Land Matters Fall 2020

Page 1


FALL 2020


• Research at our Preserves • Change in Perpetuity


David E. Resnik TREASURER


Jennifer Trachtman SECRETARY


Nancy Bartley Therese Bentley Robert R. Berry Donna L. Brennan Ann Dyer L. Stockton Illoway Gwen Kelly Klein Cary F. Leptuck Jim Moore Ellen Kittredge Scott, Esq. Mark Willcox, III Robert C.F. Willson, Esq

STAFF Bill Gladden


Conservation Initiatives

Research at our Preserves



4 Change in

Pamela Brown

24 New Board



Will Caverly

10 Accomplishment


Member and Staff

26 Getting



13 Landowner



28 French Creek



20 Donor

Nancy Long

Iron Tour

29 Our Forests Our Future:



Online Auction Party


Our Mission is to preserve, steward and connect people to the land in northern Chester County. SECTION HEAD ING??

FRENCH & PICKERING CREEKS CONSERVATION TRUST 511 Kimberton Road Phoenixville, PA 19460 610.933.7577 EMAIL


FALL 2020








Mentions on Cove

Article Me r? ntion?


Naturally Resilient


our support over these past months has meant the world to us at French & Pickering. As we have observed in our lives and as you will see in the pages that follow; a lot has happened in the last year! I have enjoyed crossing paths – albeit at a distance – with many familiar faces when picking up my local CSA share and frequenting roadside stands for fresh produce and homegrown beef. Whether you are all in on vegetables, enjoy a perfectly grilled burger or steak, or like internationally acclaimed cheeses and wines, the value of our permanently preserved farms throughout northern Chester County are priceless. Since March, a lot has changed about how we live as well as what we value. While we missed gathering for the Iron Tour at the Kimberton Fairground; participants, staff, and volunteers pulled together and executed our first virtual event. So many great photos and stories brightened our days and warmed the soul. Thank you all for that and leaving us eagerly anticipating 2021. We were also grateful for new and returning visitors who need a place to go and connect with nature. Thanks to your support, generous benefactors, and enlightened landowners, the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve historic site and trails are there when we need them most. We are planning an expanded trail network there and are also thrilled to re-open the Great Marsh Uplands for visitors. We are blessed with natural resources and love nothing more than sharing the land and the stories it tells. Now, more than ever, the beautiful areas French & Pickering has preserved over the last 53 years provide priceless benefits. As we reflect upon the past and examine where we are, French & Pickering continues to deliver land preservation, stewardship, environmental programs and public access opportunities. We are also examining how we go about our business to make sure the benefits of nature are available to everyone. As our parks, preserves, trails, fields and forests remind us of nature’s resiliency and provide a familiar touchpoint in a rapidly changing world, we are also reminded of the strength and beauty found in human and cultural as well as ecological diversity. Making sure our organization’s culture promotes these elemental principals is the only way to fulfill the promise of permanent preservation that is the foundation of our work. French & Pickering’s governance committee has established a diversity, equity and inclusion working group that has developed this guiding principle as part of the strategic plan: create an organizational culture which promotes diversity, equity and inclusion as we advance our conservation goals for the health and benefit of all in our community. In this edition of Land Matters, we explore the powerful community connections forged through conservation and conversation. We celebrate our challenges and share our success. We acknowledge the important role nature plays in our physical as well as mental health. We thank our Land Matters 2020 sponsors for the opportunity to express our gratitude and share our stories. Thank you, be safe, come visit the preserves when you can, and take care.


Bill Gladden, Executive Director

“ We are blessed with natural resources and love nothing more than sharing the land and the stories it tells. Now, more than ever, the beautiful areas French & Pickering has preserved over the last 53 years provide priceless benefits.” BILL GLADDEN

Bill Gladden Executive Director

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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Land Matters Fall 2020


New Programs Connect the Community with the Land and Environment


The Morris Society

fter many months of sheltering in place, wearing masks, social distancing and visiting with very few friends, I think how lucky we are here in northern Chester County to have so many beautiful trails and parks to explore and enjoy and to find our own resiliency. I’m grateful that French & Pickering has been able to offer the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve and The Great Marsh Uplands Preserve (approximately 800 acres total) to everyone for outdoor enjoyment, especially Penny Hunt, Board President during this pandemic. I hear regularly from people who have reconnected with their love of nature and our amazing environment. Many have brought their children to our preserves and as a family have enjoyed spring’s emerging bounty and summer’s abundant growth of our native flora. I’m happy to say that French & Pickering supported this rekindling by continuing to provide our Third Thursday Talks and Second Sunday Scenes events – virtually! Our talks have provided local information on topics such as Pennsylvania’s white-tailed deer and coyote, local butterfly identification, tree planting, and even local geological history. The Second Sunday Scene events have drawn followers outside for scavenger hunts for local birds and invasive plants! These virtual presentations are recorded and made available on our award-winning Facebook page and the French & Pickering website where they receive thousands of hits, proof that more and more people are connecting more than ever with our open space. An important message French & Pickering is communicating through these programs is support of our native flora and fauna. By planting native plants and shrubs, getting rid of invasives and non-natives (which our insects cannot eat) we will be providing the food for our native insects. They in turn provide food for our birds and amphibians. And, as they are flourishing, the larger creatures will thrive. Providing for this native food web is a worthy goal for all of us and will make for a healthier environment. Saving open land and protecting our water through perpetual easements, enjoying nature at our preserves, and being active in planting native plants and shrubs – this is the message of French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. It is you, our supporters, that make it possible. Together we make northern Chester County an even better place to live.

Penny Hunt President of the Board of Directors

2020 has been a year of profound challenges. As a country and as a community, we have examined our priorities in the context of world events and how they impact our lives and those of friends and families. We have seen situations spontaneously unravel and also examples of strangers coming together to overcome unforeseen obstacles. At a time when things can feel out of control, our nature preserves, parks, trails and farms are economic and psychological bright spots that we can count on. In 1967, when French & Pickering began its journey to permanently preserve 13,135 acres and counting, we knew that preserving the landscape of northern Chester County landscape was a good investment. Dividends were, and continue to be, distributed in the form of trails, where we can connect with nature and local farms that provide a wide variety of food locally grown and sold. Think how different it would be if previous generations had not given us this foundation of conservation. Envisioning the years ahead and generations yet to come, we hope you will consider including French & Pickering in your estate plans. There are many ways to offer the kind of long-term support we need to conserve our community and pass on the rich natural legacy we inherited. The enclosed brochure on planned giving outlines a variety of options. If this is something right for you, or if you have already included French & Pickering in your plans, please return the tear off card included with the brochure. If you would like additional information, email

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Since assuming the role of Hopewell Big Woods Partnership Coordinator, French & Pickering has taken a closer look at the various interpretations of “healthy forest management,” especially


in the context of perpetual conservation easements. The importance of our forests cannot be overstated. They provide habitat, sequester carbon, are natural pollutant filters and serve as cooling canopies for our High Quality and Exceptional Value waterways. Many people are under the impression that conservation easements prohibit all tree cutting, but that is generally not the case. As with any evolving document,

