non-profit, TreeTops accepts donations, whether looking through Petfinder and found her picture and financial, pet products or time. Although there is a fee decided, yep, she was for us,” Renee said. “We met her to adopt an animal, it doesn’t cover the cost of caring and fell in love. We first met Laurie when she dropped for all those waiting for a forever home. Every October, Sydney off. [Laurie] was crying. But Sydney was a very their largest fundraiser is sponsored by Mums and Mutts, special dog.” That was many fosters ago. Laurie estimated that during an organization that was the brainchild of TreeTops vice president Megan McFarland. Continued on page 64 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Tree Tops Continued from Page 63

‘I like knowing that it’s going to a good home.’ -- Hannah Sypniewski, on the difficulty of giving up a dog after fostering it

her time being involved in rescue, she’s fostered more than 400 animals. And since its establishment more than 10 years ago, TreeTops Animal Rescue has adopted out more than 1,500 pets. The Ullmans, of Sadsburyville, have since become fosters themselves. “People see that we get sad when we drop [the animals] off, but that doesn’t mean we want to keep them,” Renee said. The Ullmans’ second adoption was a beagle from the Chester County SPCA in 2008, named after former Phillies star Ryan Howard. Howie turned out to be a natural foster dog brother. “He’s super mellow. Best foster dog ever for other dogs,” Renee said. Their first foster, a red, medium-sized dog named Penny, at first “was terrified of everything. She stayed in her crate for three months,” she said. Sydney has since passed away, but for almost 10 years, the Ullmans have fostered dogs, too many for Renee to recall.

“I don’t think people realize how rewarding it is to take an animal that’s not a good pet and turn it into someone’s friend,” she said. TreeTops gets its animals from several sources, including area shelters. But the Landenberg-based rescue is also a participant in the animal transport line that stops in Newark, Del., every two weeks to drop off animals. Originating at the Darlington County Humane Society in Darlington, S.C., vans full of animals make designated stops all along the East Coast, bringing adoptable cats and dogs to waiting volunteers and rescues. Unsterilized cats and dogs being allowed to wander have resulted in some Southern shelters being overcrowded and having high euthanasia rates. “Not just old or sick animals,” Laurie said “Young and healthy cats and dogs [are being put down].” As a result, many groups across the country have taken to bringing up as many animals as they can find places for.

Jennersville Family Dentistry

Open Wednesdays 9-6 and Fridays 8-3 NEW PATIENTS WELCOME

Accepts most insurances, such as Aetna, Delta, MetLife and others Friendly staff Located across from Jennersville Regional Hospital


900 West Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, West Grove, PA 19390

Dr. Matthew Milano

Second Location: 610-449-2001, Drexel Hill, PA 64

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

On a recent cold and windy Saturday, Laurie and George drove to the rear parking lot of the Christiana Towne Center to wait for the Darlington Express Transport. TreeTops was picking up three cats -- one with four kittens -- and a dog that was going home with volunteer foster Hannah Sypniewski. Hannah, a University of Delaware student studying early childhood education, has been Continued on page 66 Photo by Natalie Smith

Getty is a neutered male pygmy goat that’s available for adoption. When TreeTops received him, they were told he was a female named Gerty. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Tree Tops Continued from Page 65

fostering dogs through TreeTops for just over a year. “It’s a great way to make a dog ready [to be adopted],” she said. But, Hannah acknowledged, the longer they are in her care, “it’s really hard to give them up. You feel like it’s your dog, but I like knowing that it’s going to a good home.” As an adopter, Kathy King playfully calls herself a “foster failure.” “I’ve always had cats, but after I lost one last March, I swore I’d never get any more. But after a year, I started missing them,” Kathy said. Kathy was looking for medium-haired and long-haired cats from TreeTops. One of the kittens Laurie had “wasn’t friendly. She asked if I would consider fostering her [rather than adopting] her.” The Kemblesville resident laughed. “I knew full well [the cat] wasn’t going anywhere.” The small gray-andwhite tabby came with the name of Priscilla, but Kathy calls her Prissy. Although Prissy was timid at first, Kathy got a second cat from Paws and Claws to “help bring Prissy out of her shell.”


Prissy’s companion, once named Daniel but rechristened Matthew after a character from the popular “Downton Abbey” television show, is a large, black-andbuff cat, “maybe Maine Coon,” Kathy said. Traditionally a big breed, Matthew is larger than the smallest of Kathy’s three rescue dogs, a terrier. “He’s a big boy,” she said. Prissy, who was one of the cats who made a trip up from South Carolina, has warmed up in temperament. “When she got here, she was hissing, but she never struck out or bit anybody. She was always friendly with me.” The Treisners said potential fosters should understand than no animal is perfect. “Some are harder to housebreak,” Laurie said. “Some bark more. Some chew things. But a lot of fosters take it in stride.” More information about TreeTops Animal Rescue and Treetops Kitty Café is available at www.treetopsrescue. org. Natalie Smith may be contacted at DoubleSMedia@



610-268-3243 A Personalized and Friendly Service Specializing in House and Retirement Home Moves

Coordinating and Managing Moves Since 1984! If you’re planning a local or long distance move, across town or across the country, then do what smart senior citizens and other residents have done for years and call TLC Moving Services, LLC at 610-268-3243. These professionals will pack your items with the utmost care, arrange to have them moved by a reliable moving company, then unpack them and place them in your new home where you desire. If you are downsizing, they can help you arrange a sale of your goods or assist you in donating to the charity of your choice. Once out of your old home, they can clean-up and make repairs so the house is ready for the new owners, or to be put on the market. If moving is in your plans, then your first move is to call TLC Moving Services, LLC. Put these professionals to work for you and call Caen Stroud at 610-268-3243. 66

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 | | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Space planning / furniture and finish selections / millwork and custom cabinet design / hardware selections / paint color consultation / custom upholstery / window treatment and lighting design / art selection / deck and garden design / kitchen and bath design / long term master planning / Space planning / furniture and finish selections / millwork and custom cabinet design / hardware selections / paint color consultation / custom upholstery / window treatment and lighting design / art selection / deck and garden design / kitchen and bath design / long term master planning / Space planning / furniture and finish selections / millwork and custom cabinet design / hardware selections / paint color consultation / custom upholstery / window treatment and lighting design / art selection / deck and garden design / kitchen and bath design / long term master planning Space planning / furniture and finish selections / millwork and custom cabinet design / hardware selections / paint

—————|Landenberg Art & Design|————— Since moving her business to Pennsylvania in 2004, interior designer Kate FitzGerald-Wilks of Landenberg has built a firm that caters to dual income families - and businesses -- throughout Chester County and beyond, simply by understanding their needs

