Land Matters Fall 2018

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WINTER 2018|2019

Connecting to the Land


Cary Leptuck: Our Elegant Statesman





Jennifer Trachtman SECRETARY

Nancy Bartley Terry Bentley Robert R. Berry Donna L. Brennan Ann Cathers Ann Dyer, RN L. Stockton Illoway Tod R. Kehrli Su Carroll Kenderdine, MD Gwen Kelly Klein Cary F. Leptuck James Moore John Nash Kirk A. Reinbold, Ph.D Mark Willcox, III Peter H. Zimmerman, AIA



The Conservation of Hailand Farm

Contents Letter From Our Executive Director



What Is Accreditation?


Cary Leptuck: Our Elegant Statesman






Helen Schaeffer

Protected Lands Map


Conservation Collaborations Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve Update


16 17

Volunteer Spotlights Event Highlights




Nancy Long

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



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


WINTER 2018|2 019







Connecting to the L an

INSIDE: Cary Leptuck: Our Elegant State sman



Building Community Connections to the Land


Preserving the Valley In 2015, French & Pickering undertook the largest land preservation project


s mentioned in our last issue, we promised you news and updates as we move forward at French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Happily, there is much to report and very good news. As you will read in these pages, we welcome Bill Gladden as our new Executive Director (see page 2), we are well underway with the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve (see page 14), and we are very busy carrying out our mission of land conservation. Pam Brown continues to be our ambassador in pursuing and completing wonderful conservation opportunities (see page 11). We are furthering our longstanding partnership with Charlestown Township (see page 12) and other government and private advocates for land and water conservation. Our keystone events, the French Creek Iron Tour and Annual Auction Party (see page 17), continue to serve as terrific friend and fundraisers for French & Pickering. We hope that you will read this, follow our website and social media throughout the year and be as inspired as we are about the quality work being done by French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. My personal hope is that you will join us and become more involved in supporting French & Pickering in the coming year – and for our bright future ahead. Your volunteer time, your donations and your support of our events help us spread the word of the perpetual benefits of land and water conservation. Thank you to our Volunteers, our Staff, our Sponsors and partners, and our Board of Directors for your support this year! On behalf of all of us at French & Pickering, we wish you the best in the coming year.

in its history — preserving the valley through which the South Branch of the French Creek flows. We were able to secure significant contributions from various governmental bodies and non-profits. In addition, generous conservationists stepped up to purchase — with easements — the bulk of the property, eliminating 100 building lots. However, we absorbed over $1,200,000 in costs. Saving the valley from a massive housing development, with the cars and traffic it would bring and the environmental damage it would cause to the important South Branch of the French Creek, was too important not to proceed. Now we must seek help to move forward and strengthen our financial reserves in expectation of other opportunities that may arise. We are starting a campaign to raise the amount needed and have already received a few significant pledges to build a matching gift fund. In the coming weeks, you will be


hearing more from us about this campaign as we seek your help. Thank you for all you do for land

Bob Willson President of the Board of Directors


We hope that you will read this, follow our website and social media throughout the year and be as inspired as we are about

L. Stockton Illoway Campaign Chair

the quality work being done by French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Past Connections Bring New Leadership I