“ One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on the land is quite invisible to laymen… in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” LDO LEOPOLD, 1949, A SAND COUNT ALMANAC

the language addressing forest management in older easements can be vague, sometimes leading to present-day violations. When timber harvest plans are submitted or tree cutting violations occur, French & Pickering is fortunate to be able to consult with Dr. James Finley, Professor Emeritus, Penn State Forest Resource Management. In the following article, Dr. Finley addresses the challenge of reconciling perpetual easements with an ever-changing planet. PAM BROWN, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION, FRENCH & PICKERING


Land Matters Fall 2020


onservation easements are an important tool for conserving land. In some ways a conservation easement is a preservation tool; however, conservation and preservation are two very different words. Conservation is about conserving resources – not being wasteful and using resources properly. Preservation protects resources from use. Preservation puts resources in a jar; conservation allows the use of resources. If those resources we conserve are renewable, then with care we can sustain those resources into the future even as we use them. Land conservation has multiple dimensions. Land appears stable, and as such, it is possible to preserve the physical space that is the land; however, the land is changing, it is dynamic in its both biotic and abiotic components. Suggesting that it is possible to preserve the land is to say that it is static, unchanging. The values associated with conserved land will change, it is impossible to stop change and to preserve something like land. When French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust or any conservancy agrees to conserve land, it enters into a legal agreement to protect specific values in perpetuity, which is a long time. Broadly, these values are social (e.g., trails, views, historic resources), economic (e.g., farming, facilities), and ecological (e.g., forests, plants, water). Society supports conservation easements and the intent to keep or maintain the land and associated values. This is a commitment to conserve designated values and is about looking forward, providing for those who will follow. Change, though, is the challenge. There are at least three spheres of change affecting conservation easements. First, over time a conservancy will change, as does every organization. Staff and board members will interpret language and values differently. The legal systems under which organizations work and function will change. Second, in many cases, the needs and values of future landowners will change. Some easements might involve the

public across large landscapes such as the Hopewell Big Woods. Conserving resource values will involve negotiating easement implementation while including multiple stakeholders as community needs and values evolve. More simply, consider a smaller conservation easement as it transfers from one individual landowner to the next. Even this will involve challenges as new owners

ecological health. This is not easy to resolve and will become increasingly difficult over time. Taking the example further, what if the conservation easement constrained forest management and did not allow tree cutting with the intent of sustaining songbird habitat? Looking to the future, it is going to be increasingly difficult to care for a degraded ecological systems as invasive species

In the end conservation will depend on our ability to have conversations about the land. It is important to inform those conversations with good science, open information sharing and dialogue. work with a conservancy to interpret legal documents designed to conserve values that the original grantor wanted to conserve. The third change is the most complex and potentially the most difficult to consider. It draws in Leopold’s quote at the beginning of this article. The ecology of the land will change. Ecological systems are more complex than we can understand and are always changing. As Leopold suggests ecological change is not always clear nor understood. To understand what Leopold is saying consider a real-world example: walking through a forest, some people see a lush, green, healthy forest. There are layers of vegetation from the forest floor to the high canopy. From their perspective, this is perfect. There is no reason to change anything. This group has only one concern, about poison ivy, a native plant they fear. Another group walking the same path sees nothing but problems. The forest floor is full of garlic mustard and periwinkle, the shrub layer is autumn olive, bush honeysuckle, Japanese barberry, and multiflora rose. The higher canopy shows some native trees; however, there is Norway maple, paulownia, and tree-of-heaven. They are happy to see the native poison ivy. The challenge is how to address the ramification of conflicted beliefs about

increase footholds in our native systems, climate change affects species distribution, and people interpret ecological shifts in different ways. The point here is not to be overly negative; rather, it is to note that people are part of the system and it is necessary to work creatively and adaptively to maintain ecological systems and values. The land is the fundamental resource conserved by conservation easements. Our current easements ensure that the land will remain. It will remain open; however, it will change. As people who care about the land, we have to look to create tools that will help conserve the social, economic and ecological values as best we can by adapting our tools to care well for the resources we have conserved. In the end conservation will depend on our ability to have conversations about the land. It is important to inform those conversations with good science, open information sharing and dialogue. Our dialogue must be the free and open exchange of information to create new understanding. If you care about conservation, it is important to be open and willing to learn about the ecology of the communities you want to conserve. Dr. Jim Finley is Professor Emeritus of Forest Resources at Penn State and was the Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Forest Resources Management and Director of The Center for Private Forests at Penn State.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Bees Get a Boost at Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve BY WILL CAVERLY

The Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve got an infusion of pollinator assistance this spring with the installation of ten beehives. Sitting on the edge of the meadowed uplands of the preserve, the bees are part of a cooperative pollination agreement between local beekeeping business Extract & Box LLC and French & Pickering. These bees will live on the preserve year-round, providing agricultural value to our treasured preserve. Extract & Box beekeepers Tim Ferris and Don Finn helped Preserve Manager Fred Gender with installation and troubleshooting right at the height of the pandemic crisis in April. But springtime waits for no one. Beekeeping requires careful timing. Tim brought in the new volunteer pollinators on a blustery April 2. The warm spring had accelerated the timetable for installation of our new six-legged friends. A “bee package” constitutes about three pounds of docile worker bees and a queen in her cage. Getting these bees used to each other – the queen and the workers were just as new to each other as


Land Matters Fall 2020

they were to us – involves a careful calculus of scent control, as Tim explained. The new queen’s scent needs time to spread through the hive. On a follow up exam, Tim explained that we’d seen one-hundred percent success with queen integration. Tim and Don are community members with an investment in French & Pickering’s work. Co-owning Extract and Box LLC, now the third largest apiary business in southeastern Pennsylvania, Don Finn and his wife Liz are longtime supporters of French & Pickering. Don is also a Deputy Waterways Conservation Officer for the PA Fish and Boat Commission. For his part, Tim’s beekeeping work has him crossing continents. A Master Beekeeper with over ten years of commercial beekeeping experience, Tim moves between New Zealand and Chester County, focusing on cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications for all-natural bee by-products. Tim lives in Chester Springs with his wife Jane and their son. Jane met Tim through his co-op that he runs at Milky Way Farms where his wife grew up.

While honeybees provide valuable agricultural service as a pollinator, apis mellifera is not native to the Americas. The arrival of the honeybee in America marked the introduction of a competitor species to our local pollinators. A few hundred years ago, bumblebees and butterflies had a new contender at the flower. Conscious of the nature of honeybees as an introduced species to our continent, French & Pickering is creating habitats for native pollinators to thrive. Cultivating your own native pollinator habitat is a simple exercise compared to keeping honeybees. Grab your power drill and fit a 5/16" bit. Drill 6-inch holes into hardwood at an angle so that rain doesn’t pool in them. Mason bees will arrive on site to use these new dwellings in no time. As Fred and his volunteer force work to restore the preserve to a setting resembling its natural roots, look out for some of our pollinators raiding local flower buds. Honeybees love cherry trees and dandelions in the spring, goldenrod and aster in the fall.

