Land Matters Fall 2014

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Water Matters

OUR MISSION is to preserve and protect the endangered land and natural resources in the northern Chester County watersheds for present and future generations.

Do you have another water image that we can use here? Either Moffet generic water photo or preferably something specifically related to the Water Matters article?

board of directors Cary F. Leptuck PRESIDENT



Jennifer Trachtman SECRETARY


Nancy Bartley Robert R. Berry Donna L. Brennan Ann Dyer George W. Edwards III William D. Flagg Penny M. Hunt L. Stockton Illoway Tod R. Kehrli Su Carroll Kenderdine, MD Maurice W. Kring Shaun Mannix Christopher McGowan James O. Moore Richard Veith Mark Willcox, III Peter H. Zimmerman, AIA IN MEMORIUM

James T. Klein



Sara Painter


Water Matters

Table of Contents



Events 2014

The Great Marsh Conservation News


New Staff and Board Member

Accreditation Update and 1% Program


Education Initiatives



In Memorium

Protected Lands in the French and Pickering Creeks Watershed


Join French & Pickering Now

4 7

What a Difference a Decade Makes



Patrick Gardener Conservation associate

Barbara Detwiler administrator

Zellen Shelton

Focus on Photographer

Jim Moffett


French & Pickering was lucky enough this

Nancy Long

year to recruit volunteer Jim Moffett to

stewardship COORDINATOR

Donna Delany

take photos of our preserved lands. Jim is a


Chester County native and we thank him for

Kersten Appler

his beautiful photos!


Perspectives from the Leadership


used to live on a lake. When I say “on” I mean it literally, as our living room was built on pilings out over the edge of the lake, a no-no now, but not much thought of when my wife’s great uncle built the place over a hundred years ago. On hot summer nights, we would leave our bedroom on the upper floor, open all the windows and doors, throw a thin mattress on the living room floor and sleep there, a few feet above water level, and inches above the den a muskrat had carved out between the floor joists. As the cooling night air flowed down the hillsides around the lake it would also flow through the room bringing with it the raw scents of fish, frogs and muskrats. I loved those nights. We lay there anticipating the breeze, listening to the croaking bullfrogs and the small watery sounds of fish breaking the water surface searching after nocturnal bugs. I dreamt of bluegills… In 2005, I attended a small conference in Garrison, New York, where I met a young marine biologist named J. Nichols. “J.” was just becoming known for his work with Mexican fishermen to protect sea turtles from overharvesting. In fact, J. was the first scientist to successfully track a loggerhead turtle migrating from the coast of Baja to Japan, a migration of 6,000 miles. J. told me how he captured and tagged turtles. Riding out to sea on small fishing boat, the captain would pull alongside a turtle. J. then leapt off the boat onto the turtle’s back. While he held tightly onto the shell, the turtle would dive, trying to lose this person on its back. J. would then pull up on the leading edge of the shell to steer the turtle back to the surface. Wow. Earlier this year J. came out with a book, Blue Mind—The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, & Better at What You Do. In J.’s words “something mystical can happen to the mind and heart when we intersect with nature. Humans are surrounded by man-made buildings, objects, and environments, and it can become harder and harder to remember our intimate relationship with this beautiful blue planet. But magic can happen in the fleeting moments in which we notice the natural world—the sunset that causes us to catch our breath, the murmur of wind rustling through trees, the sharp, clean smell of rain on grass or the tang of salty air near a shore, the feel of sand or dirt underfoot. These moments reconnect us not only to nature, but also to our own nature; they carry with them the recognition that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.” (J. Nichols, Blue Mind) J. makes a convincing argument, one that resonates with my own gut feelings. It is fully consistent with both emerging science and the basic human tendency to live and vacation near the ocean, lakes and rivers. That special, calm feeling you get at the beach is real, healthy, and surprisingly, measurable. So, jump in! It may just make you happier.