am thrilled to share my passion for Hall. It was a warm day and the windows preservation and over 30 years of public of the dusty old station wagon were rolled and private sector experience with French down. As we careened down the road, & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. the scenic vistas bounced quickly through Like many of you, my connection to my line of sight. Without warning, French & Pickering started long ago. Mrs. Morris would pull the car off to the The year was 1988, and I was concluding side of the narrow cartway – half on the my postgraduate work at the University shoulder, half on the road – to emphasize of Virginia when my advisor suggested the importance of the property. A stream I craft an independent study to examine of family names, acres and historic my ideal job. Most of my research information about the landscape before consisted of phone calls, researching us came rushing at me as we lurched to a newspaper articles and receiving written stop. Then, just as suddenly, we were off material through the mail. After deciding to the next site, as if keeping a brisk pace to study private nonprofit land preservation would somehow help keep us one step in southeastern Pennsylvania, it was ahead of the bulldozers’ blades. Sometimes Your support is more only a matter of time until I crossed charming, sometimes abrasive, but always paths with French & Pickering Creeks passionate, Mrs. Morris and the work of important than ever as Conservation Trust and Eleanor Morris, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation we continue the work its founder. Trust made a lasting impression. Mrs. Morris started 51 years The combination of land and water Now, 30 years after my introduction to ago. With your help, we the work of French & Pickering Creeks preservation represented in the name can make a difference and Conservation Trust, I remain inspired and work of French & Pickering captured to pursue our mission of conservation, my imagination. During our phone leave a sustainable legacy of community, and engagement with the conversations, I often had the impression permanent preservation. people and places in northern Chester that there was a lot happening on the other County. end of the line. Sometimes the call ended Your support is more important than ever as we continue the quickly as a new challenge crossed her radar (or I had exhausted work Mrs. Morris started 51 years ago. With your help, we can her patience) – however, the conversations were often productive make a difference and leave a sustainable legacy of permanent and insightful. preservation. We all have a unique connection to these places we After graduating, I spent five years learning the tools of the love, and I look forward to hearing about yours. conservation trade with The Nature Conservancy. From there, I accepted a position with Chester County to help implement a Sincerely, newly minted suite of county-funded preservation programs. Most meetings in my new role were fairly predictable, although that was rarely the case when interacting with Mrs. Morris. One memorable encounter was a driving tour we began at the Bill Gladden French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust office at Coventry Executive Director


Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019

What Is Accreditation?



he Land Trust Association established its Accreditation Program in 2005. When the first member organization was accredited in 2008, this voluntary program began its positive impact in the land trust community. The mission of the program is “to provide independent verification that land trusts meet the high standards for land conservation, stewardship and nonprofit management in the nationally-recognized Land Trust Standards and Practices.” French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust earned its accreditation status in 2016, after submitting an application that took four years to complete. The Accreditation Commission conducted a highly structured and extensive formal review of our application and confirmed that French & Pickering meets national standards for excellence. We are proud of this achievement, and are beginning to look ahead towards our accreditation renewal in 2021. As of July 2018, French & Pickering is one of 411 accredited land trusts in 46 U.S. states and territories. Through the rigorous review process, this trusted network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, sound transactions and lasting stewardship of the lands they conserve.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust




Our Elegant Statesman BY PENNY HUNT

At the end of his term in March 2017, Cary Leptuck, former President of the Board of Directors at French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, stepped down. We would like to recap his accomplishments and the path he trod to become the head of French & Pickering.


n the beginning, former Board member Lee Calhoon introduced Cary to French & Pickering, and he joined as a member in early 2004. Cary soon met Stock Illoway, who explained the workings of the organization and was soon on his way to becoming an active member. At that time, Cary was President and CEO of Chestnut Hill Healthcare, which owned Chestnut Hill Hospital and Chestnut Hill Rehab Hospital. His superior business skills and genuine concern for land conservation and water quality were recognized by French & Pickering Staff and members of the Board. When Cary’s retirement from the healthcare business came into sight, an invitation to serve as a board member was issued. Cary and his late wife, Joyce, pitched in on projects such as running a bike refreshment stop for the newly organized French Creek Iron Tour, French & Pickering’s annual biking event. Joyce passed away in late 2006, and Cary had decreased his involvement to be with her. However, in 2007, he was corralled onto the Executive Committee when it was first formed and never looked back! By being active on nearly every committee during his first years, Cary saw the overview of the organization. In time, his professional demeanor and well-rounded knowledge of French &


Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019

Cary Leptuck received the Morris Conservation Award in December 2018, presented by Bill Gladden (left), Stock Illoway (second from left) and Bob Willson (right).