Kestrel Chicks Banded

Stroud Water Research Center provides the testing. Staff Entomologist and Director of Facilities David Funk was assisted by David Bressler, Project Coordinator, as they took a close look at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve’s portion of French Creek. French & Pickering Executive Director Bill Gladden was on site and took photographs.

at Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve

Hellgrammites, which are macroinvertebrates, are indicators of good water quality.

Testing the Waters Using Water Monitoring to Measure Environmental Impact BY WILL CAVERLY AND BILL GLADDEN

A happy partner in the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI), French & Pickering receives water quality monitoring at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve because of generous funding from the William Penn Foundation. High quality, scientifically rigorous monitoring from organizations like the Stroud Water Research Center is critical to understanding the environmental impact of open spaces like our preserve, and the rest of the Warwick Furnace Valley, much of which is protected by French & Pickering easements. This water monitoring operation included algal sampling. Nutrient-rich waters, abundant in our area, can be packed with organisms like algae that influence water quality. Where you find hellgrammites, you might also find other pollution intolerant species like freshwater clams and water pennies. The DRWI is an ambitious project to protect the high value watershed properties in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. French & Pickering represents just one of 40 organizations banding together with funding from William Penn to make the Delaware River watershed a cleaner place for human and nonhuman residents. The French Creek watershed is one of six creek systems feeding into the Schuylkill River. Water from the Hopewell Big Woods, where the preserve sits, crosses a mix of suburban and pastoral landscapes as it enters the Schuylkill River near Phoenixville. According to DRWI, our immediate Schuylkill Highlands area supplies drinking water for 5,400 people, much of it coming from the high-quality streams that also support wildlife and valuable plant species.

A family of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) has found a snug home with French & Pickering, taking up residence in a kestrel box installed by Preserve Manager Fred Gender at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve. At the height of social distancing, Fred, volunteer Jim Moffett, and Natural Lands Regional Director and trained bird-bander Steve Eisenhower, took on the task of banding the kestrel chicks born this spring. Banding is a low-risk method of tracking birds over time and has been used by humans for thousands of years. After fledging, these baby kestrels will set out on their own. Bands gave each kestrel a unique ID number in the US Geographic Service Bird Banding Laboratory. Bands can be recovered and referenced in the database, giving us a better idea of the health of these important falcons.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Long-Term Chickadee Monitoring at Great Marsh Uplands Preserve BY WILL CAVERLY

You might not notice them at the Great Marsh Uplands Preserve (GMUP), but off the old logging road, usually nestled in beech glades or amidst thickets of spicebush, are 100 experimental “nest tubes” deployed by Villanova chickadee researcher Dr. Bob Curry and his team. According to Dr. Curry, the 22-year-old project is one of the longest-running Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) experiments in the country. Dr. Curry described scouting out possible research sites in 1997, saying, “The Uplands property, which at the time in 1998 was with the Nature Conservancy, worked out really well for us. It’s pretty accessible.” Under examination: data on Carolina chickadee behavior for use in a variety of different experiments. This work on Carolina chickadees fits into Dr. Curry’s broader research goal. For years, the Villanova behavioral ecologist has studied the ever-moving “hybrid zone,” the temperate stretch where the southern Carolina chickadees breed with the northern Black-capped chickadees. The Curry Lab has spent years establishing the link between the hybrid zone’s gradual northern march and rising temperatures due to climate change. Today, the hybrid zone rests near Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania. Dr. Curry estimates that northern Chester County was the hybrid zone in the 1960s. Because of that northward trend, GMUP represents a wholly Carolina chickadee population, making it an excellent site for understanding all the nuances of their behavior. “Some of our stuff at Great Marsh is Carolina chickadee research for its own sake, because hardly anybody else does it,” Curry said. Carolina chickadee


Land Matters Fall 2020

researchers are few and far between, making the Curry Lab’s work even more valuable. Nest tubes emulate cavity nesting in a controlled manner. By adding some sawdust and controlling volume and entrance size, the Curry Lab can usually get about sixty nest “starts” in any given spring. Mating pairs then establish twenty or thirty nests. But nesting tubes aren’t bird fortresses. House wrens, flying squirrels, and black rat snakes are common predators. In addition to the nesting tubes, the Curry Lab also deploys feeders, where they can study banded birds. But putting feeders in the field presents problems. “Squirrels are our nemesis,” Dr. Curry said, “They raid the feeders and make a mess.”

When they aren’t protecting their current experiments from mischief, the Curry Lab has planned out some ambitious research goals. In the winter of 2020, Dr. Curry and his team hope to put the Carolina chickadees through intelligence trials using Passive Integrated Transponders on banded birds (think EZ-Pass for our feathered friends.) The goal is to better understand the Carolina/Black capped chickadee hybrids and their unfortunate performance in intelligence trials (see: Hybrid Chickadees are Terrible at Memory Games, by Knvul Sheikh, 4.03.18 at By establishing a baseline using the Carolina chickadees at GMUP, the Curry Lab hopes to have the data to study hybrid intelligence with more rigor. 1.855.HC.Today

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French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



French & Pickering Ranks among the Top Land Trusts in Pennsylvania French & Pickering has long been dedicated to maximizing the public benefit of its efforts. With over 53 years of work in northern Chester County, French & Pickering is one of the top-ranked nonprofit land preservation organizations in the state in several key areas according to the WeConservePA’s Annual Census Report. In addition to the total number of Perpetual Conservation Easements category, French & Pickering ranked:

Number of Perpetual Conservation Easements RANK



Lancaster Farmland Trust


2 Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art


3 Natural Lands (incl. Montgomery County Lands Trust)


French & Pickering Creeks 4 Conservation Trust




Land Conservancy of Adams County

• 5th highest in trail easements • 12th in terms of acres under permanent French & Pickering Conservation easement with over 7,000 acres Trail Easements • 16th in acres of land owned out ts emen s a E f of 64 land trusts across the state 2012 er o Numb Acreage who reported land holdings Total With your support, the foundation of permanent protection in northern Chester County, established by Sam and Eleanor Morris, will continue. The wealth of natural resources and public access opportunities provided through their hard work and the generosity of past supporters has never been more important to our physical and mental health. Your support today will help us provide these benefits and more into the future.



and MID-

2020 Acreage 7,079

140 150 152 161 165 169 177 179 181 JULY 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020


Land Matters Fall 2020

French & Pickering By The Numbers



acres of publicly accessible space

species of aquatic and land animals recorded at Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve

number of land conservation agreements closed in last five years



acres preserved in the last five years

individual donors in 2019

number of conservation easements



townships with French & Pickering easement landowners

acres total preserved by French & Pickering since 1967






119 items in the 2019 Annual Auction Party’s silent auction


5,167 acres.