Andy Pitz Executive Director


s Board President I can tell you firsthand how much difference we are making in the area and how thankful I am to have a dedicated staff, Board and volunteers to help our mission of preserving natural resources in northern Chester County. So many people are a part of what we do, and this year was no different. More than 300 volunteers this year have contributed over 7,500 hours of service. That is a strong testament to the importance of our land trust. In addition to the Annual Dinner, the Iron Tour and the Auction Party, we have had several landowner education events, including a workshop on how to connect local landowners with farmers interested in leasing land to produce food crops. I am proud of our efforts made towards sustainable agriculture, and thank our partners at Lundale Farm, Inc. for helping to get these programs off the ground. Much of our focus this year has been on water quality, thanks to the generous three-year grant we received from the William Penn Foundation. We are making history as we work with other conservation groups to protect the Delaware River basin where more than five million residents directly benefit from land preservation in northern Chester County. Your support is critical. Please make a contribution to our annual appeal before the end of year. You will feel good knowing you are a part of the great group of people committed to making our community a healthier place for generations to come.

Cary F. Leptuck Board President

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


by Sara Painter



he cover of this issue is a vision of The Great Marsh, created by artist Deb Kuhn. For years, Deb’s illustrations have conveyed the natural beauty of the northern Chester County landscape to our community and became the distinctive signature of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Undeniably, our local landscape is a precious place where land, water, fish, flowers, plants and animals all strive to find balance. No other place encapsulates this balance of nature better than the Marshlands in East Nantmeal.

I lived in Elverson, on Creamery Road, while I was an undergrad at West Chester University and drove down this stretch of Route 401 hundreds of times, but I had never even heard of The Great Marsh until I started working at French & Pickering. The first Board meeting I went to was held on the Moore’s family property, Marshlands, and I was simply amazed. What a beautiful place! Now I am part of an organization that makes sure it stays that way. That makes me feel good, and a little scared. It’s a big job. When we talk about land

Words like forever become very real when you are in a canoe on the Marsh, gliding through a periglacial landform that was created over 30,000 years ago.

2 Land Matters Fall 2014

preservation, we use words like forever. Forever is a pretty long time when you consider the care that goes into the protection of such a sensitive area. Words like forever become very real when you are in a canoe on the Marsh, gliding through

I saw the infinite inter-connectedness of the ecosystem and how each part depends upon the other for survival. a periglacial landform that was created over 30,000 years ago. The Great Marsh is still relatively new, in terms of time. It was formed when the Earth changed during the last glacial period. When Jim Moore’s father bought the land in the 1950s, it was considered useless swamp. However, in May 2014, when I went back to the Great Marsh, the nearly 3,500 acres, home to 200 plant species and 155 species of birds were all alive around me as I floated in the canoe; the stillness of the water evoked an almost holy reverence in me for such a magical place. This is really The Circle of Life, I thought. I saw the infinite interconnectedness of the ecosystem and how each part depends upon the other for survival. Jim Moore and his son Jeff were great hosts during my second tour of the Marshlands. Jim and Jeff led the

canoe team which included Andy Pitz, Executive Director of French & Pickering, and the newest member of the Land Trust Alliance family, Meme Hanley, who was visiting from New York. Jim pointed out birds and flowers I had never seen before. I saw a Wood Duck. Butterflies swung past. It was a moment of absolute peace. I stuck my hand in the water, which was warm, and pulled up a weird, rust-colored tangle. Yellow flowers rose through the formation

of some kind of gunk. Jim called out that the gunk was an invasive type of moss. “Asian Milfoil,” he said, “it’s all over.” As we paddled further west, I became aware of a hum. We kept going and the hum got louder. Jim, who was leading my canoe, saw the question on my face, and said with a grim smile, “That’s the Turnpike.” Driving along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we can often take it for granted that The Great Marsh is right there beside us, living and breathing and depending upon so many factors for its survival. All I can ask is: how am I protecting it? What can I do when I didn’t even know it was there until recently? As I continue working to preserve the rest of the land, these questions pose the next challenge. Once all of the land is preserved, how will I take care of what is here? I don’t have the answers yet, but what I learned from my time in The Great Marsh, is that by experiencing it firsthand, you can better understand what it needs, and then it becomes much easier to see the way.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Conservation News Collaboration was the key to French & Pickering’s conservation efforts in 2013. BY PAM BROWN