Pickering made him the perfect candidate for President. With Stock Illoway’s term coming to an end, Cary stepped up to the plate at French & Pickering’s Annual Meeting in 2009. At that time, French & Pickering was combing out cobwebs and putting great effort into the long and rigorous process of becoming accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, which sets the standards nationwide for land trusts. Cary became active in that organization as well. He’s a good man! Meanwhile, Mark Willcox, a member of the Board, had been engaged by Joseph Pew to sell his family’s Warwick Furnace Farm, all 553 acres – the mansion

house, ten out-buildings and the ruins of the Warwick Furnace – historically certified. One obvious option the Pews saw was an 80+ home development. Willcox quickly introduced Cary to Pew and our elegant statesman took the reins. Together, Cary and Willcox showed Pew the glories of land preservation and the need to keep the Warwick Valley and its South Branch of the French Creek pristine and open. Pew, an outdoorsman, agreed with this concept, but drove a hard bargain. In the end, with a tremendous amount of hard work from everyone at French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust (not to mention the heroic feats of Pam Brown), and Cary’s intelligent, straight-forward

persuasion, the deal was struck. Pew signed on the dotted line in December 2015. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust owned the Warwick Farm. The funders included Chester County, PA, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, East Nantmeal Township, Warwick Township, the Open Space Institute, The Conservation Fund, and French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust itself. Ray and Terry Bentley demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the land and stepped forward as conservation buyers for 371 acres. A permanent conservation easement was put on their land immediately at settlement which eliminated all but a handful of building rights. French & Pickering kept about 108 acres along both sides of the important South Branch for a nature preserve. The Bentleys have shown exceptional generosity in supporting the restoration of the site and permanent stewardship of the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve. That left the mansion house, numerous outbuildings with 59 acres, and the village with four buildings and 13 acres. These were put on the market after lengthy interviews with real estate firms and a tremendous amount of barn and house clearing, cleaning and staging in March

“ Working with a team of people who really turned the organization around is a highlight [of my time with French & Pickering]. And it was a team effort – I get too much credit for it. There was a commitment of a lot of people to the organization that made it work.”


2016. Ed and Dolly Rosen were there within the week to look at it. Once again, Cary stepped in and worked with the Rosens to get through the various difficulties a property like this presents. We all came together for a joyous closing in June 2017. It was years of focused work, time and energy. We thank Cary for his calm, confident leadership through those ten years. He has come out the other side happy and healthy, the people of Chester County have a beautiful Warwick Valley that is saved forever, and the very important water

system of the South Branch is protected in perpetuity. The mansion house and all ten outbuildings are being conserved and preserved by one of the top restoration architects in America, thanks to the lovely Rosen family and their passion for preservation and the health of the environment. Our Staff and Volunteers have cleared, cleaned and stabilized the Warwick Furnace ruins, established in 1743 and arguably the most important and prolific iron smelting furnace in the area. It provided the iron that helped build America. It attracted Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, Latrobe and the attention of many others. The Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve of 108 acres will protect and preserve the native and indigenous flora and fauna of our proud northern Chester County. And, through all this, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has completed the gold star of accreditation and has become a topnotch land preservation organization. With an excellent professional staff and a sterling national reputation, our vision is boundless. Although he never wanted applause nor sought recognition – Cary, thank you.

Cary Leptuck at the Annual Auction Party with Paige Patterson and Dave Zartman

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Q&A Interview with



We sat down with Cary Leptuck to hear his story in his own words, and to learn more about the man at the helm during French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust’s greatest triumphs.