Flow and function: The timeless touch of Kate FitzGerald-Wilks By Richard L. Gaw Staff Writer


here is really no other way of keeping up with the pace of Landenberg resident and interior designer Kate FitzGerald-Wilks than to tell your inner motor, ‘Get your move on.’ Photo by Jie Deng Before you catch your breath, you quickly realize that the passion FitzGeraldWilks brings to her company -- Timeless Design -- is a shared one. Her design team brings an infectious energy and an eclectic blend of backgrounds to each home or business space they design. Kelly Fialkowski had once been a theater designer. Donna Dixon had been a real estate stager, and Alison Chase has a background in fine art. Working with her team, architects and some of the top home and accessory suppliers in the area, FitzGerald-Wilks is nearly everywhere these days, just as she has been when she brought her full-service design firm to Pennsylvania in 2004. From Chester County to northern Delaware to the shore homes of Sussex County and beyond, FitzGerald-Wilks has become known for creating warm, livable interiors, and blending patterns, colors and textures. FitzGerald-Wilks’ signature style is most visible in her use of what she calls her “supporting players of design,” such as custom window treatments, creating a proper flow of light throughout a living space, and complimenting hardware, flooring and furniture with a unique accent mark -- such as a family heirloom or a piece of artwork. Before a pencil hits a piece of paper or a piece of furniture is ordered, FitzGerald-Wilks feels for the ebb and flow of the family who lives in the home she is about to design. Through the art of listening, she understands who the family is, how they identify themselves and what their day-to-day needs are. “When we first sit down with a client, we study their needs and begin the design from the ground up with the architectural plan, often switching a few things around in order to add space and flow,” FitzGerald-Wilks said. “We work efficiently, taking into consideration the fact that our clients are also trying to run a family life, balance it with their career and a constantlychanging schedule that involves having to hand their children back and forth to each other.” Similar to Fialkowski, Dixon and Chase, FitzGerald-Wilks brings a wealth of experience to her company. Before founding Timeless Design in 2001, she managed a woman’s boutique, where she traveled to New York City to purchase clothing, as well as design the boutique’s window displays. While working for the U.S Commerce Department’s Textile Office and as an


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international trade officer, the experience opened her eyes to the richness of other world cultures. After leaving Washington, D.C., she became an antique dealer, which sharpened her skills as an interior designer. If achieving beauty is one skill FitzGerald-Wilks brings to each home, then increasing a home’s workability is another. During a recent tour of homes she has designed in Unionville, Avondale and in the Rockford Park section of Wilmington, the stuff of function is everywhere. In one home, a small tray is conveniently placed in a high traffic area for a family to deposit mail in every day. In another home, FitzGerald-Wilks has designed a tidy compartment for children to place their muddy boots and shoes. “We find that a lot of people don’t have time to designate spots, but we find that if we do that for them, they respond to the systems we create for them,” she said. “They don’t have time to pay attention to a lot of the small things. Our job is not just to create beauty in a home. It’s to also help them live well.” The beauty, form and functionality that Timeless Design is bringing to homes is now being carried to the business world. Over the last year, FitzGerald-Wilks and her staff have Photo by Jie Deng worked with the management team at Parcels, Inc., a leader provider of litigation support, Kate FitzGerald-Wilks of Timeless Design, right, along document management, retrieval and delivery services for legal and corporate clients. with her design team: Donna The company’s headquarters, located at the corner of 3rd and Market Street in Dixon, Kelly Fialkowski and Wilmington, sits at the heart of the city’s revitalized LOMA commercial center. Previously, Alison Chase. the area was known as the Ships Tavern District, it was named in honor of an 18th-Century tavern visited by our nation’s forefathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Aaron Burr. In an effort to preserve the building’s history, the management team at Parcels, Inc. worked with FitzGerald-Wilks to create a historically-themed meeting space on the building’s second floor. The result is nothing short of a stunning excavation into the original “bones” of the building. One hundred year-old wooden floors have been preserved and polished. A classic, exposed brick wall design has brought out the industrial “feel” of the space, and individual offices are not separated by walls but by glass partitions. Eventually, FitzGeraldWilks and her team will redesign the company’s first and second floors. “We always work with a client toward the things that he or she loves,” she said. “It’s a constant state of assessment, of doing what we can in order to bring in the elements of what a client will love. “This is not about us representing our company. We’re here to listen. We want to help families teach their children to know where their shoes belong and where the coats go. We want to create workspaces that increase functionality and productivity. We find systems that make spaces function well, and then look beautiful.” To learn more about Kate FitzGerald-Wilks and Timeless Design, visit her website, at To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail All photos by Jie Deng • Story by Richard L. Gaw

Timeless accents for the home and the office Recently, Landenberg Life took a tour with Landenberg interior designer Kate FitzGerald-Wilks of Timeless Design, to explore the wide and varied quality of her vision. We saw it everywhere – in Avondale, in Unionville, Continued on page 70 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Photo Essay Continued from Page 69

in the Rockford Park section of Wilmington, and at a downtown Wilmington business. At each location, the signature of FitzGerald-Wilk’s talents kept following us – the capturing of light, the achievement of proper flow, the furniture and accessories that seem to have been there forever, and the functionality of items made to make life easier. Take a tour of the work of Kate FitzGerald-Wilks for yourself, on the following pages.

An Exquisite Design in Avondale For the last ten years, FitzGerald-Wilks has been working with the owners of this Avondale home. During that time, her designs have been a combination of achieving both beauty and functionality, and have included extending the size of the kitchen, and adding a custom pantry and mudroom, a sleeping porch, a walk-in closet and a laundry room.


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A Design Rescue in Unionville The owners of this 15-year-old Unionville home, a busy couple with three children, called FitzGeraldWilks soon after a burst pipe caused extensive interior damage to the home. When she first met the family, FitzGerald-Wilks saw contractors and scaffolding all over the home. It turned out that emergencies of this kind are often the best time to take another look at the form and function of a home, and that’s just what FitzGerald-Wilks and her team did. They worked with the owners to install design upgrades throughout the floor’s main area; altered the home’s look with a bold and colorful change to its walls; and illuminated the homey, warm presence of the fireplace by adding some design accents around it. Continued on page 72 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Photo Essay Continued from Page 71

City Home, Country Feel The neighborhoods that surround Rockford Park in Wilmington are a block-by-block visual overload of aesthetics, tradition and uniqueness. Many homes in the community date back over 100 years, and feature a railroad-style design of continual flow that connects the living room to the dining room and then to the kitchen. Using this airy design concept as her guide, FitzGerald-Wilks redesigned the home’s floor plan, selecting new furniture that better fit the available space. In addition, she upgraded wall colors, retro-fit built-in storage space, and accented the home’s design with the addition of one-of-a-kind furniture, such as a custommade dining room table. As a result, the home now accentuates a country farmhouse feel, filled with light that begins when you arrive, extends through French doors, and opens to a beautiful city backyard.