artnerships with West Pikeland and East Nantmeal Townships, the Chester County Commissioners, as well as funding from our new William Penn Foundation supporter, the Open Space Institute, enabled us to protect nearly 250 acres of environmentally sensitive lands. Generous landowners also donated trail easements and substantial easement value, allowing us to leverage funding from a variety of public sources. The conveyance of over 500 acres of easements previously held by The Nature Conservancy in The Great Marsh rounded out a year of continued land protection success for French & Pickering.

Conservation Director Pam Brown was a recipient of a 2013 “Excellence in Conservation Award” presented by the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape for completing a Conservation Easement on “Why Not Farm” in East Nantmeal Township.

Why Not Farm 97 acres in East Nantmeal Township

With its rolling pastures, woodlands, extensive stream corridor and scenic views from Rt. 401, the Nestorick family farm has been in the sights of developers for decades. Siblings Ray, Jr., Cathryn and Carol (Nestorick) Heilner and spouses Mary Nestorick and Larry Heilner, honored one of Ray, Sr.’s last wishes by placing the farm under easement with us. Reserving just one home site, the family has ensured this remarkable landscape will remain the same and their herd of cattle and farm store will continue to provide healthy food to the region.

4 Land Matters Fall 2014

John and Sewall Hornsey 10 acres in West Pikeland Township

Long-time French & Pickering supporters and volunteers, the Hornseys eased their 10-acre horse farm in December, 2013. Comprised of open meadows and an historic farmstead, the protection of this property provides a scenic vista from Seven Oaks Road. With the protection of Dr. Susan Thayer’s 27.5 acre Thoroughbred breeding farm in September, this was the second property to be conserved through West Pikeland’s Open Space initiative last year.

Ellen Scott 16 acres in West Vincent Township

Thayer Farm

Dave Herbener 19 acres in West Vincent Township

An existing easement on the former Titone property was updated and amended to allow the relocation of the main residence and provide for the donation of a public trail corridor along the perimeter of the property. Adjacent to numerous conservation and trail easements, this path provides an integral connection to the extensive network of public trails in the township.

The property is formerly part of the John and Esther Lewis farm, which is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm, known alternately as “Mine Hole Farm” and “Big Pond Farm,” was originally 52 acres and still presents a noteworthy, intact agricultural viewshed unchanged from the mid-19th century. The remains of a strip iron mine and a circular pit iron and graphite mine are still visible on the southern parcel. From the 1820s until 1863, the farm served as a major Underground Railroad station, with the Lewis family providing clothing and medical care to escaped slaves passing through the area. Adjacent to other easements, the protection of the Scott property enhances the wildlife corridor and health of the upland forest.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Conservation News continued The Nature Conservancy French & Pickering accepted the assignment of five of The Nature Conservancy conservation easements on six privately-owned properties in The Great Marsh, increasing our eased lands by over 500 acres. This conveyance illustrates The Nature Conservancy’s faith in our commitment to good stewardship of eased lands and plans to convey its fee-land holdings in the Marsh to us in 2014. The 3,464-acre periglacial Great Marsh is one of the most important natural areas in eastern Pennsylvania, providing habitat for more than 200 plant species and 155 bird species, as well as reptiles, butterflies and mammals. The diversity of bird species found in the marsh, including rare, endangered and threatened species, have led the Audubon Society to designate it as an Important Bird Area.

S av e t h e D at e

Soldier Jam – March 28, 2015 Thorncroft Equestrian Center Benefits the new French Creek Fishing Preserve – an ADA compliant fishing park.