7 perpetual trail easements


ranking in PA Land Trust Association for Perpetual Conservation Easements

1,183 acres transferred to government entities



Renewing our Accredited Status French & Pickering earned the seal of accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance in 2016. This seal was awarded after a highly structured and extensive independent formal review during which it was verified that French & Pickering meets the high standards for land conservation, stewardship and nonprofit management. The seal of accreditation must be renewed every five years and the in- depth renewal process has already begun. It is expected to be equally as comprehensive as the original accreditation process. French & Pickering continually improves its organizational standards to meet new and evolving guidelines for nonprofit land trusts.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



610–917–9940 12

Land Matters Fall 2020



I sat down on Zoom early this year and talked to Michel Laroque about the conservation easement on the property he and his family recently purchased in West Vincent Township, part of the Sixteen Years Partnership Project we covered in Land Matters, Spring 2018. Michel was kind enough to fill me in on his thoughts about owning an eased property, the importance of communication, and some wildlife encounters on the new homestead. What got you interested in this property in the first place? I’ve always loved driving along St. Matthews Road, coming over the hill, and seeing that property. And I definitely have a soft spot for old properties that need to be rehabbed. That fell right in our wheelhouse. It’s a beautiful piece of land and the Sixteen Years Project did such a good job of preserving all the land around it, being adjacent to Bryn Coed, it was an all-around win. That’s why I completely fell in love with the property.

At what point in the process did you understand that there was a conservation easement on the property? As soon as we inquired about the property and the listing. Bill Cochrane (James A. Cochrane, Inc.) was straightforward and honest about the easement and then it was up to us to do our due diligence. To be honest, this was all new and foreign to me. I was originally a little apprehensive, not knowing about easements and everything else. And then Bill set up an appointment with Pam Brown, Director of Conservation, French & Pickering. And as soon as we walked out of that meeting, I felt so comforted with the whole easement. I realized it was a partnership. I was very comforted that the whole thing was a partnership, that we were working together and had the same goal in mind, opening up the forest and making our own kind of “little park.”

Have you had any experiences with wildlife on the property? There are so many birds. I love pulling into the property and seeing all sorts of things. I’ve seen fox and deer, but I never realized how many birds we have in the area! What about your plans for the property? We are starting with the house that’s there. It doesn’t fit our family, with four kids. We’re looking to put on an addition, while keeping the existing house the focal point, and not trying to take away, but enhancing the property. Long term, we want to restore the barn; it’s been neglected for some time, and bring the property back to life, the way I envision it back in the day. I think 16 Years, which used to own the property, and French & Pickering, did an unbelievable job of allowing us as the new owners, to have a good plan and a good base that was very workable and realistic, as far as making our additions and working on our driveway. It’s all there and it’s all straightforward and they took the guesswork out of it for us. They made me at ease with the whole process and what’s allowed.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Backyard Woodlands: A Love Story BY LILLIE ROSEN

Looking up at the trees, trails of vines were slung over every branch, like matted hair. Oriental bittersweet. Japanese honeysuckle. Young dead trees, barely taller than myself, were wrapped in them, like sad sculptures. Across the woodland floor, bushes with bright yellow branches and red berries had colonized every foot. Japanese barberry. Close behind it in dense patches were tall and viciously thorny stalks that grabbed at you as you walked by. Multiflora rose. The spaces in between were chaotic colonies of bright red and furry half-circles growing in continuous loops. Japanese wineberry bushes. Beginning in February, we trudged every day to this overtaken corner of the woodland in our backyard to evict these unwelcome plants. With shovels, shrub removal tools, and our bare hands, we

“ As we learned, our caretaking developed. We researched and planned the native plants to replace the invasive ones, to make it harder for them to re-establish. What once was an endless tangle of barberry, changing the soil chemistry and upsetting the ecosystem, was now serviceberry, ninebark, witch hazel, button bush, chokeberry, coralberry and other native shrubs and understory plants.” LILLIE ROSEN

pulled them out by the roots and piled them up at the woodland edge. A connection began to grow between this patch of woods and ourselves, as we started to know each of its spaces – the beech grove, the bend of the small stream, the courageous spice bushes eking out their survival surrounded by invasive plants. The changing seasons brought both delight and despair. While new enemies emerged – garlic mustard, knotweed, and the dreaded Japanese stiltgrass – native friends also began to lift their heads. First, the small and delicate spring beauties. Then showy orchids, in pinks and purples. Jack-in-the-pulpit. Purple and yellow violets. As we learned, our caretaking developed. We researched and planned the native plants to replace the invasive ones, to make it harder for them to re-establish. What once was an endless tangle of barberry, changing the soil chemistry and upsetting the ecosystem, was now serviceberry, ninebark, witch hazel, button bush, chokeberry, coralberry and other native shrubs and understory plants. Using fishing wire, we created a simple fence to close off the patch of woods, so that native plants trying to grow would have a fighting chance against the hungry deer. It will be a long battle to try to build this piece of the woods into a healthy habitat with native and diverse food sources where our insects, pollinators, birds, and other local wildlife can thrive. But it is a critical and worthwhile one. What started as a project, has grown into an act of love for the native creatures and plants big and small fighting to survive in a changed ecosystem. Lillie Rosen and her family live on Warwick Furnace Farm, a family-owned and operated farm in Warwick Township. Find out more at


Land Matters Fall 2020

Lamb McErlane is proud to have worked with F&P for over 40 years. We congratulate F&P for its success in preserving open space for generations to come.

When it comes to buying & selling real estate in Chester County, who you work with




Gardens which increase in value and beauty over time

Gardens which increase in value and beauty over time

has beenwhich privileged to represent Gardens increase in many clientsover in the value and beauty time

Year round, naturalistic, low maintenance gardens

Year round, naturalistic, low maintenance gardens

Year round, naturalistic, F&P Creeks Conservation low maintenance gardens

What legacy will you leave?

610-640-0164 James A. Cochrane, Inc. sale & acquisition of

Trust eased properties.

610.469.6100 French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Lundale Farm is building a community of local farmers growing healthy food. We’re proud that the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has easements on all our land. Interested? Contact us about building a community at your farm.

Lundale Farm is a nonprofit organization that manages a 520-acre historic property in northern Chester County, PA.

We lease land and housing for farmers committed to growing wholesome foods, using organic methods that enhance the health of the land and the community.

Providing Comprehensive Legal Solutions Since 1955 .

John A. Koury, Jr. Richard D. Linderman David S. Kaplan Henry T. Zale David A. Megay James C. Kovaleski Michael B. Murray, Jr Rebecca A. Hobbs James R. Freeman Gary L. Stein Joseph K. Koury Melissa A. Iacobucci Thomas P. McCabe

Accidents & Personal Injury Divorce • Custody • Support Zoning & Land Use Planning Business Planning Real Estate & Title Insurance Real Estate Settlements Elder Law • Estate Planning Probate & Estate Admin. Special Needs Planning Criminal • DUI • SS Disability

41 E. High Street Pottstown, Pa 19464


347 Bridge Street, Ste. 200 Phoenixville, Pa 19460



Land Matters Fall 2020

In 2019, we lease space to eight independent farm businesses, including four resident farm families.