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Preserving history in a modern workspace Since 1980, Parcels, Inc. has been a leading provider of litigation support, document management, retrieval and delivery services for legal and corporate clients. Its Wilmington headquarters is located in the city’s revitalized Lower Market Street (LOMA) District. When the company’s leaders came to FitzGerald-Wilks, they were looking to both upgrade the design of their offices -- and yet take them back to the rich history of what used to be a ship tavern area during the 18th Century. The re-designed second floor of the building combines the open look of a modern company with aesthetic touches of the structure’s past. Hundred year-old wooden floors. Exposed brick walls. An industrial look and feel, arranged neatly around warm meeting nooks. Over the course of the next few years, FitzGerald-Wilks and her team will redesign the remainder of the historic building. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Summer Camp & Education Guide

Summer camps offer fun and learning The Arc of Chester County 900 Lawrence Dr., West Chester Paradise Farms in Downingtown is the location for week-long day camps this summer. Camp Safari and Teen Camp offer children and teens a camp experience regardless of disability. Teen Camp is slated for Aug. 7-11. Camp Safari is scheduled for Aug. 21-25. Call 610-696-8090, ext. 240, or visit

Camp Arrowhead Summer camps are offered in five sessions for grades 2 to 11 from June 25 to Aug. 12 at a wooded site on the Rehoboth Bay. Day and overnight camps are offered. Call 302-945-0610 or visit

Cecil College Summer camps are offered this summer for ages 6 to 8, 9 to 12, and 13 to 17, with outdoor activities and exploration of career pathways. Call 410-392-3366, ext. 628, or visit youth.

Centreville Layton School Summer Program 6201 Kennett Pike, Centreville, Del. A summer program is offered for youngsters in June and July, for pre-K to eighth grade, and middle and high school students. Call 302-5710270 or visit


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The Chester County Intermediate Unit Students entering sixth through ninth grade can explore careers such as animal science, game design, and culinary arts in July. There are locations in Phoenixville, West Grove and Downingtown. Call 484-237-5525 or visit

Delaware Aerospace Academy Children in grades 1 to 10 can take summer camps focusing on science and technology, engineering, mathematics and space exploration, with a variety of packages available at Newark or Smyrna, Del., locations. Call 302-834-1978 or visit www.dasef. org.

Delaware Museum of Natural History 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Del. Thirty two summer camps are offered for ages 2 to 12, exploring the natural world. Call 302-658-9111 or visit

Fairwinds Farm 41 Tailwinds Ln., North East, Md. Horse Camp to learn the basic skills of horsemanship is offered on weekdays this summer. Call 410-658-8187 or visit

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Four resident camps and three day camps are open to girls entering grades 1 to 12 this summer, focusing on a wide range of outdoor skills and interests. Visit

Hockessin Athletic Club 100 Fitness Way, Hockessin, Del. Summer camps are offered for ages 3 to 12, with swimming, crafts, sports, games and volunteering. Call 302-766-7482 or visit

New Garden Flying Field Future Aviators Summer Camp is offered for ages 7 to 15 from July 10 to 14, and from Aug. 7 to 11. Call 610-2682619 or visit

Saginaw Day Camp 740 Saginaw Rd., Oxford Camps are available from June 19 to Aug. 18 for first to 11th graders. There is an open house on June 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 610-998-1281 or visit

Sanford School 6900 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, Del. The school offers day camps for ages 3 to 14, with sports and arts camps for ages 8 to 14, and specialty camps in tennis (June 12-16, 19-23 and 26-30) and Coach Hutch’s Sports Camp (June 12-16, Aug. 14-18, and Aug. 21-25). Visit

Tatnall School 1501 Barley Mill Rd., Wilmington, Del. Summer camps are offered from June 19 to Aug. 18 for ages 3 through 12th grade. There are sports camps, an onsite pool, music classes, science and technology classes, dance camps and more. Bus trips to local attractions are available. Call 302-892-4347 or visit

West Chester Parks and Recreation Summer Camps Summer Day Camp for ages 5 to 10 is offered from June 19 to Aug. 11, with a variety of bus trips and other options. Camp Big for ages 11 to 14 is offered June 19 to July 14, and July 17 to Aug. 11, with a variety of bus trips and other options. Call 610-436-9010 or visit

West Chester Studio for the Performing Arts Classes are offered at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester. One-week classes in acting, improvisation and music are offered. Call 484-995-2915 or visit

West Fallowfield Christian School A wide variety of summer camp opportunities are available for ages 3 through the 10th grade. Call 610-593-5011 or visit Continued on page 76 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Summer Camp & Education Guide Continued from Page 75

Wilmington Friends School A camp for ages preschool to ninth grade has oneweek sessions from June 19 through Aug. 25, with a variety of activities and themes. Call 302-576-2998 or visit

Wilmington Youth Rowing Association 500 E. Front St., Wilmington, Del. Three camps are offered: “Row For It!” for ages 10 to 14 (June 26-July 13); “Rowing 101” for ages 13 to 18 (June 19-23 and Aug. 14-18); and “Christina Rivber Rangers” for ages 10 to 13, with visits to the DuPont Environmental Education Center in the mornings and rowing lessons in the afternoon (July 17-21 and 24-28). Call 302-777-4533 or visit

YMCA Camp Tockwogh An overnight camp on the Chesapeake Bay offers summer camps in one-week or two-week sessions from June 25 to Aug. 18, for children who have completed grades 2 to 9. There is a wide range of camp sites, age groupings and themes. Visit


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

A guide to area schools

DELAWARE PRIVATE SCHOOLS Archmere Academy 3600 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, 798-6632, Caravel Academy 2801 Del Laws Road, Bear, 834-8938, Hockessin Montessori 1000 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 302-234-1240, Independence School 1300 Paper Mill Rd., Newark, 302-239-0332, Layton Preparatory School 6201 Kennett Pike, Centreville, 655-3280,

The New School 812 Elkton Road, Newark, 456-9838,

Ursuline Academy 1106 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, 658-7158,

Red Lion Christian Academy 1390 Red Lion Road, Bear, 834-2526,

Wilmington Christian School 825 Loveville Road, Hockessin, 239-2121,

Salesianum School 1801 N. Broom St., Wilmington, 654-2495,

Wilmington Friends School 101 School Road, Wilmington, 576-2900,

Sanford School 6900 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 239-5263,


St. Andrew’s School 350 Noxontown Road, Middletown, 378-9511, The Tatnall School 1501 Barley Mill Road, Wilmington, 998-2292, Tower Hill School 2813 W. 17th St., Wilmington, 575-0550,

Padua Academy 905 N. Broom St., Wilmington, 421-3739, St. Elizabeth High School 1500 Cedar St., Wilmington, 656-3369, St. Mark’s High School 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington, 738-3300,

PENNSYLVANIA HIGH SCHOOLS Avon Grove School District 375 South Jennersville Road West Grove, PA 19390 610-869-2441 Avon Grove High School 610-869-2446, 257 East State Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Fred S. Engle Middle School 610-869-3022,107 Schoolhouse Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Avon Grove Intermediate School 610-869-2010 395 South Jennersville Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Penn London Elementary School 610-869-9803 383 South Jennersville Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Continued on page 78 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Summer Camp & Education Guide Continued from Page 77

Kennett Consolidated School District 300 East South Street Kennett Square, PA 19348 610-444-6600 Kennett High School 610-444-6620 100 East South Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Kennett Middle School 610-268-5800 195 Sunny Dell Road, Landenberg, PA 19350 Bancroft Elementary School 610-925-5711 181 Bancroft Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Greenwood Elementary School (610-388-5990) 420 Greenwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348


Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center 610-444-6260 409 Center Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348 New Garden Elementary School 610-268-6900 265 New Garden Road, Toughkenamon, PA 19374 Oxford Area School District 125 Bell Tower Lane Oxford, PA 19363 610-932-6600 Oxford Area High School 610-932-6640 705 Waterway Road, Oxford, PA 19363 Penn’s Grove Middle School 610-932-6615 301 South Fifth Street, Oxford, PA 19363

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Hopewell Elementary School 484-365-6151 602 Garfield Street, Oxford, PA 19363 Elk Ridge School 610-932-6670 200 Wickersham Road, Oxford, PA 19363 Jordan Bank School 610-932-6625 536 Hodgson Street, Oxford, PA 19363 Nottingham School 610-932-6632 736 Garfield Street, Oxford, PA 19363 Unionville-Chadds Ford School District 740 Unionville Road Kennett Square, PA 19348 610-347-0970 Unionville High School 610-347-1600 750 Unionville Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Continued on page 80 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Summer Camp & Education Guide Continued from Page 78

Charles F. Patton Middle School 610-347-2000 760 Unionville Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Chadds Ford Elementary School 610-388-1112 3 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 Hillendale Elementary School 610-388-1439 1850 Hillendale Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 Pocopson Elementary School 610-793-9241 1105 Pocopson Road, West Chester, PA 19382 Unionville Elementary School 610-347-1700 1775 West Doe Run Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348


Chester County Intermediate Unit Educational Service Center 455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335 Telephone: (484) 237-5000

Chester County Technical College High School Pickering Campus 610-933-8877 1580 Charlestown Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460-2371

Chester County Technical College High School Brandywine Campus 484-593-5100 443 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335


Chester County Technical College High School Pennock’s Bridge Campus 610-345-1800 280 Pennock’s Bridge Road, West Grove, PA 19390

CFS, The School at Church Farm (610-363-7500) 1001 East Lincoln Highway, Exton, PA 19341-2818

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Assumption B.V.M. School (610-869-9576) 290 State Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Bethany Christian School (610-998-0877) 1137 Shadyside Road, Oxford, PA 19363

Episcopal Day School (610-644-6181) Church of the Good Samaritan 212 West Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, PA 19301

George Fox Friends School (610-593-7122) 2009 Gap-Newport Pike, Cochranville, PA 19330 Kimberton Waldorf School (610-933-3635) 410 W. Seven Stars Rd., P. O. Box 350, Kimberton, PA 19442 Landenberg Christian Academy (610-255-5512) P.O. Box 397, Kemblesville, PA 19347 London Grove Friends Kindergarten (610-268-8466) 500 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Malvern Preparatory School (484-595-1131) 418 South Warren Avenue, Malvern, PA 19355 Sacred Heart School (610-932-3633) 205 Church Road, Oxford, PA 19363 Upland Country Day School (610-444-3035) 420 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 Villa Maria Academy Lower School (610-644-4864) 1140 King Road, Immaculata, PA 19345-0600 West Chester Christian School (610-692-3700) 1237 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380 West Chester Friends School (610-696-2962) 415 North High Street, West Chester, PA 19380 West Fallowfield Christian School (610-593-5011) 795 Fallowfield Road, Atglen, PA 19310 Westtown School (610-399-0123) 975 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19382 White Clay Learning Center (610-880-0114) 250 New Garden Road, Toughkenamon, PA 19374 Continued on page 82 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Summer Camp & Education Guide Continued from Page 81

CHESTER COUNTY CHARTER SCHOOLS Avon Grove Charter School (Early Learning Center) (610-255-5325) 1769 New London Road, Landenberg, PA 19350 Avon Grove Charter School (West Grove Campus) (484-667-5000) 110 East State Road, West Grove, PA 19390

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES Cheyney University of PA 610-399-2220 1837 University Circle, P. O. Box 200, Cheyney, PA 19319-0200


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

Delaware College of Art and Design 600 N. Market St., Wilmington, 622-8000, Delaware County Community College (Marple Campus) 610-359-5000 901 South Media Line Road, Media, PA 19063-1094 Delaware County Community College (Brandywine Campus) 610-723-1100 455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335 Delaware County Community College (Brandywine Campus) 610-723-1100 455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335 Delaware County Community College (Exton Campus) 610-450-6500 912 Springdale Drive, Exton, PA 19341 Delaware County Community College (Pennock’s Bridge Campus) 610-869-5100 280 Pennock’s Bridge Road, West Grove, PA 19390 Delaware State University 3931 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 254-5340,

Delaware Technical Community College 400 Stanton-Christiana Road, Newark, 454-3900; 333 Shipley St., Wilmington, 571-5300,

Springfield College 1007 Orange St., Wilmington, 658-5720,

Goldey-Beacom College 4701 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 998-8814,

University of Delaware Main Campus in Newark; Wilmington Campus, 831-2792,

Immaculata University 610-647-4400 1145 King Road, Immaculata, PA 19345

Valley Forge Christian College 610-935-0450 1401 Charlestown Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460

The Lincoln University 484-365-8000 1570 Baltimore Pike, Lincoln University, PA 19352

West Chester University of Pennsylvania 610-436-1000 University and High Streets, West Chester, PA 19383

Neumann University One Neumann Drive, Aston, Pa. 19014-1298, 610-5585616 or 800-9-NEUMANN, Penn State Great Valley 610-648-3200 (School of Graduate Professional Studies) 30 East Swedesford Road, Malvern, PA 19355

Widener University School of Law 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 477-2100, Wilmington University 320 Dupont Hwy., New Castle, 356-4636; 31 Reads Way, New Castle, 655-5400; 3411 Silverside Road, Wilmington, (877) 967-5464; 651 N. Broad St., Middletown, 877 967-5464; | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life



At Wilmington Friends School, classrooms encourage students’ inclination toward exploration from the very earliest years in the Reggio Emilia inspired preschool; throughout elementary school in the lower school maker space and 5th grade Genius Hour; and into middle and upper school with independent studies, student travel, and courses offered through the Malone School Online Consortium. It’s not a surprise that deepening understanding through exploration and investigation is central to learning at WFS. In Quaker education, the intellectual/academic foundation is defined by questioning, discovery, and relevance. In fact, a principle of Quakerism that has a defining influence on the Friends educational philosophy is “continuing revelation,” the idea that truth is continually revealed through seeking, experience, and reflection. Visit WFS to learn more about the school and the upcoming Spring Fling on Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. •Explore Hour at lower school for grades PS-5th at 11 a.m. & 1p.m. •Tours for middle and upper school at 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. •Kids games, food trucks, cupcakes and more. Please register by contacting the Admissions Office at or 302-576-2930



West Fallowfield Christian School Accepting Applications


West Fallowfield Christian School, preschool through tenth grades, is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year. Little Falcons Preschool offers two, three and five day programs for three and four year olds. Kindergarten is a full day offered four or five days a week. Interscholastic opportunities for middle school students are available in the Fine Arts and athletics. Students choose from a variety of elective subjects and clubs to broaden their interests and learning. All students participate in music and art programs. The Academy is a unique high school experience offered for ninth and tenth graders. The college-style model fosters student accountability and time management skills. It combines learning on campus two days a week with three days of independent study. Bus transportation is supplied for K-8 students in the