French Creek Fishing Preserve A long-envisioned plan for an all-accessible fishing park at the former Tri-Town Sportsman’s Club is finally coming to fruition. Comprising 8.7 acres of woodlands and frontage on the French Creek in East Vincent Township, the site is ideal for hiking, horse-back riding and fishing, as well as providing a peaceful natural setting by the water for nature enthusiasts. Funded by grants from PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development, Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, the McLean Contributorship and PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources via the Schuylkill Highlands Mini-grant program, plans are moving forward for the construction of two parking areas, trails and an ADA-compliant fishing pier. With a focus on providing outdoor recreational and therapeutic opportunities for disabled veterans, French & Pickering will team up with Thorncroft Equestrian Center to host a fund-raising musical event in March 2015 to assist with the purchase of the fishing pier.

6 Land Matters Fall 2014

Carroll Engineering Corporation

Accreditation Update


ersten Appler, French & Pickering’s Accreditation Coordinator, is working towards “accredited” status for the organization. This recognition by the Land Trust Alliance would formally recognize all of the hard work that we do meeting national standards for excellence. Additionally, it would confirm that we are upholding the public’s trust and are ensuring that our conservation efforts are permanent, which is our purpose. It is also possible that in coming years being accredited may be necessary to be eligible for funding from our own sources. We will submit our pre-application by year-end, with an overview of French & Pickering. The Land Trust Alliance will then request specific information which will be included in the comprehensive application due in April. If you have any questions about this program, please email Kersten at

French & Pickering an Eligible Nonprofit Partner in the 1% Program

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environment is fundamental to the sustainability of business. They also reinforce a positive perception of their brand, adding value that can result in greater customer loyalty and an increased customer base, especially among the growing number of people who recognize and appreciate the importance of environmental responsibility. French & Pickering is a new non-profit partner of 1% for the Planet, making it eligible to receive support from companies that donate 1% of their sales each year to approved conservation groups. Check them out at

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French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


What a Difference a Decade Makes T

he news is in and it’s good. The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association’s biennial census revealed that the past ten years account for 39% of the acreage ever conserved by land trusts. The survey also found that between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2013 that PA land trusts: • protected 71 acres per day; • increased the acreage protected by conservation easements by 98%; • increased the acreage owned in fee by 136%; • increased the acreage reconvened to governments by 37%; • protected 406 square miles – which is equivalent to the combined land mass of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Delaware County.

French & Pickering was the top organization among Pennsylvania land trusts in total number of trail easements. We were also among the top in conservation easements acquired, and total number of conservation easements held.

Reprinted with permission from PALTA’s ConserveLand publication

8 Land Matters Fall 2014

Trail Easements (top 10) 1

rench & Pickering Creeks F Conservation Trust 10

2 Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association

Graphic provided by PALTA and sourced from the 2014 statewide public opinion poll by Center for Research at Penn State Harrisburg.

Acquired Conservation Easements (top 10)

Conservation Easements (top 10)

1 Lancaster Farmland Trust 24

1 Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art 449

2 Natural Lands Trust


3 F rench & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust 10

2 Lancaster Farmland Trust

433 348


4 Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

3 Natural Lands Trust 10

4 Heritage Conservancy


4 Lancaster County Conservancy


5 Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County


5 Western Pennsylvania Conservancy


5 ClearWater Conservancy


6 Berks Conservancy


6 Wildlands Conservancy


6 French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust 155


7 Land Conservancy of Adams County 127

3 Countryside Conservancy



7 Brandywine Conservancy

7 Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art


8 Land Conservancy of Adams County

8 Eden Hill Conservancy


9 Pennsbury Land Trust


9 The Nature Conservancy, PA Chapter


10 Willistown Conservation Trust

10 Westmoreland Conservancy

8 Berks Conservancy



9 Tinicum Conservancy


10 Bedminster Regional Land Conservancy 106


Leap in and help safeguard the water of our region by becoming a Schuylkill Water Steward.