Carroll Engineering Corporation Water Facilities Engineering Wastewater Engineering Municipal Engineering Structural Engineering Traffic & Transportation Engineering Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering Planning & Site Design Surveying Geographic Information Systems Construction Management Corporate Office: 949 Easton Road Warrington, PA 18976 215.343.5700 630 Freedom Business Center 101 Lindenwood Drive Third Floor Suite 225 King of Prussia, PA 19406 Malvern, PA 19355 610.489.5100 484.875.3075 105 Raider Boulevard Suite 206 Hillsborough, NJ 08844 908.874.7500


The DiBono Family and Pandanwal Farm BY WILL CAVERLY

Opportunity can sometimes surprise you. On purchasing their 31-acre farm in East Coventry Township, Patti and Dan DiBono didn’t expect to jump headlong into their non-profit animal rescue. But when the property opened up, they knew they had a great opportunity for themselves. “I had been involved with rescue for a long time as a volunteer. When we were looking at properties, we weren’t looking for anything this big. But this farm fell into our lap. [Pandanwal] kind of evolved from when we moved here. We knew we could help.” The DiBono family placed their family farm into easement with French & Pickering this spring, around two years after establishing the Pandanwal Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of displaced farm animals

(see more pictures of their animals at Their intent is to provide lifelong care, sharing the joy of the animals in a relaxed, farmbased environment. Their conservation easement allows for this kind of animal welfare work to be done, while also preserving the property in part as habitat. Patti sees her establishment of a conservation easement on the property as being part of her lifelong dedication to conservation. “I grew up around the corner, so I’ve watched the face of Chester County change a lot. I moved away for a while, so it was disappointing to watch Chester County go from rolling hills to developments when I got back.” East Coventry Township helped French & Pickering establish the easement and fund future monitoring.

Asked to tell her favorite rescue story, Patti said that it was a difficult question. Picking one animal’s story would feel like picking a favorite child, she said. “They all have stories. As we’re talking, I have a cat in front of me that we pulled from a shelter. Everybody came here for different reasons.” They have gone to incredible lengths to rescue animals, though. Once, her son drove the family minivan in some November snow to rescue animals from a feed lot. Animals from feed lots – where they are being fed for slaughter – need a special feeding regimen and a vet visit, meaning that Patti and her husband Dan bear a lot of expense. Both have full-time jobs and operate Pandanwal in their spare time. In the future, Patti wants to promote Pandanwal by having an “Open Farm Day,” where visitors can get to know the animals the DiBonos have come to love. French & Pickering is happy to support non-profits that enhance the lives of animals and humans throughout northern Chester County. Easements like the DiBonos are a treasured part of our portfolio of preserved properties.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust





Bob and Denise Davis didn’t originally plan on a conservation easement. But when confronted with the steep cost of subdivision, building and preserving the natural beauty of their 17-acre farm, dividing the farm into individual homesteads for each of the children didn’t seem like a win. That’s when the Davis family turned to French & Pickering to help them meet their goals. One of the most important aspects of the conservation easement process is allowing the owners to find an ideal solution for their life on the land. French & Pickering worked with the Davis family to make sure that provisions in the agreement meant they could expand living quarters and remain comfortable in their own home. Bob Davis explained the outcome in an interview recorded last year: “What [Pam Brown, Director of Conservation] was able to do is figure it so that we can stay in our house until we can no longer live there. We can actually put in an in-law suite and/or change the garage to make another living unit.” 18

Land Matters Fall 2020

This solution allowed the family to keep the property as is in perpetuity. Denise told her children, “You will never have to drive by here in fifty years and see a development sitting here.” She added, “It’s going to be nice for our grandkids to know it’s intact, and who knows, one of them might live here someday.” This summer, Bob and Denise were able to host a socially distanced wedding for their youngest daughter. “We thought that someone would get married here and it finally happened,” Denise said. For Bob and Denise, preservation is also a commitment to their community. The Davis easement sits in a strategic location for French & Pickering’s work. By adding their property to contiguous properties conserved by French & Pickering, the Davis family closed a gap in a conservation corridor along Union Hill Road. In Bob’s words, a developer can provide a community with a set of houses, but few property owners can provide the community with a beautiful piece of nature that enhances property values and

ecosystems around it. With Charlestown Township developing quickly, the Davis family saw their easement as part of a neighborhood legacy. Adding to the incentives were Charlestown Township’s open space funds. Its open space tax allows Charlestown Township to buy the easement from the property owner outright. The ease of transfer made it possible for the Davis family to reach their goal of preserving their entire property in one piece and being able to afford to live there. Bob explained the value he sees in the property every single day, saying, “I like looking at open space, I like taking a walk. I like playing in the dirt. As I move on, which I hope isn’t any time soon, I’d like to keep it that way.” When asked about any advice she had for those in the community, Denise said, “If anyone who has some real interest in doing an easement, they shouldn’t wait until the pandemic is over.” Socially distanced options for closings are available.

LENTZ, CANTOR & MASSEY, LTD. Attorneys at Law 460 E. King Road Malvern, PA 19355


Albert P. Massey, Jr. Andrew H. Dohan Wendy W. McLean Heather Burns Pozniak

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French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust




$10,000 TO $100,000 37th Annual Auction Party Archie W. and Grace Berry Foundation Keith and Rene Bentley Raymond and Therese Bentley Robert and Laura Berry Paul and Cynthia Black Blue Sky Family Foundation Finn and Emily Caspersen Chester County Preservation Partnership Program Jane Dugdale and Karen Beam French Creek Iron Tour George and Miriam Martin Foundation Gwen Kelly Klein Dr. Su Carroll Kenderdine Cary Leptuck and Nancy Corson Merck Matching Gifts Ranney and Terri Moran John Spurlino Lawrence and Harriett Stone The Frank E. and Seba B. Payne Foundation The John and Shirley Nash Foundation James and Mary Jo Thompson West Vincent Land Trust Peter and Eliza Zimmerman


Land Matters Fall 2020

$5,000 TO $9,999 Bentley Systems, Inc. Donna Brennan and James L. Bergey Thomas and Joan Cloetingh Sherri M. Cornish Dr. Bradley and Ann Dyer Penny and John Hunt Naturescapes West Vincent Township

$1,000 TO $4,999 Alliance Environmental Systems, Inc. Nancy and John Bartley Susan and Julian Berry-Gorelli Dr. Markley Boyer William and Sheryl Bullitt Ann and Adam Cathers Bill and Annemarie Cochrane Hartley and Barbara Connett Customized Energy Solutions, Ltd. Christopher DeMont Tom Diederich Dollfus Insurance and Financial Services Donald Pell Gardens Jo Anna and Kara Dougherty Dr. Donald J. Rosato Charitable Foundation Megan DuBois

George and Helen Edwards Friends of Charlestown Julee Gooding Peter Gordon Griffiths Construction Inc. The Hankin Group Vincent and Donna Hartnett Peter and Alice Hausmann Ronald Heiken David and Julie Herbener Greg Hillyard Charles and Jean Humphreys James A. Cochrane, Inc. Realtor Charles and Nancy Jenkins Barbara Jordan Kase’s Corner Tod and Carolyn Kehrli Robert and Noelle Kennedy Robert and Betsy Legnini Lentz, Cantor & Massey, Ltd. LS Stone Masonry Manito Abstract Company George and Christy Martin Meridian Bank Miss Betty’s Day Camp Jim and Joan Moore Tom Morelli Kim and Kirk Morgan Nararo Foundation John and Shirley Nash Joseph and Rosie Nicholas