Avon Grove, Coatesville, Octorara, Oxford, Pequea, Solanco, and Unionville-Chadds Ford districts. Financial grants are available for eligible families in the K through eighth grades. Applicants are encouraged to call 610-593-5011 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

No Limits to Your Success At Neumann University, there are no limits to your success. Our high-quality majors, expert faculty and professional internships give you every opportunity to succeed. We’re known for exceptional programs in Nursing, Biology and Clinical Laboratory Science. We just built a $5 million radio and television studio and our Business, Criminal Justice, Education and Sport Management faculty bring unparalleled experience to the classroom. Neumann also combines classroom theory with practical experience. Your internships will let you discover your talents, and build a professional network. Neumann is affordable, too. Our merit aid awards (based on SAT scores and GPA) can be as high as $16,000. Our 68-acre campus is just a 25-minute drive from Philadelphia. Every suite in our residence halls is cable-TV ready and includes a private bathroom, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. Visit or call 610-558-5616 to arrange a tour and discover why, at Neumann University, there are no limits to your success.

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |


The Future Aviators Summer Camp 2017 will be the 9th year for the Future Aviators Summer Camp. It has been very exciting to see the growth of the program at New Garden Flying Field, New Garden Township. In 2009 we started the FA Camp to be a week of nonstop excitement where aviation fun and discovery are combined for an unforgettable experience. Camp week exposes youth to all aspects of aviation while providing a path for youngsters to cultivate a passion for flight. Since 2009 the program has grown from 28 campers to 160 campers last year. Attracting kids from all over the US, the Future Aviators Summer Camp has become a recognized program by many as a unique and must attend summer camp for ages 7-15. We are proud to say that we have created a program that positively impacts youth where many of our campers have gone on to earn their private pilots license and attend college with aviation focuses in engineering, airport management, professional pilot, and the military. Registration is currently open for July 10-14 and August 7-11.

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Clinics and Programs at Penns Grove MS

6 Weeks: May 4 – June 8, every Thursday Ages 5-22: Clinic from 5:30-6:30 • $55 Middle and High School: Clinic from 6:30-8:00 • $70 Adults: Clinic from 6:30-8:00 • $70 Interested? Find more information and register at

Brandywine Virtual Academy (BVA) Online learning through Brandywine Virtual Academy (BVA) is a perfect opportunity for students to explore new electives whenever and wherever they choose during the summer months. BVA offers a wide selection of appealing electives to satisfy students’ interests, curiosity and thirst for knowledge. From Gothic Literature: Monster Stories to 3D Art to Veterinary Science: The Care of Animals - There is something to engage every student. All BVA courses are developed and taught by PA-certified teachers. Registration is open at | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


———|Landenberg Action/Adventure|———

Letting nature be the classroom TLC program aims to connect children with the outdoors


S Photos courtesy Stacey Gummey

Stacey Gummey and one of her young charges. ‘Miss Stacey’ gently guides, rather than leads, a small group.

Serious group discussion about earthworms is part of this preschool day.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

tacey Gummey believes young children should spend a good part of their day outside, regardless of the weather. “‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,’” said Stacey, quoting a popular sentiment among outdoor devotees. But being outside is about so much more than fun. It’s a wonderful way to learn, and engender a strong connection with -- and responsibility for -- the earth and life on it. Gummey runs “Drop In On Nature,” offered by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. In this preschool program, children spend one or two mornings a week on a private, seven-acre property in Kennett Township known at the Bucktoe Preserve Annex. The wooded land is full of trees, plants, hills, walking trails and a small stream – places where the kids can run, dig, build and think. “This place is really magical to children,” said Gummey, who lives in Chadds Ford. “Miss Stacey,” as she’s called by her students, is a warm and energetic woman who believes intensely in the importance of children relating to the outdoors. “I want to first begin with planting the seed of nature to form a lasting connection,” she said. “I strongly believe that if we plant the seed at an

‘It makes them feel older, and really, really smart.’ – Stacey Gummey, on why the children enjoy journaling

early age, children will have that rainfall and animal tracks; making sense of connection to the outside paint from berries, grass and flowworld; that they will always come ers; noting the difference between back to nature despite various heavier rocks and lighter rocks – paths they may take. Also, they which falls faster? can always call nature a friend.” Stacey said when the The program, fashioned after “friends” build something, the Forest Kindergarten, which itself process includes planning, crewill be offered by The Land ating, engineering, teamwork, Conservancy in 2018, has no trafollow-through and imaginative ditional lesson plan for the day. expressiveness. “It’s child-led,” Gummey said. The program size is kept small “They pick what the day is. That’s so the children can get individual Gathering sticks and counting. the curriculum.” Gummey studied attention. Currently there are six the concept at Cedarsong Forest children enrolled who regularly Kindergarten on Vashon Island in attend the twice-a-week sessions Washington, which based its program on a German from 9:30 to noon, with others coming one day a model. week. Classes run from September through midBut that’s where the learning starts. She gave an June. This fall, sessions will be offered three days a example of the children – or “friends” as they’re week, leading up to five-day-a-week kindergarten called – wanting to build something with small tree starting next year. limbs collected in a shed. They found a place they There are fun spots -- or “camps” as the children liked, next to their climbing tree, and ended up call them -- around the property. Among them: A leaning them against one another to form a small tent with a table and bench; a pow-wow area; a tepee. sandbox; a playhouse, where they go to tell stories; Lessons grow from the direction the children a meadow; and the inviting stream that’s home to follow. Although Miss Stacey is always there, she frogs, salamanders and numerous other creatures. is more of a guide than a leader. She said the A garden is planned on raised beds. “We looked approach was a new one for her, and initially not through magazines and decided everything we’re the easiest to implement. “It’s hard for me, having going to plant. It was a collaborative decision. And studied early childhood education and having been later we it get to eat it,” Gummey said. a director of a school in Washington, D.C. It’s very There are sheds that hold the wood that can be different,” she said. “I was used to getting down on used to build things. Children are taught the correct the ground and playing with them.” way to use a small hammer. There’s also a building But the playing that children do is all part of on site when a bathroom is needed. learning. Perhaps surprisingly, there’s also a meditation “Some people ask, ‘How do they learn enough to area, with small stumps fashioned into stools. What eventually attend a more traditional classroom?’” do they do there? Gummey said. She gave some examples: Creating “They ‘write’ in their journals,” Gummey said. letters or names with fallen bark; counting native “They’ll sketch something; a lot of them can’t write, plants, trees and animals; measuring leaves, trees, Continued on page 88 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Nature Classroom Continued from Page 87

so that’s what they’ll do. If they know letters, they’ll write them. Maybe they’ll write their name and draw a tree. It makes them feel older and really, really smart.” But just as important, it’s a place where they can go and just relax and be quiet. Stacey put a lot of thought into its placement. “I tried to pick a spot that was [near the stream] but it doesn’t trickle as much. You can really listen to the trees when the wind blows, and especially the birds,” she said. All the local nature, including the many species of birds in the area, are a source of endless fascination for the children. “We have a bird book that we bring out often,” Gummey said. “Parents will say, ‘My child said it was a red-tailed hawk and I didn’t believe them. But I looked it up and they were right.’” The concept of taking care of the natural world through conservation is stressed to the children. “We talk a lot about stewardship. I explain to them a lot of salamanders live under rocks, so we don’t want to