Join the 2015 class of recruits to receive training in this program. Contact Patrick Gardner, Land Conservation Associate, at and let him know of your interest.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



The first group of Citizen Scientists will collect high-quality data about the health of our waterways


n 2013, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust was one of over 40 regional and national organizations selected as a partner in William Penn Foundation’s groundbreaking threeyear $35 million initiative designed to preserve and protect the Delaware River watershed. The $35 million in grant funds will fund an innovative and comprehensive approach to watershed protection. Most notably, the initiative will permanently protect over 30,000 acres in the watershed, help complete over 40 restoration projects in critical areas of the watershed, and provide funding for businesses and organizations including French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to engage and educate communities on the importance of our waterways. The Delaware River, the largest undammed river east of the Mississippi, provides drinking water to over 15 million people throughout New York, New Jersey,

10 Land Matters Fall 2014

Pennsylvania, and Delaware. In order to target their efforts and maximize results, the William Penn Foundation identified eight priority sub-watershed clusters within the 13,500-square-mile watershed. Each cluster contains its own set of unique challenges, ranging from the PoconosKittatiny Cluster in the headwaters and upper reaches of the watershed in New York, to the Kirkwood-Cohansey Cluster all the way south in the Delaware Bay. The French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is located in the Schuylkill Highlands Cluster and has partnered with Green Valleys Watershed Association, Natural Lands Trust, Berks County Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Pennsylvania Audubon, Stroud Water Research Center, and Chester County Water Resources Authority to develop a strategy to take advantage of this unique opportunity over the next several years. There are three important interconnected stressors in the

Schuylkill Highlands Cluster that this partnership will address: development, roads and sewage, and the rapid loss of riparian buffers.

Challenge 1 Development

The rapid rate of development in the region has led to the loss of critical agricultural land and open space and the consequent increase in the amount of impervious surface. While the loss of open space has obvious direct impacts on the environment through habitat loss, it also has serious consequences for our waterways. In an ideal natural landscape, rain water and melting snow directly enter rivers and streams, infiltrate the groundwater, or get soaked up by plants. However, impervious surfaces such as parking lots, driveways, and roofs are designed to shed rainwater as quickly as possible. Storm drains collect this stormwater runoff and pipe it into

The initiative will permanently protect over 30,000 acres in the watershed, help complete over 40 restoration projects in critical areas of the watershed, and provide funding for businesses and organizations including French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to engage and educate communities on the importance of our waterways. on the health of our waterways. Also, with the construction of residential and commercial areas, the increased demand for water requires us to pump water from our streams and rivers which alters the natural ebb and flow of these waterways. In addition to the increasing demand for water, there is a growing concern over aging septic systems in the region that fail and leak untreated raw sewage into our waterways.

Challenge 3 loss of riparian buffers

our streams virtually unfiltered. During storms, rain picks up harmful pollutants, litter, woody debris, and whatever else it can carry through the pipes and into our streams.

Challenge 2 roads and sewage

With the increasing development in the region, there is also an increased demand for the number and size of roads. Like all impervious surfaces, roads are constructed to shed stormwater as quickly as possible. What makes this stormwater runoff especially harmful is the amount of pollutants found on our roads. Not only are the bottoms of our vehicles covered in harmful chemicals and heavy metals which drip and fall onto our roads, the chemically-enhanced road salts used during the winter dissolve and flow into our waterways when snow and ice eventually melt. These chemicals have serious long-term effects

The third major challenge is the loss of riparian buffers. Riparian buffers are the vegetated areas along streambanks and as the term indicates, they serve as a buffer for streams, absorbing pollutants from agricultural use and stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces, and preventing erosion during storms. Without these buffers, stormwater runs directly into the stream with all the pollutants and sediment it can carry. Root systems of streamside vegetation help to maintain and stabilize streambanks. During severe storms, this coursing water can cause the streambanks to erode, spill into other streams, and cover stream beds with sediment. This damages the habitat for fish species, the aquatic organisms that live on the streambed, and the plants and animals that call streambanks home. Fortunately, through the funding provided by the William Penn Foundation and the strong partnerships French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

has developed through this initiative, we are taking steps in the right direction to repair and prevent this damage to our fragile watersheds. In addition to permanently protecting open space in targeted areas of the French & Pickering Creeks watersheds, our partners in the Schuylkill Highlands Cluster will be building and strengthening important relationships with local governments and the community. Together, we will work towards the common goal of protecting and conserving our natural environment. The Schuylkill Water Stewards is a perfect example of a program that will both engage and educate the community and also collect this important data on the health of our waterways. The program, which began in September, is training volunteers throughout the region to become citizen scientists who will collect high-quality data about the health of our waterways. This data will not only track the health of our streams, but also measure how our land conservation efforts have improved the water quality downstream. Just as the damage to our watersheds has taken place over time, the results of our hard work will also take time. We are looking forward to strengthening our partnerships and engaging our volunteers and members as we continue our efforts to protect and conserve the vital natural resources within the French & Pickering Creek watersheds.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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With the help of the community, we have preserved nearly 12,000 acres of open space in northern Chester County!