Lawrence and Susan O’Donnell Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Fiduciary Trust International Peter Zimmerman Architects, Inc. Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program Pickering Hunt Pony Club Pioneer Registration Services David Resnik Paul and Leigh Scheuritzel Karl and Katherine Schoettle Ronald and Laura Siena Sila Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc Stonewall Links L.P. Rush Taggart and Dorothy Bedford The Aranda Group The Wilson H. Taylor Family Charitable Fund Jen and Michael Trachtman Trellis for Tomorrow Max and Debra Utterback David and Janine Van Ommeren Richard and Carolyn Veith Robert and Marilee Ward Robert and Margi Watters Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. Wharton Business Group, LLC Robert and Sheryl Willson Tildy and Tyler Wren


You’ve found refuge in nature, which is why you’ve gone the distance in supporting us. Please consider doing so again! Every donation to French & Pickering goes directly to funding the preservation of landscapes in northern Chester County. Below is a snapshot of our generous donors from 2019. We are immensely grateful for your help in keeping northern Chester County preserved for future generations! Today, we need your help more than ever, so please consider joining us in 2020! Inside these pages you’ll find an envelope ready to send back to French & Pickering with your generous donation. If you’re more comfortable giving online, visit to make a one-time or recurring donation to French & Pickering.

$500 TO $999 Thomas and Kristen Bissinger Carroll Engineering Corporation Erik and Anna Caspersen William and Barbara Chalupa Aaron Cohen and Liana Yoo Connectivity Systems, Inc. Melvin and Lynne Cooksey George Cooney Cullen Construction Inc. Delaware Valley Paving Karren and Ed DeSeve George Dulchinos Stephanie Edwards Elise Erler Thomas Faust Jr. Fred Gender Green Valleys Watershed Association John Harkins Jr. Yvonne Heckman Herbein + Company, Inc. Historic Yellow Springs Holly Gross Reality Group Johnson & Johnson Keith and Rita Kaplan Karen Beam Architects, LLC Land Services USA, Inc. Edgar and Cathy Latshaw Doris Leisch Macadam Company Aldo and Anna Magazzeni

Joseph and Sandy McKenna Raymond and Mimi McOrmond Meliora Design Robert and Mary Ellen Meyers Samuel and Carolyn Morris Richard Owens and Margaret McGoldrick PECO Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust Pickering Valley Feed & Farm Pride & Joy Earthcare Sara Shick Henderson Supplee III Blake Swihart and John Allor Tingley Rubber Corporation Vanguard Charitable Ruthven and Nancy Wodell YourCause, LLC

$100 TO $499 Theresa and Harold Andes John and Kathleen Arnold Jr. Patrick Barrett Bartlett Tree Experts Cynthia and Raymond J. Beckler Jr. Jack and Priscilla Belsinger Kimberly Billesbach Bohem Assiciates Adrienne and Scott Boyance Jennifer and Andrew C. Brandt Erin Bruni

Susan and Kurt Butler Daniel Cathers Chester County Fox Hunters Association Nina and Stephen B Christiansen Colleen and John Ciarrochi Edward Claghorn Mark and Cynthia Ann Clark Barbara and Allan Cohen James and Sarah Congdon Stephen Cottone John Crampton Colleen and William Cranney David J. Creagan Marie Dalton-Meyer Margarette and D. Weston Darby Jr. Lisa and Heath Davis Alex De Jong Antelo Devereux, Jr. Jeanne and Anthony J. DiFrancesco Jr. Andrew and Margo Dinniman Anne and Richard Donaldson Joseph and Susan Donohoe Stacey Dunlap East Pikeland Township Shari Egan and Taylor Braendel George and Angela Elser Energage, LLC Anthony Famulari Katherine and Barrett Farnham Jr. Joseph and Elizabeth Fay

FinancialForce Donald J. Finn and Liz Rutter James and Suzanne Fisher Warren and Jessica Fisher Terry and Frank B Foster Aaron and Kimberly Fox Joy and Steven J Fram Dr. Richard Fried Dr. Leslie D. Gall Ellen and Hyman D. Gillman William Gladden GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Judith and Walter E. Goodman III Kristine and Alexander Gordon-Watson Suzanne and George Graham Frances Gray Allan and Peggy Greenwood David and Nancy Greer Michael Groman Thomas Guastavino William and Victoria J. Hanko Carolyn and John Heathcote Blair and Katrina Hellebush Marda Heuman Ernie and Carlyle Holling Edith and Dunham Hollister Jr. Holly Gross Realty Group Robert and Nancy Holman Richard Holmes Linda and Carl T Horner John and Sewall Hornsey

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


2019 DONOR RECOGNITION Helen Howlett Evan and Wendy Hunt James Jackson JustGiving Keller Williams Real Estate Kenneth Carroll Real Estate Mojdeh Keykhah and Peter Trentacoste Kimberton Whole Foods Allan and Gay Klien Maurice and Drusilla Kring Debora and Kevin R. Kuhn Victoria E. Laubach Nancy and Michael Ligon Alice and John A. Linton Jr. Celeste and Lawrence M. Liss Dorothy H. Lowery Joan H. Lowery Sandra and Dave Malamed Lisa and Shaun Mannix Howard and Colleen Marano Deborah S. McKechnie Cynthia and Richard Melsheimer Richard L Merhar Casmir and Marilyn Michalski Elizabeth N Miller Carmella and Jim Moffett Sandy and Robert Momyer Barbara and Richard Morgan Courtney Morris Moira and Kenneth Mumma Anne Murphy National Bank of Malvern Patricia and Nicolas Nauta Jean and Paul Nemeth Network for Good Maureen Noonan Meghan Noonan Steven Noone Jeffrey MacDonald and Joanne Nuscher O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C. Andrew and Cheryl Ott Matt Pappajohn Maryanne and Leo D. Parsons Elise Phillips Pine Creek Imaging Gregg Price Joanne and William Quain Dr. Kirk and Jody Reinbold Catherine and Al Renzi

Ailean and Dewey Robbins Leslie Rohrbach Edward and Dolly Rosen Marcia Saunders Mary Savage Sarah and Karl Schoettle Eileen and Robert Schoonmaker Steven Shuchat Colleen and Duane Stanton Joe and Karen Tankle The Bank of New York Mellon Bradford Tiffany Elliot Titcher Isabelle Travaglini Howard Twaddell Anthony Vale Victory Brewing Company Noreen and Gary Vigilante Thomas Walker Stephen Walter Christopher and Patricia Washburn Alice Waters Richard Weber William and Dawn Weigand Kenneth West Larry and Debbie Westfall Thomas Whitman William Wood Company Craig Williams Mary Ann and Kenneth Wittle Chris Wright Nonya Minturn Wright III Sherley Young Michael Zedalis Dunwoody and Susanna Zook

UP TO $99 Hampton Addis Christine Agresta Kenneth and Dana Alan Charles Allen Amazon Smile Foundation Jeffrey Andrews Anonymous Joseph Armstrong John Astill Kenneth August Janet M. Baldwin Christy Beal Todd Bearman David A. Bellenzeni