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

The children work on journaling in the meditation circle. Children are offered a place to sit and do quiet activities.

step on those rocks. There’s a lot of life in our streams,” said Gummey, who is a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, a title granted through an ecology program that includes

‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.’ – Stacey Gummey, on why an outdoor preschool is possible

rigorous scientific training and volunteer work. Stacey and her husband Michael have two children, daughter Endsley, 6, and son Hutch, 3. Both children thrive on being outdoors, she said; her oldest to decompress after a day at public school, and the youngest, “just needs to be outside.” She believes only good will come from encouraging children to connect with the outdoors. “It will never be too late to share the awe, wonder and goodness nature has to offer,” she said. “Let’s help get children back to being children and learning at their own pace and being able to create their own flow of the day.” Natalie Smith may be contacted at DoubleSMedia@

Children searching for amphibians while in the ‘Drop In On Nature’ preschool. They learn about nature stewardship and how important it is to place the rocks back the way you found them so the animals living under them aren’t disturbed. | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


—————|Landenberg —————|Landenbe erg Life|————— Lifee|—————

is for elephant, not extinction

JJen en Samuels Samuels of of Landenberg Landenberg works works tto o end end ivory ivor y poaching poaching Lisa Fieldman Staff writer


andenberg native Jen Samuels has a passion for saving elephants, leading her to start a non-profit called Elephants DC. The group’s mission is very clear: To end the ivory trade worldwide and advance elephant well-being. “I’m just one person making a difference for elephants,”she said. “Truly, anyone can make a difference if there is something you care about.

Photos courtesy of Elephants DC

Jen Samuels with Senator Lesniak and Assemblyman Mukherji. 90

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

“I’ve loved nature since I was a little girl, and when it came to elephants, I was always in awe of them,” Samuels said. When she attended Temple University, Samuels met another elephant enthusiast, Katie Lazaro. They quickly developed a close friendship, bonding over their mutual interest. Through her new friend, Samuels learned about the intelligence of elephants, their herd loyalty and their family groups. Tragically, in 2002, Katie Lazaro was killed, a victim of gun violence. “When you lose a loved one, especially tragically, something they cherished often becomes a symbol of that person. You hold on to that. With Katie it was the elephants,” Samuels said. In 2013, Samuels became aware that elephants were being poached to extinction. Through social media, she read about the massacre of 33 pregnant elephants in a protected range in Chad. “Elephants from different herds gather there until they gave birth. They have been doing this for thousands of years,” she

It is estimated that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes by poaching for the illegal ivory trade. Jen Samuels leads a march to ban ivory poaching.

Continued on page 92

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Jen Samuels Continued from Page 91

said. The previous year, more than 600 were dedicated to ending the ivory trade. It elephants and their young were killed in was through the DSWT that she first underBouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon. stood that the goal was a complete ban of Terrorists on horseback killed the elephants ivory. for their tusks, using grenades and AK-47s. “At first we were marching for the eleWhile more than 100 poachers took part in phants; I didn’t understand,” she said about the massacre, none were apprehended. the scope of the campaign. “Then things Reeling from the tragic news, Samuels started to fall in place. discovered that an international march for Elephants DC marches in support “After the first march, everyone said, of a worldwide ivory trade ban. elephants was being organized by the David ‘What’s next?’” Samuels said. “We marched, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The march was part we came to the White House, but the ivory of the trust’s iWorry campaign to bring awareness to the trade did not stop.” elephant crisis. So Samuels resigned from her position as a newspaper “Part of me thought if my friend Katie was here, the mat- editor and started the non-profit Elephants DC. “If there ter would already be before The Hague,” Samuels said. had been an organization fighting for a complete ban in the “She was one of the smartest people I knew.” Since Lazaro U.S., we never would have formed,” she said. But there was wasn’t there to stand up for the elephants, Samuels thought not, so Elephants DC took on that mission. she might organize a Philadelphia march. She ended up In July 2013, President Obama announced an executive being asked to co-organize the Washington, D.C. march. order to combat wildlife trafficking and diminish trade The global march was held simultaneously in 43 cities in animal parts, such as elephant ivory and rhino horns. around the world on Oct.14, 2013, connecting people who Continued on page 94

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Jen Samuels Continued from Page 92

The order underscored that elephants and rhinos, specifically, were facing “significant decline or even extinction.” Further, the report stated, “Wildlife trafficking is a multibillion-dollar illicit business that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations. The United States is committed to combating wildlife trafficking, related corruption, and money laundering.” The State Department and the United Nations both declared wildlife trafficking a security threat. The flow of funds has been tracked directly from the illegal ivory trade to rebel forces in Central Africa. In 2014, a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking called for a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory. The strategy called the illegal trade in wildlife a global security threat. While this ban dealt with the commercial import and export of ivory, it did provide provisions for the sale of ivory antiquities. “One thing I found, being a journalist, is [you have to] read the small print,” Samuels said. “A lot of times you hear, ‘U.S. bans ivory sales’ or ‘20,000 elephants are killed a year in Africa.’ If you look at the reports, there is always fine print. The 20,000 killed is based on the Savanna landscape,

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not the forests, where the elephants have been decimated up to 85 percent, like in Gabon and Tanzania. So you have to be a media watchdog, too. The media reported this as a U.S. ban, but it is not – it’s a near-ban. That’s the scary part -- the misinformation, when this is a race against extinction.” On World Wildlife Day, March 3, 2016, the United Nations declared that elephants are being poached faster than they are being born. Elephant herds continue to disappear. It is estimated that 96 elephants are being killed for their ivory every day. The face of poaching has changed over the decades. There has always been conflict between farmers and elephants. Farmers may have killed a marauding elephant to protect their crops, or an elephant might have been slaughtered to feed hungry families. But today, poaching has become a trade for highly organized terrorist groups using helicopters, GPS trackers, and assault weapons. The elephants are slaughtered, and tusks removed. Often, elephants are just immobilized by a gunshot and left to die a painful, lingering death. Killing elephants for ivory has been banned by international law, so the only access to ivory is through illegal poaching. A priority for Samuels and her team at Elephants DC is to

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promote ivory bans at the state level. They dedicate countless volunteer hours to raising support and finding a champion lawmaker who will stand up for the cause. “You need someone powerful to raise their voice,” Samuels said. Her first involvement with a state ban was also her most victorious. She knew that there were already people in the Garden State fighting to save the elephants. She added her voice, reaching out to members of New Jersey’s Congress and lawmakers. “I just called them up and said, ‘Ivory is killing elephants and funding terrorism, can you support me?’” she said. Within two weeks, she connected with the New Jersey Humane Society and met Sen. Ray Lesniak, who agreed to sponsor the bill. “Sen. Lesniak has sponsored some of the most far-reaching environmental laws in the country,” Samuels said. “He is a social justice campaigner.” The bill was passed within three months of its inception, one of the fastest moving pieces of legislation to ever clear the New Jersey House. Continued on page 96

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Jen Samuels Continued from Page 95

“In 2014, New Jersey became the first state in the U.S. to completely ban the buying, selling, or import of ivory, as well as the possession of ivory with the intent to sell. New Jersey shocked the world by their ban,” Samuels said. Riding on the success of the New Jersey bill, Elephants DC has continued to push for statewide ivory bans. Not all have been successful, but they keep fighting. The defeat of the ivory trade bill in Pennsylvania was particularly frustrating for Samuels. As she often does, she was called to give testimony at the judiciary hearing to ban ivory sales. “There was an amazing lineup of speakers,” she said. “I was scheduled to testify as an ivory trade expert, along with other people.” Included among the speakers were two schoolgirls. “These girls spent their weekends working on their speeches,” Samuels said. “More children are hearing about the issue and they ask the simple, pure question, ‘Why?’” However, right before the hearing started, the judiciary chair informed Samuels that she and the others could no longer testify. She feels that groups with a lot of political clout that oppose the ban, such as the NRA, successfully


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

block ban supporters from speaking. “I wanted to stand up and go on record,” she said. “My Pennsylvania spirit runs very deep.” She had a similar experience in Delaware, being invited to speak then having the opportunity taken away. “To be there, to be the voice of a species, and they won’t let you speak -- I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. Fortunately, her win in New Jersey has provided her with enough encouragement to keep fighting. Though the Pennsylvania and Delaware bills were defeated, new measures have been introduced this year. To date, California, New York and Hawaii have also passed laws banning ivory sales, but those state bans are not as comprehensive as New Jersey’s ivory trade law. “Strength multiplies,” said Samuels, using her favorite Bob Marley quote. It is a fitting mantra for her organization. In addition to their own work, Elephants DC supports the work of other organizations fighting to save elephants from extinction. They hold a fundraiser each year at the Gabon Embassy in Washington and continue to hold an annual march for elephants. Though the marches started small, every year they get larger as more people become aware. “Most people thought ivory trade was banned in 1989. The export of ivory out of

Africa was banned, but the domestic trade never stopped here,” Samuels said. This year’s march will be held on World Elephant Day, Aug. 12. It starts at the Lincoln Memorial and terminates with a rally at the White House. It is a family-friendly event and all funds raised support the organization’s mission. This fall, Samuels will will travel to Gabon, on the west coast of Africa, as the face of Elephants DC. With the support of Ambassador Michael Moussa-Adamo of Gabon, she is partnering with the Republic of Gabon and a local NGO. Her trip has three components: Field monitoring, youth education and antipoaching strategies. “I want to go as far as I can to connect with the youth, to inspire them to be the change,” she said. Gabon’s potential for eco-tourism is being considered. According to David Sheldrick, a living elephant is worth $1.7 million through tourism dollars, versus $30,000 for the ivory. “I don’t know how far I can get on this first trip; I have to be realistic,” Samuels said. She

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has planned her trip to coincide with the full moon, as most elephants are killed when the night is bright. “It’s a very dangerous time for an elephant. I am a peaceful person, but I feel like this is a war we must win,” Samuels said. “The cost of extinction is too great.” Visit Elephants DC at for more information and events. Visit for additional resources on the fight to save elephants.

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————|Landenberg Life Community|———— What began as a conversation soon became a goal, and now, after more than two years of patience and planning, the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department is, at last, a realization

‘We’re better together than apart’ By Richard L. Gaw Staff Writer


All photos by Richard L. Gaw

Deputy Chief Michael King and Police Chief Gerald Simpson of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department.


Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

he graphic identity for the new Southern Chester County Regional Police Department contains an eagle with widespread wings. In its claws, the eagle holds a ribbon, on which is included “2016,” a year that signified not just when the department was officially incorporated, but one that tested the patience of those who dreamed it into being. The seeds of the concept to form a regional police unit in southern Chester County date back more than two years ago, when then New Garden Township Police Chief Gerald Simpson asked the township to consider merging or partnering with other police units as a way to stabilize the costs of providing police coverage. Initially, the concept of forming a regional police unit in southern Chester County garnered the attention of several townships and municipalities. The timing of its placement coincided perfectly with national attention to community policing. On Dec. 18, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order appointing an 11-member task force to develop a report on 21st century policing, in response to a number of serious incidents between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect. A large component of the report included Six Pillars of 21st Century Policing, which are building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; technology and social media; community policing and crime reduction; training and education; and officer wellness and safety.

Police Chief Gerald Simpson moderated a recent awards and recognition ceremony for members of the former New Garden Township Police Department.

Simpson’s idea was not a novel one. Hundreds of communities across the nation have merged their police units into regional departments -- but it was new to Chester County. In theory, it would set the tone for how policing would be implemented in the county for generations. It would create the opportunity to bring all police operations in the southern region of the county under one roof; give each officer and each department the gift to wrap their best skill sets into the fold of a larger whole; and allow for added police protection by virtue of strength in allied numbers. But like a tumbling arrangement of dominoes -- and for a number of reasons -- the townships and municipalities that had latched themselves onto a study to explore the feasibility of establishing a regional police department in southern Chester County began to fall, one by one. As the plan slowly began to unravel, Simpson feared that his idea would become “Simpson’s Folly.” When the dust cleared, only two players remained: New Garden and West Grove Borough and its fivemember police department, who provided coverage to its nearly 3,000 constituents. Over the course of several meetings and discussions between the Borough’s Public Safety Committee and Borough Council, it soon became evident that joining forces with New Garden Township was a good idea.

“I thought then that it was a tremendous amount of work to do, only to potentially see it come apart,” Simpson said. “Yet, we were able to reset our compass with a partner who ended up being the best fit. West Grove had the needs that we were able to offer. In turn, they had something they were able to offer New Garden in order to allow us to reach the stability we wanted in our coverage.” On Jan. 1, 2017, after several months of meetings, proposals, contract negotiations and approvals, the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department went live. Two weeks later, before an audience of more than 250 at the Kennett Middle School, Magisterial Judge Matthew Seavey swore in 19 officers, each of whom received their official departmental pin from the person of their choice. Those sworn in included officers Justin F. Busam, Matthew T. Cordone, Eric S. Shallis, Joseph Fetko, Christoper Connelly, Richard N. Townsend, Stephen M. Madonna, Benjamin Brown, Jeremy A. O’Neill and Ryan Kushner; as well as first class officers Justin T. Fonock, Jason L. Ward, Mario M. Raimato, Jr., Joseph Cooper and Gerard Lindenlauf. In addition, officers John M. Gibson, II and Joseph P. Versagli, III were sworn in as corporals; Joseph F. Greenwalt was promoted to the office of sergeant; Continued on page 100 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Police Continued from Page 99

while Michael King and Simpson were sworn in as the from a $10,000 grant offered by Chester County District department’s deputy chief of police and police chief, Attorney Thomas Hogan. Of those funds, $3,400 will go respectively. toward the purchase of two police mountain bikes – as The regional unit provides 24-hour coverage, seven well as equipment – that will be used by officers. About days a week, 365 days a year to both the borough and $2,000 of the grant will be used to produce ‘Challenge the township; employs 15 full-time officers, eight to Coins,’ which will be distributed to residents and comten part-time officers; one administrative assistant and munity members for doing good works. In addition, one records clerk. The unit citations will be given to works out of two locations: youngsters for good behavNew Garden’s temporary ior – such as helping the barracks on Gap-Newport elderly, behaving properly, Pike, and West Grove and wearing the right safety Borough’s police offices in equipment the borough’s administraIt’s part of a concerted tion building. effort by the regional departThe annual cost of the ment to engage the entire regional department will be community it serves. divided according to popuSgt. Joseph Greenwalt, who lation: The township, with is heading the Community close to 13,000 residents, Service Unit, has engaged will pay for 80 percent of his unit in a lengthy roster of the yearly budget, and the community outreach initiaborough, with nearly 3,000 tives, including establishing residents, will be respon- Officer Raymond Sullivan was sworn in on April 13 as the newest a constant connection to member of the regional police department. sible for the remaining 20 area youth, especially those percent. The total budget who frequent the After-thefor the new department will be $2.358 million – an Bell Program in the Kennett Consolidated School District, investment of $128,710 per officer, a lot lower than and Garage Community & Youth Center in West Grove. many departments invest in their officers, some of whom Every week, officers stop by the Garage and have indiare over $200,000 per officer. vidual conversations with youngsters who visit the youth While Simpson is charged with the task of overseeing center, “just to make sure everything is good at home,” the entire department as its police chief, Deputy Chief Greenwalt said. “If we’re going to call ourselves a comKing heads up day-to-day operations and scheduling, munity service unit, it’s important to become involved which will provide regional patrol to three areas of cov- with these young people.” erage, with at least two police vehicles patrolling each: By the summer, Greenwalt expects complete a comnorth of Gap-Newport Pike into Toughkenamon and munity policing policy handbook that outlines the south of Gap-Newport Pike into Landenberg, which will department’s philosophy. be patrolled twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; “Community policing isn’t just walking around a and throughout the West Grove Borough, which will be community,” he said. “It’s dedicating a day to ride our patrolled from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and quite possibly bikes through the neighborhoods and allowing ourselves extending until 3:00 a.m. become visible, not just ride around in our vehicles with “We didn’t just merge two different data base systems, our windows up. It has to become more than an action, we merged two families as well,” King said. “I am pleased but a philosophy and then a directive, one that the entire with how things are going, but I shouldn’t be surprised at patrol division can take with them to the communities our progress, because the process of this merger was very they serve.” well thought-out, and we took the time in the months If there is one blemish to the operations of the leading to its beginning to plan correctly.” newly-merged unit, it is a temporary one. As a result The regional department will also benefit in its first year of a severe mold problem that forced the close of the 100

Landenberg Life | Spring/Summer 2017 |

former headquarters of the New Garden Township Police Department, Simpson and his staff have been forced to conduct business in a connected splotch of temporary trailers on Gap-Newport Pike. On Feb. 21, Sean Goodrick and Jason Maguire of the Wilmington-based architectural design firm Tevebaugh Associates gave a presentation to the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors that cracked open the doors to the plans now for a new headquarters. The 11,716-square-foot, single-story, L-shaped facility will include a 400-square-foot lobby and a 540-square-foot community multi-purpose room; a secure administration area, which will include offices and a conference room; a detective bureau area and interview and testing rooms; storage and locker rooms; and holding cells and two sally ports for transportation of the incarcerated and storage of vehicles retained as evidence. The design and construction for the facility will go out for bidding this summer, and estimated that construction should be completed by October 2018. Before construction begins, the now closed site will be demolished and

the temporary police facility will be moved off the site. While the new facility is being built, the regional unit will use temporary space. On Aug. 15, 2016, New Garden Township’s supervisors gave final and unanimous approval to the sale of the township’s sewer system to Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater, Inc. (Aqua) for the price of $29.5 million. At several public meetings since the sale, New Garden’s appointed and elected officials have said that a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go toward the construction of the new police facility. Simpson believes that the need for a new police facility has been the number one issue facing the New Garden community for some time. “I know we have road construction and improvements we need to do, but from an infrastructure standpoint, you have a professional police organization that has been operating in some terrible working conditions, for some time. I am so happy to see this board [of supervisors] -all of them, and Township Manager Tony Scheivert and Continued on page 102 | Spring/Summer 2017 | Landenberg Life


Police Continued from Page 101

others finally see that, and put energy to this, with a purpose of finding a solution and getting it to a resolution.” When Corporal John Gibson first began his career as a police officer in 1985, under former police chief Gerald Davis, he said there was one traffic signal in the middle of Toughkenamon; Penn Green and Newark Roads were controlled by stop signs; and Somerset Lake was not yet a lake. Even then, he said, the talk of police merging was on the discussion table, based on how to properly police a growing population that was beginning to call the Landenberg community home. “As time goes by, we have had more and more people coming to the area, who are coming here from areas that had full-time police service,” Gibson said. “It’s going that way and it’s been building up to this. I think this is going in the right direction, and this is the future of policing in this area.” King said that the 24-hour, seven-day a week operation of the merged department, now in its fourth month, has already been embraced enthusiastically by the staff, and that its impact has already been felt by community

residents and business owners. “If I could use one word to describe our current operation, it would be ‘Legitimate,’” King said. “We all just feel that we are more legitimate as a professional police organization now, as opposed to going about policing on our own. A lot of that comes from the resources that became available because we merged.” In an interview he gave to the Chester County Press in 2016, Simpson was undeterred in his belief that a regional police department would gradually -- and eventually -- change the way Chester County looks at policing. “I’m confident that I have great people around me -- great officers and personnel -- to handle the mission that’s in front of us,” he said. “We will stabilize our coverage, beef up our administrative staff, and improve our investigations. By putting our two departments together, we can deliver public safety better. “We’re better together than apart.” To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail rgaw@

5th Annual

STUDENT ART EXHIBIT April 28 – April 30 • 11am – 5pm American Legion Building, Broad and State Street An annual community event showcasing the creativity and talent of our youth. This year’s participating schools are: Kennett Consolidated School District Unionville-Chadds Ford Schools Avon Grove Schools | Oxford Schools Sanford School Grades k-12, exhibiting fine art, photography, and 3-D. There will be a preview party on Friday evening, April 28 from 6:00 p.m.8:00 p.m. which is open to all teachers, students, parents, the press, Borough Council, the mayor, HKS, and Kennett Square merchants. Light refreshment will be provided Please plan to come out in support of our kids and show your community spirit. For more information contact:

Linda Thies, Coordinator 610-444-5595 | Sponsored by: Kennett Area Restaurants and Merchants Association (KARMA) PAID ADVERTISEMENT


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