12 Land Matters Fall 2014

Protected Lands in the French & Pickering Creeks Watershed as of May 2014

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Left to right: Andy Pitz, Cary Leptuck, Mark Willcox, Betty Moran, Ranney Moran, Stock and Eleanor Illoway

2014 Annual Meeting Honors Morans and Easement Donors by Barbara Detwiler and Sara Painter


proud to support the

French Creek Iron Tour Global Headquarters Exton, Pennsylvania


14 Land Matters Fall 2014 8578 French Creek Iron Tour Advert.indd 1

4/25/2014 1:37:32 PM

here was a bright spot in the long cold winter of 2014 when we held our Annual Meeting & Celebration in March at Phoenixville Country Club. More than 125 guests were in attendance as we honored Ranney and Terri Moran with the Morris Conservation Award. Members were in for a treat, as Ranney’s long-time friend and Board Member Mark Willcox, III “roasted” Ranney in a speech that will be remembered by all of us for a long time because it included touching and humorous stories of Ranney as a youngster, and how he and Terri became involved with Eleanor Morris and conservation work. We were especially pleased to be able to recognize the 2013 easement donors for their contribution to land preservation in northern Chester County. The audience also welcomed moving speeches by Pennsylvania State Senator Andy Dinniman and Chair of the Chester County Board of Commisioners, Commissioner Ryan Costello. House and Senate citations were presented to Ranney and Terri for their dedication to conservation, and easement landowners were gifted with Certificates of Recognition from House Representative Duane Milne. After cocktails and dinner, guests enjoyed a cabaret performance by

Carolyn Montgomery-Forant. We are especially grateful to the many sponsors who supported the evening, and thank the dedicated event committee members Ann Dyer, Tod Kehrli and Penny Hunt. The Annual Meeting was led by cochairs Sherri Cornish and Gwen Kelly Klein whose work was done in memory of dedicated committee member Bonnie Schwartz. Nearly $40,000 was raised through the hard work of staff and volunteers. Thank you to everyone for support of this special event.

Special thanks To the Sponsors of the 2014 Annual Meeting Seven Stars Tree Service Stock & Eleanor Illoway Ludwig’s Veterinary Gawthrop Greenwood, P.C National Penn Bank Colonial Theater Jim Moffett Photography The Fieldstone 1793 Foundation Caroline Moran Green Valleys Association The Holly Gross Realty Group Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust KMS Design Group, LLC

French Creek Iron Tour Raised Funds for French & Pickering By Barbara Detwiler


ore than 1,200 cyclists trekked from all over the country in June to ride in the 12th Annual French Creek Iron Tour. They enjoyed the scenic countryside and tackled the challenging hills of northern Chester County. Riders came from Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, as well as throughout Pennsylvania to the Kimberton Fairgrounds. Supported by many business sponsors, six local bike shops, four fire companies and one ambulance the Iron Tour was a huge success—both in donations and making many bike riding friends! More than 175 volunteers served food to the riders, marked courses, erected tents, patrolled courses, registered riders, designed the jersey, directed parking, provided radio emergency service as well as took photographs.