Perry Benson Jr. Michael Benton Charlotte Betancourt Leslie Bluestone Stephen Brauer Mindy Brown Michael E Bryson James Busch Ann Caulfield Cigna Foundation Fred F. Danziger Ross J. Davis Thomas P. DeLucia Jr. Butch Dimitris Phoebe Driscoll John W. Erbe Lisa Evans Louis Fancher Terry Feather Shanlee Fisher Molly Fitzpatrick Gerard Foti Karen Galli Enoch Gao Alvin Gilens Peter Githens Corey Gleason Charity Charge Global Impact Thomas Glodowski Linda Godfrey James Gonnason Ellen Goodman Michael Grajewski Daphne Hanford Matthew G. Harrington Timothy Henkel Peter Illoway Timothy Johnston Lance Jolly Howard Kallender Michelle Kane Frank Kaplan Sara Kellerman Diana Kelly Jeffrey Kelly Mark Kern Drew Kolbeck Tony Li Linda Lipsky Nancy B. Long Kenneth Louis

Patrick Mahoney John P. Mallamo James Maneri Paul Maurer Edwin Mayall Barry McHale Bernard S. Meagher Jr. Francisco Mejia Rodman O. Merrill Michael Mikhail Mark Miles Fred Minahan Cynthia Neel Andrew J. Novoshielski Tom Nykanen Scott Pence Robert W. Pierce Kristen Price Mark Putnam Thomas C Pyle Laura Pyott Q Cycling LLC Fred Reisser Nicholas Rotoli Nicholas Scassero David Schiman Andrew Schmidt Samuel Schulte Timothy Sharpless Zellen A. Shelton James Shinehouse Jackie Sloan Travis Smith Hugh Snyder Jack J. Sosiak John Stefankiewicz Denton Stoudt Randy Sylvester Robert S. Terefenko The Benevity Community Impact Fund Susan Truitt Timothy E Walsh John Walter Merian Waters Kenneth Watson Barbara A. Weaver Cathie Whitlock Anne Winn Kathleen L. Wright John and ZoAnne Yeager

Report includes gifts and pledges made to French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust from January 1, 2019 through January 15, 2020. Gifts received after January 15, 2020, will be reported next year. Every attempt has been made to produce an accurate report. To report errors or omissions, please contact Will Caverly, Director of Communications and Development, at 22

Land Matters Fall 2020

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust Offers Stewardship Consultation Would you like to learn how to care for your property in an environmentally sensitive way? French & Pickering now offers the services of a stewardship advisor who will walk your property with you for one hour to provide stewardship tips. These might include how to spruce up your gardens, add native plants to your landscape, manage invasive plants, reduce the size of your lawn, help our bees and butterflies, create bird habitat, and reduce fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide use. The Stewardship Consultant can help to identify plants on your property. You are welcome to ask questions, take notes, or record their visit. Properties within a 20 minute drive from Phoenixville are eligible. Property owners are encouraged to have their questions ready, and identify areas of focus. Contact Donna Delany at for more information. The cost for the Stewardship Consultant hour is $75.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



French & Pickering Welcomes New Board Member and Staff

Welcome to the Board of Directors Ellen Kitteridge Scott Ellen is an easement holder and attorney living in West Vincent Township. She has a long history of work with Pepper Hamilton LLP (now Troutman Pepper), starting there as a legal assistant and ending her fee-based practice of law as a Partner in the firm’s Health Sciences Department. Ellen defended large scale toxic tort litigation and represented manufacturers and marketers of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and medical devices in defense of complex mass torts, product liability, and consumer fraud litigation. She is now semi-retired and serves as Special Counsel in the firm’s Berwyn office

where she does a variety of pro bono legal work. She is also a Fellow of the Pepper Center for Public Service and she serves on the Board of Orion Communities, Inc., an organization in Phoenixville which seeks to address the unmet needs of individuals and families experiencing hardship due to poverty, disability or illness. Land preservation and stewardship have always been critically important to Ellen. She grew up on a farm in Massachusetts where preserving open space and caring for the land were core family values. She went to college in Philadelphia and subsequently fell in love with Chester County where she has lived ever since. In addition to her work, she now spends time in her garden, on the mower, with her dog, and walking on her property which is under easement with French & Pickering.

Welcome Will Caverly, Director of Communications and Development Will joined the French & Pickering team on April 1 and spent his first few months working remotely due to the pandemic, not even setting foot in the office until June. Despite the challenges, he jumped

with many thanks We thank Ann Cathers, Paul Black, and Kirk Reinbold, Ph.D. for their service on the Board of Directors. Ann continues working on educational outreach as Chair of the Program Committee and Paul continues to volunteer with the Membership Committee in a fundraising role. Kirk served multiple terms on the Board of Directors and we are grateful for his service.


Land Matters Fall 2020

in with both feet. He served as Executive Director of the Mill at Anselma, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Ursinus College, and has worked with many non-profits throughout the region. Operating with a “big tent” philosophy, Will wants to continue broadening our connections in the northern Chester County community. He has spent most of his life in Chester County and lives with his wife in Elverson between parcels of preserved land. Will can be reached at or 484.278.1148 and would love to talk to you about French & Pickering.

JOIN THE MISSION! French & Pickering is always seeking out spirited and energetic volunteers with a passion for conservation and the outdoors. The following committees could use your precious time: • Programming Committee: Chair, Ann Cathers • Auction Committee: Chair, Blake Swihart • Development Committee: Chair, Ann Dyer In addition, French & Pickering’s two preserves need boots on the ground in order to continue to function as valuable access points to the natural world. Get your tools out and email to get involved!


Educational Programming at French & Pickering The Third Thursday Talks and Second Sunday Scenes continue! Despite the pandemic, we have continued to provide quality educational programming for all ages through these programs. Thanks to Ann Cathers, chair of the Program Committee, speakers over Zoom have included: • Chester County Park Rangers Chris Wales and Nate Helminiak, giving wildlife talks on whitetail deer, coyotes, and black bears • Franklin & Marshall professors Drs. Dorothy Merritts and Robert Walter on geology and history in our watersheds • Penn State Master Gardeners Debra Carman on cultivating your property for butterflies and Phoebe Robb on Fall Tree Planting

Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Kern Volunteer at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve

“My commitment to the outdoors and open space began when I was growing up surrounded by farmland outside Media in Delaware County. That’s mostly all gone now and I realize how important protection of open space is. I enjoy giving back through volunteer activities such as trail maintenance and as a hike leader. As I live in Elverson, I am especially grateful for the open space preserved in northern Chester County by French & Pickering and other conservation groups.”

In all, we have had over 200 active participants in these talks, as well as had over 3,500 views of the recordings on Facebook ( Catch the Third Thursday Talks and Second Sunday Scenes on Zoom as we adjust for pandemic conditions. Subscribe to our email list by visiting Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click the “Sign Up Now” button.

FEATURED EVENT: DECEMBER TREE DECORATING In December of 2019, the community gathered at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve to decorate for the holiday season. The Tree in the Meadow, a stone’s throw from Anna’s Oak, hosted local families to participate in a wholesome tradition: decorating a tree using homegrown and homemade materials. All ornaments were wildlife-friendly and materials were provided by French & Pickering at this family friendly event. The event hosted several families who not only got to enjoy decorating the Tree, but also hot cider and treats. French & Pickering is looking toward a similar socially distanced tree-decorating event this coming December 2020, continuing the tradition and bringing holiday cheer to the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for the date and time!