Q: Tell me about your story before you were introduced to French & Pickering. CL: My professional career was in healthcare management, which I worked in for 40 years. I was a hospital CEO. I always worked for non-for-profit hospitals, and was involved in nonprofits in other things I did. As I was approaching retirement – this was about the year 2000 or 2001 – I was having less fun with the job, and I needed a little bit of a distraction because healthcare in that point in time was very much in a deconstruction mode. A lot of hospitals were going out of business, etc. The hospital board asked me to stay on past my retirement, which I did. But I started to wonder, “What am I going to do when I retire?” I had always been interested in community and regional planning – the lack of regional planning actually. We just moved from Malvern, and I had watched the process of the Church Farm School project. 1,200 or 1,400 acres in three separate towns along Route 30 that were being sold off, and there was a real brouhaha over what was going to happen to it. Was it going to be developed, how much public space, etc. This went on for several years, and as I was watching the story there was a total lack


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Cary Leptuck at the French Creek Iron Tour

of any coordinated planning. I was never convinced that this was the best solution.

Q: When were you introduced to French & Pickering?

Temple University has a campus in Ambler, and they started up a master’s program in community and regional planning. I decided to take one course a semester, just to learn something. I did that for a couple of years and became more and more interested in it. Open space was very much a part of community, regional, and land use planning. Then, I started asking where I could be useful.

CL: At this point, I was doing some consulting in healthcare—particularly in non-for-profit governance, which always intrigued me. We had just moved to Birchrunville, and I had a neighbor, Lee Calhoun, who was on the Board of French & Pickering at the time. I started talking to him, and he asked – with my non-for-profit background and interest in governance, conservation, and land use – if I would consider going joining the Board of French & Pickering.

I remember having breakfast with Stock Illoway at the Marriott in Conshohocken, and getting reeled in. This was March 2004. Then he asked for me to come to French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust’s Annual Meeting. I did, and I officially became a member of the Board. I got more and more involved until I was interrupted for a while because my wife became ill. After she passed away, which was December 2006, I was busy again because I needed to be, and increased my involvement with French & Pickering. It was then that I was asked to take over the Presidency. There were some big transitions, so nothing had really happened at French & Pickering for several years. There were no new acquisitions, and we didn’t have many Staff members or an Executive Director. We aimed and worked to recover from that, got through a lot together, and eventually saw the benefits. As I became more fascinated with saving the land and conservation, and more deeply interested in the technical aspects of the organization, I wound up being asked to join the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2008. From there, I was asked to be on the Board of the Land Trust Alliance. When you’re at the leadership level, the focus is often on the issues, and not the “donut” – which is getting things done and saving land. But it has been wonderful, and very rewarding. Q: What do you feel are the highlights of your work with French & Pickering through the years? CL: Working with a team of people who really turned the organization around is a highlight. And it was a team effort – I get too much credit for it. There was a commitment of a lot of people to the organization that made it work. Turning around an organization also includes building a strong staff. Certainly now, with Bill Gladden’s arrival, we certainly are into our next “quantum leap,” I call it.

And just riding around Chester County, looking at what we’ve accomplished through the years, is a highlight. There is still more to be done. But a lot of land has been saved, and a lot of great projects have been completed. So far, Warwick Furnace is our sort of crown jewel. The Warwick Furnace project was one of the biggest we ever took on. It was a nail-biter, but we got it done. Plus, personally, I have come to have true friendships with a lot of wonderful people. This has been a whole new chapter that I didn’t expect. Q: Most supporters of French & Pickering also have a love for the outdoors. Are you an outdoorsman, and what outdoor activities do you enjoy doing? CL: Yes, I am. Not as much anymore, but we used to do camping and hiking. We have a place up in Montauk, Long Island, and I still love getting out and doing saltwater fishing and anything else outdoors. Even just walking around here in Chester County is something that I love to do. And my kids – my one son is out in Jackson, Wyoming, and he’s almost totally focused on the outdoor life – and another one is out in Minnesota and is pretty much the same way. So I guess some of that rubbed off.

Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have? CL: I used to have an airplane until a couple of years ago. I’ve been flying all my life. I have a boat that I fish on, and I still play golf. I love doing woodworking. The four kids and eight grandchildren keep me busy too. I still probably try to do too much. I can get like a butterfly sometimes, floating around. Q: What would you say to a community member who is considering supporting French & Pickering, but hasn’t convinced themselves yet? CL: I would first ask them why they live in Chester County. And if they say “Oh, because it’s beautiful here,” I would ask them: What are you going to do to keep it that way? French & Pickering is an organization that exists only through donors and through philanthropy. A vast majority of our support is from donations. I would encourage them to do their part, as this work doesn’t happen on its own. We have a great group of volunteers, we have a wonderful staff, and your money will be put to very good use.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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


Protected Lands in the French and Pickering Creeks Watershed AS OF OCTOBER 2018

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust





housands of residents in numerous Chester County municipalities have voted overwhelmingly to tax themselves for the purpose of preserving open space. Whether through an Earned Income Tax or a municipal loan, these dedicated funds have enabled conservation organizations to secure public funding on the County, State and Federal levels, as well as through private foundations, including the William Penn Foundation. Having a township deem a project worthy of funding is the justification needed for conservation organizations to request additional public support on a broader scale. Local volunteer land trusts in East Nantmeal, West Vincent and West Pikeland are the eyes and ears of the community, informing neighbors about conservation and assisting in offsetting easement transaction costs. Many of these members are easement landowners themselves and can speak from experience when engaging interested residents. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is fortunate to have several of these townships within our service area. East Coventry, East and West Pikeland, East Nantmeal, East Vincent, Warwick and West Vincent have all invested in conservation projects, resulting in thousands of acres of protected lands, miles of vegetated stream corridors and undisturbed contiguous woodlands. These collaborative efforts have helped to maintain ground water quality for wellbased communities, reduced the demand for government services and protected land – as well as aquatic – habitats. Charlestown Township is the leader in this effort, having purchased easements


Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019

on hundreds of acres of open land with no outside assistance. Their supervisors, especially Kevin Kuhn, are proactive in introducing interested landowners to French & Pickering, and our conservation corridor has grown at a steady pace along the Pigeon Run and Pickering Creeks. “Given that some of the earliest projects Eleanor Morris and French & Pickering did were in Charlestown Township, it seems only fitting that we continue with a partner that is so supportive of our mission to preserve as much of the township as possible for future generations,” stated Kuhn. “In 2018, we placed 200 acres under easement with French & Pickering and have three projects totaling over 50 acres that will close in the first quarter of 2019. Over the years, Charlestown has permanently preserved 2,878 acres or 36% of the township. Of this, over 1,000 acres have conservation easements with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.” Chester County has just completed its updated Comprehensive Plan,

Landscapes3, which provides recommendations to municipalities regarding planning and zoning, land and natural resource protection and includes a commitment from the County Commissioners to continue to dedicate funding to open space acquisition through fee land and conservation easement purchases. I had the honor of representing French & Pickering on the Steering Committee, which provided input to the County Planning Commission, and at which I stressed the importance of township participation. Without the support of the municipalities, this backing may be difficult to secure. If you serve on a township open space advisory board, land trust, environmental advisory council or planning commission, be sure to strongly encourage your supervisors to participate in open space funding. Your tax dollars can reap tremendous environmental and fiscal benefits, and the return is tangible – scenic viewsheds, trails, less traffic and a healthier environment for all.

2018 Conservation Projects

Rush Taggart and Dorothy Bedford donated an easement to protect their four-acre wooded hillside on Valley Forge Mountain in Schuylkill Township. Development of this parcel would increase stormwater runoff and degrade a pristine habitat for animals and varied vegetative species. We are pleased to welcome Dorothy Bedford to the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust Land Preservation Committee, as she brings a wealth of botanical and historical knowledge.

Peter and Nan Benton donated an easement on their 10-acre forested property in West Vincent Township. This protection ensures that a steep slope on their property will continue to be a buffer against erosion and keep an important habitat corridor intact. In addition to the runoff mitigation, trees serve as natural air pollutant filters and the conservation of these properties enhance environmental benefits to the community.

West Vincent Township neighbors Kent and Traci Frederick and Kate and Kell Damsgaard purchased the remaining 21-acre parcel of the original Zuber Mill on Hollow Road in West Vincent Township. The Fredericks acquired the former Mill residence and 30 acres along the Birch Run Creek in 2015, subject to a conservation easement. The entire property is now protected in perpetuity, with no further development permitted. A perpetual rightof-way easement for the Horse-Shoe Trail is located on this property.

Seven easement projects are in progress as we go to print, and we sincerely thank all the generous landowners who are committed to conservation and support the work of French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Hailand Farm The Conservation of

With thanks to Lee Ann Bone, Charles Epstein and Barbara Epstein Sivan for their history and loving memories of a remarkable landscape.


Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019



elf-described “city slickers,” Gerson and Aileen Epstein, left the Philadelphia suburbs in the early 70s and bought a 118-acre property on Charlestown Road in Charlestown Township. They named it Hailand Farm (“Hai” meaning “life” in Hebrew) and embarked on their vision to create a home where family could gather on a working farm, subsequently populating the sprawling acres with hay, corn and soybean fields and numerous trees. A swamp was converted to a two-acre stocked pond, with an abundance of creatures roaming the property – including dogs, cats, peacocks, chickens and horses. Life, indeed. Located directly across the road from what was then the world-renowned Swiss Pines Japanese Gardens owned by Arnold Bartschi, the Epsteins were in good conservationminded company as they were soon introduced to Eleanor Morris, who recruited Gerson for the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust’s Board of Directors. Fast-forward 45 years and the farm was listed for sale. A 50-home subdivision plan had been presented to siblings Charles Epstein and Barbara Epstein Sivan and it was under consideration. Then, the Charlestown Township Supervisors approached them with an offer for the Township to purchase two conservation easements, and introduced them to French & Pickering’s Conservation Director, Pam Brown. Thanks to Epstein and Epstein Sivan’s willingness to explore this option, as well as another successful partnership

Chuck Epstein and Barbara Epstein Sivan

between Charlestown and French & Pickering, we closed on both easements on October 4, 2018, with only one additional primary residential right retained. The original 1836 date stone is still visible on the main house, with the stone bank barn and numerous outbuildings creating an historic farmstead in the middle of the property, all of which will now remain intact. Epstein Sivan expressed her feelings at closing by stating, “We are proud to immortalize our parents’ values by placing the farm under a conservation easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and Charlestown Township. Instead of a large development of 50 homes, residents will continue to enjoy a beautiful viewshed in historic Charlestown.” We are very grateful that the relationship with the Epstein Family has come full-circle and resulted in such a significant conservation effort.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve Update BY WILL MACALUSO

Work on the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve is ramping up. This spring, we completed the stabilization of the ruins at Warwick Furnace. Each building was capped with cement to prevent water from entering the walls and weakening them during the freeze-thaw cycle. Some of the walls on the Furnace and Charcoal House were rebuilt to strengthen their structural integrity.

Charcoal Meadow Furnace Meadow Fern Gully Sedge Edge Dogwood Drift Shrub Planting Turf Grass Snake Rail Mulch


VALUABLE VOLUNTEERS With the help from dozens of volunteers, we planted over 500 wildflower plants, 200 grasses and sedges, 100 ferns and 100 shrubs in the hillside leading from the road to the Furnace. The deep roots of these native plants will help prevent erosion and provide seasonal beauty and a valuable wildlife habitat. The plants are small now, but in the spring, they will fill out and provide color throughout the seasons as 14

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well as food for pollinators, birds, and small mammals. Volunteers have also helped us maintain and create hiking trails and build and repair fences. With the help of volunteers from several different organizations, we planted over 150 trees and shrubs in a three-acre field on the eastern edge of the preserve. This restoration project was made possible by the TreeVitalize Watersheds Grant program and the Plant

One Million campaign. It was managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program, as well as Aqua PA for projects located within its source water protection zones. Additional funding was provided by CSX Transportation and the Arbor Day Foundation through its Alliance for Community Trees program.

FUTURE REFORESTATION Reforestation will continue next year when we will plant an additional 300 trees and shrubs. By reforesting this field, we will be slowing water flow across the field and reducing runoff into the Exceptional Value South Branch of the French Creek.

JILL’S HABITAT Friends and family honored the memory of Jill Cathers by establishing a habitat along the forest edge at the nature preserve in her memory. This habitat currently has 12 small trees and shrubs such as Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) and Swamp roses (Rosa palustris). Jill’s Habitat provides a smooth transition between the forest and field, creating valuable songbird habitat that was previously missing on the preserve. We worked hard to choose plant species that provide pollinator and wildlife value while also creating an appealing view to preserve visitors. We plan to add more trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in the fall and spring. As the plants in Jill’s Habitat mature, they will create a beautiful gateway between forest and field, enticing visitors to explore the diverse habitats of the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve.

As the plants in Jill’s Habitat mature, they will create a beautiful gateway between forest and field, enticing visitors to explore the diverse habitats of the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve. A trail cleared by volunteers at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve

(Above) Before: Vegetation blanketing the ruins (Right) After: The birth of a new meadow

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Jim Moffett Jim Moffett contributes his talents as a nature photographer for Land Matters and other French & Pickering marketing materials.

Deb Kuhn Deb Kuhn creates the beautiful paintings that are the face of French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, including the cover of Land Matters and our website. Q: When did you take up painting? I started painting as a small child. My mother started me with lessons in first or second grade. Mom apologized for all the doodles and drawings on all my papers, but the teacher told her to encourage me and that she could read around my doodles. After 30+ years of watercolor – where colors are lightened with water – I tried oil paints and found it excruciating to learn to use whites and opaque colors. I have gotten better, but still use oils more like watercolor. Q: What is your painting process? Do you set aside specific time to paint, or is it something you do to relax in your free time? I don’t paint as much as I used to. I’m easily distracted and will go to the garden to check on its progress, and not come in for several hours. With French & Pickering’s paintings, after we have settled on a sketch, I’ll start two or three and work on them at the same time. With watercolor there is a lot of time waiting for areas to dry, so with two going I can go back and forth between them (rather than running to the garden for a few minutes…). One usually pulls ahead but the other is backup in case I spill or mess up somehow. I also enjoy the challenge of pen and ink. Q: What are some of your favorite subjects to paint? I really love to do landscapes. I like to work outside but I do more from photos. I’m not gifted at painting people, so these last several paintings with people have been challenging. Q: Which outdoor activities do you enjoy the most? Gardening, tending way too much landscaping around my home, bike riding and walking. Q: What is your favorite northern Chester County place to experience nature? Pickering Trail in Charlestown. It’s close and beautiful.


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I have been fascinated with nature my entire life. Growing up in Honey Brook Township, the amount of time I spent outdoors and my love of animals all contributed to my life-long passion for nature. There were numerous ponds, streams, areas of woods to explore and Struble Lake just down the road. After purchasing land on Welch Mountain, I immediately wanted to attract more birds and wildlife to our property. I learned the importance of native plants, adopted natural habitat gardening techniques and learned to propagate wildflowers for use in my gardens. I enjoyed taking pictures, and the gardens I created were the perfect palette for my interest in nature photography. At the same time, an awareness of conservation issues prompted me to look for ways that I could try to make a difference. I began placing bluebird nest boxes throughout the area and monitoring them. With camera in tow, my interest in bird photography grew into an obsession. In 2011, I completed the Natural Lands Force of Nature training program, the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program in 2012, and have volunteered actively since. Volunteering has become an important part of my life and enables me to make a direct impact for the betterment of nature, the environment and the cause of conservation. I still live in Honey Brook Township today with my wife Carmella. We have a son Mitchell and three crazy (indoor) cats. My love of photography and fascination with nature continues to grow. For me, photography is a means to appreciate nature personally and share what I find amazing and beautiful about it with others.


French & Pickering Events French Creek Iron Tour The 16th Annual French Creek Iron Tour was another success for French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, thanks to all of the riders, sponsors, volunteers, and staff. Over 1,000 riders registered for the 2018 Iron Tour, with riders from nine states, including Arizona and Idaho. With seven cycling routes that range from 11 to 100 miles in length, the Iron Tour offers something for every type of rider, from a short ride through breathtaking countryside to a century route that visits numerous quaint villages and historical landmarks. The start and finish location at the Kimberton Fire Company Fairgrounds provides an excellent launch into unspoiled country and is a wonderful place to gather afterward for fun and food. All proceeds directly support the mission of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to preserve, steward, and connect people to the land in northern Chester County. The 2019 French Creek Iron Tour will take place on Sunday, June 9, 2019. We look forward to seeing you next year! To learn more about the French Creek Iron Tour, visit

Connecting to the Land Auction Party The 36th Annual Auction Party at Stonewall raised funds and awareness during a spectacular evening on Saturday, November 3. Members of the Chester County community, representatives from local businesses, and other French & Pickering supporters came together to make the night a success. Guests enjoyed an evening of dinner, cocktails, and friends, and bid on a wide selection of interesting items and unique experiences. All proceeds of this event were in support of French & Pickering. If you attended this year’s auction: Thank You. If you were unable to attend, we look forward to seeing you at the 37th Annual Auction Party on Saturday, November 2, 2019.

Second Sunday Hikes Join us on the second Sunday of each month for a guided hike with a naturalist! Learn about nature and how to protect open space as we hike though beautiful French & Pickering protected lands. Each hike will go through varying habitats, including woodlands and meadows, providing incredible views of northern Chester County. To RSVP and learn more about Second Sunday Hikes, send an email to or visit our Facebook page.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Firefly Farm is proud to support French & Pickering

Carroll Engineering Corporation Celebrating 45 Years of Engineering Excellence 1973 - 2018

Water Facilities Engineering Wastewater Engineering Municipal Engineering Structural Engineering Traffic & Transportation Engineering Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering Planning & Site Design Surveying Construction Management

trust the wisdom of the grasshopper


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 18

Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019



610-917-9940 French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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

Robert C. F. Willson Sean A. O’Neill Scott E. Yaw Aristidis W. Christakis

General Representation - Business, Personal; Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning; Criminal and Civil Litigation; Family Law; Real Estate; Construction Law; Land Use Planning; Real Estate Tax Appeals; Condemnation

(610) 722-5800 ●

4 6 T H


Yellow Springs Art Show APRIL 27 - MAY 12, 2019 OPEN DAILY 10AM - 4PM THURSDAYS & FRIDAYS OPEN UNTIL 8PM









Land Matters Winter 2018 | 2019

Thank you to French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

Sunday, June 9, 2019 SAVE THE DATE!

Annual Sponsors

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Stock and Eleanor Illoway NATURALIST

Cary Leptuck and Nancy Corson STEWARD

Donna Brennan and Jim Bergey Ann and Brad Dyer

Honesty. Professionalism. Service.

Save the Date

for the Annual Auction Party cc

SAT U R DAY, N OV E M B E R 2 , 2 0 1 9


5 BR, 7.1 BA | 36.6 Acs | $2,500,000


4 BR, 3.1 BA | 10 Acs | $1,675,000

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a property, we welcome the opportunity to be your trusted Real Estate Advisor. CHESTER SPRINGS

Holly Gross | Stephen Gross | Stewart Gross

7 BR, 5.1 BA | 7.8 Acs | $1,169,000


4 BR, 3.1 BA | 10 Acs | $599,000

610-430-3030 |


4 BR, 2.1 BA | 2.2 Acs | $532,000


4 BR, 2.1 BA | 4.1 Acs | $525,000

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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


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