The Iron Tour, co-chaired by Jen Trachtman and Eleanor Illoway, offered riders seven course options from 12 to 100 miles to accommodate all levels of fitness. Riders cycled past the “Preserved Forever” lands of French & Pickering and enjoyed delicious snacks at our rest stops at Vincent Baptist Church in Yellow Springs, Hopewell, Hibernia, Stonewall Links and North Coventry Elementary School. Sponsors and supporters donated funds, food, services and supplies. Yellow Springs Catering provided lunch at the Kimberton Fairgrounds. Ray Slavinski and Jim Moffett took photos throughout the event. Save the Date for the 2015 French Creek Iron Tour – Sunday, June 14! Registrations will begin mid to late January. Follow The Iron Tour on Facebook or visit

Markels Diving Cat Studio

Gone Fishin’ Auction Party by Sara Painter


he 32nd Annual Auction Party was held on November 8 at Stonewall Golf Club in Elverson. For us, the “Gone Fishin’” theme was a perfect fit, since one of French & Pickering’s key projects in 2014 is the new French Creek Fishing Preserve. The Auction Committee led by Chairman Blake Swihart worked all year long to make the evening a roaring success. The Auction is a long-standing tradition for our organization, and we are so grateful for all of the donations from the community. Items up for bid included a trip to Jamaica and box seats for the Devon Horse show. Local artists created special pieces of artwork just for the Auction. Deb Kuhn donated a beautiful original painting celebrating this year’s theme.

Deb Kuhn Artwork for the 2014 Auction Party Iron Tour photos credit: Ray Slavinski

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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16 Land Matters Fall 2014

The Trust Welcomes Staff and New Board Member Patrick Gardner

Dick Veith

Conservation Associate

board member


atrick joined the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust as a Conservation Associate in September. He received his B.S. in communications studies from West Chester University and his Master of Environmental Studies with a concentration in natural resources management from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied land conservation and environmental issues relevant to southeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. He spent the last two years as Conservation Coordinator for the Lower Merion Conservancy, working with stakeholders to combat stormwater runoff and monitoring its impact on local waterways. Patrick lives in downtown Phoenixville and spends his free time enjoying music and the great outdoors.


Sara Painter development director


ara joined the full-time staff in December 2013 as Development Director. She coordinates the events, sponsorships, individual and planned giving programs, and has been making the movies you see on YouTube for the Trust. Sara is originally from the Mt. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia, and graduated from West Chester University with degrees in writing and theatre. After working as an actor and producer in Los Angeles for many years, she returned to the area to work with non-profits on fundraising. Active in the community and the arts, Sara serves on the Board of the Media Arts Council and is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the Dramatists Guild of America. Sara is very passionate about the environment, and is happy to be able to use her talents to preserve and protect the endangered land and natural resources in the northern Chester County watersheds.

ower Merion High School grad and Ardmore native, Dick Veith joined French & Pickering’s Board of Directors in 2014. Dick’s career in financial management with Sunoco, Inc. (Sun Oil) spanned 43 years, and included a 3-year assignment in Puerto Rico. Prior to his retirement, Dick was Director of Trust Investments and Secretary of the Benefit Plans Investment Committee, with fiduciary responsibility for Sunoco’s pension and savings plan assets. His current boards include Tredyffrin Township Police Pension Trustees, Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, International House Philadelphia, and The Henry Reed Hatfield Trust. He is a member of The Union League of Philadelphia and a Class Ambassador for his Wharton School MBA class. Dick and his wife, Carolyn, have two married children, Barbara and Douglas, and three grandchildren. Carolyn heads the Conestoga HS chapter of AFS Intercultural (American Field Service), a student exchange program. They have hosted four AFS students in their home, and have befriended many International House residents with whom they keep in touch through frequent foreign travel. We are pleased to welcome Dick to the Board.

Advertise in Land Matters and reach thousands of readers. For ad rates, please email Sara at Photo credit: Jim Moffett

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Chip Lee14_1/3p PA Trust 5/9/14 10:35 AM Page 1

Education Initiatives




Landowner Reception On June 18, 2014 French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust joined other conservation groups in the William Penn Cluster to host a workshop for area landowners who have conservation agreements on their properties. Seventy-five guests gathered at Green Valleys Watershed Association’s Welkinweir. Guests met freshwater mussels, owls, and learned about best conservation practices. The

ACHIEVE THEIR EVER EVOLVING GOALS.” Chip Lee Senior Vice President Portfolio Management

workshop also included a composting demonstration, a solar panel exhibit, and a bird identification walk.


610.975.4300 800.975.4316

R A D N O R , PA W W W. P E N N T R U S T. C O M

Sustainable Agriculture Workshop With support from The Claneil Foundation, the new agriculture program initiated by Lundale Farm, Inc. and French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust seeks to find a connection between new farmers and existing land owners. The workshop on October 18, 2014 attracted 40 landowners and farmers. Attorney George Elser presented the advantages of land leasing for agriculture uses. Panelists included Eric Vander Hyde of Barefoot Gardens, Catherine Renzi of Yellow Springs Farm, and farmers Devin Barto and Moriah Bilenky. In 2015, a groundbreaking “speed dating” event will be held to match prospective farmers with landowners. 18 Land Matters Fall 2014

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Fertilizer • Seed and Sod Weeding and Edging Annual and Perennial Flowers


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851 K i mb er t on R o a d | Ch e s t e r S p r i n g s PA 19425 | 610.827.7990 | w w w.griff ithsco nstruction. net E STA BLI SH E D 1992

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


In Memorium French & Pickering Remembers... • Spencer Windle, a historian, former Calvery officer, and husband of Emily Windle, whose sister and brother-in-law donated the Zuber Mill property. • Ann Brewster, a consummate conservationist and generous benefactor. • Charlie and Doris McNally, who were the first French Creek Trail easement landowners, will be forever in our hearts. • John Street, a former Board of Directors member and easement donor who was passionate about open space and preserving the countryside he so loved. • Dennis Collins, a founder of PALTA and former executive director of Berks County Conservancy.

Jim Klein


e are saddened by the loss of James T. Klein. Jim was the husband of Auction Committee member Gwen Kelly Klein. He chaired and was a member of several Board committees, creating awareness and raising money to preserve the Chester County countryside he loved, while enjoying the camaraderie of his friends and neighbors in the Trust.

His farm neighbors knew him as “The Bluebird Man.” He trudged over his and adjoining fields in cargo shorts and outsized hat carrying a clipboard and wasp spray, making weekly checks on his string of bluebird houses. He was able to develop a large population of the endangered birds locally, where there had been none before. This small twenty-year project was a source of quiet happiness to him. Jim had a remarkable life, from playing an exhibition season with the New York Jets after graduating college, to serving a tour of duty in Vietnam where he served as a platoon leader. He was a much decorated First Lieutenant in the United States Army, Second Brigade, Ninth Infantry Division. He was an independent financial advisor, having headed The Klein Group, LLC before enjoying his retirement. Jim was inaugurated into both the Berks County Coaches Hall of Fame and the Wyomissing Football Hall of Fame. Jim called these events his “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” and had T-shirts made for all of the friends he could persuade to attend each event. Jim’s passion for land preservation was inspiring and he will be greatly missed.

Jim Klein at the 2012 Homegrown Harvest

20 Land Matters Fall 2014

Join French & Pickering Now and Make a Difference There are many ways you can be a part of the work we are doing to protect the French & Pickering Creeks Watersheds. • • • • • • • • • •

Become a Member Volunteer at one of our events Donate Remember us in your will Ask your company or friends to sponsor an event Make gifts of stock Ask your employer to consider matching your donation Make a contribution in honor or memory of a loved one Follow us on Twitter Tell your friends about us

Our United Way designation is 5107. To make gifts of stock, please call Scott Gola at 610.468.1503. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is a non-profit 501(c)3 and our Federal Tax ID is 23-6429095.


Thank you for sponsoring the 2014 French Creek Iron Tour

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Alliance is the turnkey solution for the most complex demolition and environmental problems, seamlessly integrating the following disciplines: Structural Demolition • Selective Demolition Asbestos Abatement • Indoor Air Quality Mold Remediation • HazMat Remediation Budgeting/Estimating 550 East Union Street, West Chester 610.701.9000

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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511 Kimberton Road Phoenixville, PA 19460 610.933.7577

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