French & Pickering is incredibly grateful for our volunteers. We could not do our work without them. If you are interested in volunteering, from picking weeds to data entry, please email us at

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



facebook connection @FPCCT


Facebook – you either love it or hate it! For the thousands of followers of French & Pickering’s Facebook page (7,000 at the time of writing), it has been a way to connect with nature during an extremely stressful time. A direct extension of our mission to preserve, steward and connect people to the land, visitors to the page learn daily how to care for the soil, plants and creatures we depend on to keep our streams healthy and clean. Never has the soothing quality of nature been more vital than during the COVID-19 quarantine. We hear daily how much people appreciate our positive message and the chance to connect with nature and each other. Our page is the place people come to share their excitement over seeing a Monarch butterfly or the first bloom on their asters or to debate which flower pollinators prefer. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust September 7

Halloween on Labor Day - thanks to a scary fungus! Hot, humid August trips to the grocery store revealed a ghoulish sight - Halloween. The commercialization of All Hollows’ Eve begins early in stores. But in nature? On a thick late summer morning, with the mist hanging low, the stench of death spirals into your nostrils. Puzzled and fearing the worst, you look about, first at a distance, then closer, and yet again closer before discovering the evil about to grab at your feet - Clathrus archeri. It’s the Devil’s Fingers, a member of the stinkhorn group of fungus. Stinkhorns use the odor of rotting flesh to attract insects, who spread their spores. They look eerie, too, stretching up from your woodchip pile. You can find the demonic zombie phalanges emerging from the wood chip trails of our nature preserve, the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve, when the conditions are spooky and right. Scary stuff, eh kids?


Land Matters Fall 2020

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust August 9

Lanternflies Bottle Did you know that lanternflies like to jump in bottles? Neither did we! Gratitude to Scott Essteeahrate for capturing this video and sharing. Don’t want to get close or too many bugs? Check out our top tips for killing them on the top of our Facebook page. #1Fav Method – knock the lanternflies to the ground with a strong stream of water from your hose or power washer. Vacuum or shop-vac them all up while they are dazed and confused on the ground. Or put sticky tape on your tree and catch them as they crawl back up – they crawl instead of flying when dazed. Take the sticky tape down when you have caught all the bugs. #Lanternflies_JumpInBottles #SingleUsePlastic&Lanternflies

Having more unscheduled time and spending that time at home, people are discovering the joy of making space for nature in their yards. They report being richly rewarded for adding native flowers and bird feeding stations by the delight of watching the antics of songbirds, butterflies and bees. The more one observes nature, the more one notices and learns and connects. This connecting heals. A Google search of “the health benefits of nature” reveals study after study showing the improvement in physical and mental health we gain from time spent outside as well as from time spent viewing nature. Visiting our page provides folks stuck inside with their daily dose. We also offer

tips on places to go and what to look for, perhaps offering a little incentive to those who need a boost to get off the couch. When the Spotted Lanternfly arrived in neighboring Berks County, people who were living through the initial infestation flocked to our Facebook page to exchange lanternfly horror stories, observations and creative home-grown solutions to the problem. As nature came to the rescue, citizen scientists armed with iPhones shared videos of native insects and fungus attacking and eating the invader. Our page has become a hub for effective, environmentally friendly ways for the average homeowner to kill lanternflies without doing harm to the native ecosystem. Over a million people a month see our posts, and we hope millions of lanternflies have been dispatched without harming our water, soil, beneficial insects, or songbirds. What’s the current most popular tip? Using a shop-vac, dust buster or vacuum with a micro-attachment to suck them off plants. Another popular tip is to make a sticky wand by wrapping duct tape inside out around a stick, catching the lanternflies as they jump or fly. People comment weekly: I have learned something. Thank you. I will change my habits. We have found Facebook to be a powerful way to share information that directly and immediately helps our watersheds. Donna Delaney is Stewardship Advisor at French & Pickering and is the creative force behind our Facebook page. Find out more at

Proudly serving Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties for 40 years. Proudly supporting French & Pickering for a lifetime.

Tree and Shrub Planting Landscape Design • Site Preparation Grading • Tree Removal • Stump Grinding • Pruning Mulch • Composted Topsoil • Fertilizer • Seed and Sod Weeding and Edging • Annual and Perennial Flowers


French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust





ach year more than 1,000 people anticipate French & Pickering’s annual cycling event, the French Creek Iron Tour. Their reasons include love of northern Chester County’s open space, eagerness to see the “Preserved Forever” signs on the protected parcels, communitybuilding and family connection, support for French & Pickering, and personal health goals. The pandemic presented a challenge for this year’s ride. However, to satisfy the cyclists’ anticipation, raise critical dollars for ongoing conservation, and in honor of co-founder Eleanor Morris Illoway’s indomitable spirit, we “forged” ahead with the “2020 French Creek Iron Tour: Forge Your Own Adventure”! The unsupported Iron Tour took place between June 14 and 28, and over 300 cyclists chose one of the classic routes ranging from 11 to 100 miles, or they forged their own adventure nearby or at a distance – even from a stationary bike! One of the most heartwarming stories of the two-week ride was the Gilens family’s experience. Al Gilens of Gladwyne, 87, a longtime rider and supporter of the Iron Tour, got a chance to once again ride an Iron Tour with his grandson Josh Gilens, 29, who left the east coast for Denver, Colorado, because of his medical residency. Al and Josh took full advantage of the virtual event, riding simultaneously although 2,000 miles apart. They reported in with each other throughout the day and shared a virtual lunch. Combined, they rode more than 73 miles, with Al completing a 28-mile course that took him through Valley Forge Park and Josh riding over 45 miles in and around Denver. “We coordinated the start time and the


Land Matters Fall 2020

lunch time, but he had me way beat on the miles,” Al Gilens told French & Pickering. Josh added, “I am so very grateful for this virtual tour. Thank you for the chance to get another ride with Grampy. Now that we have the idea, I suspect this will not be our last virtual ride of the season. And the fact that we got to do it while supporting the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust was an added bonus!” A special thank you to all of the riders and sponsors for making the 18th Annual French Creek Iron Tour a very successful event – even in the face of a challenging pandemic!

Josh Gilens (left) rode the “Forge Your Own Adventure” Iron Tour event in Denver, CO, while Al Gilens (upper right), his grandfather, rode locally. Together they rode over 100 miles combined.


Our Forests

Our Future

Join French & Pickering’s Online Auction Party! Help support preservation and conservation in northern Chester County October 28 through November 7, 2020. No tickets. No travel. Just bid. Our festivities, normally held at Stonewall Golf Club, will be shifted to an online platform for this year. We hope to create the same excitement about the outdoors during a year where they have become more important than ever. French & Pickering has gathered at the Annual Auction in celebration of open space for 38 years and we hope to return in person come year 39! Items this year will include incredible local experiences (at social distance, of course), handmade crafts, fine dining in Chester County, and the chance to make your contribution to our two preserves, the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve and the Great Marsh Uplands Preserve. Visit

Mark your 2021 calendar for Sunday, June 13 and join us for the 19th annual

is proud to support

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust