Land Matters Spring 2016

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Forging Our Future N E W LY AC C R E D I T E D





Jennifer Trachtman SECRETARY


Nancy Bartley Robert R. Berry Ann Dyer William D. Flagg Penny M. Hunt L. Stockton Illoway Tod R. Kehrli Su Carroll Kenderdine, MD Gwen Kelly Klein Maurice W. Kring Shaun Mannix James O. Moore John Nash Kirk A. Reinbold, PhD Richard Veith Mark Willcox, III Peter H. Zimmerman, AIA


Forging Our Future


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French & Pickering Accreditation


Terrafirma Easement Defense Insurance

Conservation Highlights




Janet Baldo

Landowner Spotlight

10 12

13 15 16 25

Sizzlin’ Bacons Jam for the Soldiers Forging Our Future Land Monitoring

Scenic Cycling for Open Space


Connecting Landowners with Farmers

Record-Breaking Auction Party


New Staff and Board Members









Forging Ou r



Our Biggest Year W

e hope you enjoy the stories of our shared successes in this issue of Land Matters. Thanks to your support, this past year was one of monumental accomplishments. As a land trust named after two important creeks, it is fitting that in 2015 we focused on two projects with significant water quality benefits: the Great Marsh and Warwick Furnace Farm. And, this theme of water quality infuses many other programs and projects of French & Pickering. In November, the Nature Conservancy transferred 675 acres of upland and lowland forest to French & Pickering. These lands are in the watersheds of the Brandywine Creek and French Creek, which drain to the Delaware and Schuylkill, respectively, providing drinking water to millions in the region. This largest-ever ownership interest also provides habitat for hundreds of plant and animal species, some of which you can view on our website’s Duck Cam.

In December, we acquired 171 acres in fee ownership and 371 acres in conservation easements at Warwick Furnace Farm. In monetary value, this was the largest-ever conservation project in the organization’s history, and in acres, among the top five. In conservation terms, this property is critical to protecting the water quality of the entire French Creek. It includes nearly five miles of small tributaries and over a mile of the South Branch of French Creek, providing exceptional value water which benefits the entire French Creek watershed. Thanks to our engagement in the William Penn Foundation’s groundbreaking Delaware River Watershed Initiative, we and our partner organizations now have a volunteer Schuylkill Water Stewards program. After five days of training, the water stewards go out to the creeks, take water samples and study the creatures found there. Did you know that aquatic insects are excellent indicators of the health of streams?

Nationally, flooding and drought are increasing problems. By protecting open lands and managing for watershed values, we can mitigate the effects of future flooding here, while at the same time keeping land available for farming, to offset the effects of water shortages on food production in California. We are fortunate to recognize the impact of the choices we have before us, and to possess the ability to make a difference now. Thank you for being a part of this exciting work. Please spread the word. Ask your friends to join us and make a difference.

Andy Pitz Executive Director

Thanks to your support, this past year was one of monumental accomplishments. As a land trust named after two important creeks, it is fitting that in 2015 we focused on two projects with significant water quality benefits: the Great Marsh and Warwick Furnace Farm.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



The Nestoricks Put the “Why” in Why Not BY DONNA DELANY


and matters to Ray and Mary Nestorick and their family. Ray Nestorick was born in 1954 on the land he farms today, surrounded by the 120 acres of woods and fields that now carry the name, Why Not Farm. His father was a farmer’s son, and his mother’s people were farmers, too. Ray’s two sisters, Carol and Cathryn, were born here. While growing up, their lives revolved around the farm. The Nestoricks love this farm – the rolling pastures, the dark rich woods, and Black Horse Creek, which travels through on its way to the Brandywine. All three siblings still live here, as well as their children and grandchildren. Ray has never left this place he loves for long. He shakes his head when speaking of


Land Matters Spring 2016

friends’ vacations and camping trips. He said, “We have it all here – the woods, the stream. There’s no need to go hundreds of miles away. I tell my friends to come here.” His only vacation away was his honeymoon with his wife, Mary – and that was 30 years ago. In 1999, a friend managed to lure him to Virginia, telling him that he needed to meet some Texas Longhorn Cattle. Ray had never seen them in person, this breed with which his name is now associated, and he was curious. His father raised dairy cows when Ray was growing up, and Ray raised Black Angus. Texas Longhorn Cattle are thought to be descended from Spanish lines imported by settlers as early as the late 1400s. Prior to the 1800s, cattle

roamed freely in Texas, and the longhorn breed was popular because of their longevity, resistance to disease, and ability to thrive on marginal pastures. They have very sturdy legs and hooves, and in the 1800s, cattle drives were the way steer were moved to market, often covering hundreds of miles. The longhorn thrived on these drives – even gaining weight along the way. Then times changed. In 1867, a patent for barbed wire was issued in the US. For the first time, ranchers could fence in their pastures and control breeding. Longhorn did not do as well as other breeds with limited pasture. Railroad cars overtook cattle drives as the preferred means to get to market, and longhorn did not do well on trains; they lost weight

travelling by rail. Herds were disbanded, often just set free. By 1927, when the breed was almost extinct, Will Barnes of the Forest Service collected a small herd. For decades, they were raised mostly as a novelty, until once again, they began to be appreciated for their hardiness as well as for filling a new niche: the healthconscious market’s quest for lean beef. A 3.5 ounce serving of Longhorn beef provides 140 calories, 25.5g of protein, and, amazingly, only 3.7 grams of fat. Ray also raises Belted Galloway and Scottish Highland cattle, which produce a more marbled meat for people who like a little more fat, although still lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in protein and iron content than other beef. Ray returned from that first trip to Virginia with ten heifers. He went back again in 2000 and won a futurity with one of the first bulls to be born on his farm.

“ The beauty of the land and the animals enrich our lives, and so does being a part of this new community that has begun to form of farmers and consumers who want to purchase local, healthy foods, people who want to know where their food comes from, who want to support farmers who raise animals and crops ethically and naturally.” MARY NESTORICK

He now has over 40 head, 100% grass-fed and hormone/antibiotic-free, and he and Mary provide the community with every cut of beef, pulled beef, beef jerky, and beef sticks at their Why Not Farm Store. The store also sells Mary’s homemade goat milk soap, honey, cheese, yogurt, freerange chicken and eggs, and pork from neighboring farmers. Mary’s father was in the Air Force, and she grew up never settling in any one place for long. She is grateful for the roots she has grown here at Why Not

Farm. She said, “The beauty of the land and the animals enrich our lives, and so does being a part of this new community that has begun to form of farmers and consumers who want to purchase local, healthy foods, people who want to know where their food comes from, who want to support farmers who raise animals and crops ethically and naturally. We are so fortunate here in Chester County to have so many local farm products.” Why Not Farm’s Store has become a hub of this new community of farmers and consumers. The

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


The Nestorick Family

store gives the farmers a place to meet the people who use their products; it puts people in touch with where their food originates. Ray and Mary have lived through the hardships of farming. Ray says you will never get rich this way. His grass-fed, antibiotic/hormone-free cattle take much longer to mature and get to market than steer raised on grain and chemicals, but they produce a much healthier, tastier meat. In addition to the 120 acres he owns, Ray usually rents another 200 acres to grow crops, using no-till farming to prevent erosion. About one year out of four they break even or see a profit on a crop. They tell stories of entire crops being burned up by drought, lost to too much rain, corn crops blown down by 4

Land Matters Spring 2016

high wind, damage from unseasonal frosts and hail. The cattle give them a more dependable source of income. Ray’s father, Ray, Sr., died in 2012. He purchased the farm in 1952, and as his health declined, he hoped to find a way to preserve the farm. Ray, Jr. investigated subdividing, but he didn’t want to break up the farm. While trying to figure out what to do, he heard of a program offered by West Vincent Township, where the township would purchase development rights from residents, providing them with resources to preserve farms and keep farming. Pam Brown, French & Pickering Conservation Director, was then Chairman of the West Vincent Open Space Committee. Together, Pam and the Nestorick family and the West

Vincent Supervisors preserved the 25 acres of the farm that fall within West Vincent. The Nestoricks continued to seek ways to protect the rest of the farm. They contacted the East Nantmeal Land Trust for help, and East Nantmeal recommended that they contact French & Pickering, which brought them back to working with Pam. Pam remembers meeting with Ray, Sr. and all of the children and grandchildren, and Ray telling her his heartfelt wish to preserve the farm for his family. The organization took Ray’s wish to heart and spent two years getting together the funding to place a conservation easement on the property to protect the farm from development. In the end, funding for the easement was put in place through East Nantmeal Township, Chester County and the Open Space Institute utilizing William Penn Foundation funds. Funding and a conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service guided the Nestoricks as they took steps to protect the woods and stream from any negative impacts of farming. Brown said “My big bonus is driving by the farm and knowing the beautiful view and the family farm are preserved forever.” The Nestoricks’ story exemplifies how difficult it is for a family farm to make it these days. It also demonstrates how if people care, if they become engaged, farms and farming families can be saved, benefitting the health of the entire community and tying people with the sources of their food. Why Not Farm and Store are located on Route 401, one-half mile west of Route 100 at 3108 Conestoga Road, Glenmoore, PA. The store is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm. Mary is offering one dozen eggs free for first time visitors, who mention this article (minimum purchase $10), so everyone has a chance to come out and be a part of this place that so many people have worked to preserve forever.


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

The COLONIAL TheATre 227 Bridge Street Phoenixville, PA 19460 610.917.1228


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.

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pOINT eNTerTAINmeNT preSeNTS The Capitol Steps | Apr 8 Dar Williams & Jeffrey Gaines | Apr 9 Jake Shimabukuro | Apr 17 Jim Florentine | Apr 29 Joan Osborne | May 11 The Zombies | May 15 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band | May 21

FrIghT NIghT & CuLT CINemA The Burning (1981) | Apr 1 Stop Making Sense (1984) | Apr 15 Slaughter High (1986) | May 6 The Craft (1996) | May 20 Carrie (1976) | Jun 3 Cloak & Dagger (1984) | Jun 17 Re-Animator (1985) | Jul 1

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Trust in the Trust BY PAMELA BROWN


he phrase Trust in the Trust most aptly describes the record-breaking number of acres of environmentally sensitive lands French & Pickering placed under permanent protection in 2015. A total of 1,463 acres came to us by various means; the conveyance of land, the assignment of easements, new land preservation projects and the acquisition of land for a nature preserve. Our collaboration with state, county and local agencies, as well as partnering with Natural Lands Trust and The Nature Conservancy, clearly illustrates the confidence other conservation leaders have in our ability to be responsible stewards of the most valuable lands in our watersheds. French & Pickering also reached new heights in funding for our conservation projects. Thanks to Chester County, the Open Space Institute, The Conservation Fund, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Warwick and East Nantmeal Townships and private donors, we were able to raise over $7 million in public and private conservation dollars. Several new projects are underway, which should make 2016 another landmark year in conservation for French and Pickering.

Lundale Farm, Inc. and FPCCT celebrate the Illoways’ gift of 75 acres of eased land to Lundale Farm, Inc.


Land Matters Spring 2016

HIGHLIGHTS FROM A REMARKABLE YEAR FOR FRENCH & PICKERING • Warwick Furnace Farm: 553 acres in Warwick and East Nantmeal Townships protected through acquisition and an updated easement. • The Nature Conservancy conveyance of 675 acres in The Great Marsh, formerly the Edward Woolman Nature Preserve. • The sale of two French & Pickering-owned historic properties, Coventry House and the Zuber Mill, to conservation buyers resulted in new easements. • West Vincent Township Greenway land easement: 24 acres of agricultural lands along Route 100 and Horseshoe Trail were placed under easement to ensure their protection against development and the continuation of sustainable farming, incorporating recreational opportunities. • West Pikeland Land Trust and West Pikeland Township easement assignments: Four easements totaling 78 acres were conveyed to French & Pickering by WPT and WPLT. Special thanks to the WPLT for landowner outreach and the facilitation of the transfer. • Illoway updated, enhanced easements; South Coventry Township: 85 acres of land formerly under easement with FPCCT were placed under amended easements, extinguished all future development and added a public access trail with links to Woody’s Woods and the French Creek Trail. The Illoways then conveyed a 75-acre parcel to Lundale Farm, Inc. to enhance its agricultural capacity.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


French & Pickering Earns National Accreditation



fter four years of preparation, French & Pickering has earned accredited status from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The extensive application process was challenging. To prepare for accreditation, the organization needed to bring all of its business practices up to current national standards and implement recommended changes in our daily work. Although the process was time consuming, (and our project bins are always overflowing) we are exceptionally pleased to know that we are now recognized as among the “best of the best” land trusts in the nation! French & Pickering will be nationally recognized at the Land Trust Alliance conference in Minneapolis in October 2016. At right is an excerpt from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s website that will help readers better understand the importance of the accreditation program.

IMPORTANCE OF THE ACCREDITATION PROGRAM Excerpt from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission’s website In the late nineteenth century, Charles Eliot, son of the president of Harvard University and a protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted, envisioned the formation of “an incorporated association [that] would be empowered by the state to hold small welldistributed parcels of land free of taxes, just as the public library holds books and the art museum pictures, for the use and enjoyment of the public.” With a charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted in 1891, the Trustees of Reservations became the first such “association” and the nation’s first regional land trust. Museums, libraries, zoos, universities and many other organizations serving the public interest are able to gain professional recognition for their work through accreditation programs. Land trusts can join these ranks and participate in a voluntary accreditation program designed for and by land trusts and operated by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. In order to operate a credible accreditation program, the application requires an applicant to include significant documentation. The focus on documentation allows the Commission to use a cost-effective, evidence- based process without visiting every applicant. It requires organizations applying for accreditation to make a serious commitment. It also provides the Commission with adequate documentation on how the applicant carries out Standards and Practices so that the Commission can confidently award the accreditation seal. Experience also shows that organizations with well- documented policies and procedures often have effective and lasting land conservation programs. Land trusts seeking to achieve or renew accreditation submit detailed documentation to the Commission. Applications are rigorously reviewed by professional accreditation staff and volunteer commissioners from the land trust community. The Commission awards accreditation to land trusts that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Accreditation is not a one-time action; it fosters continuous improvement as land trusts maintain their accredited status by applying for renewal every five years.


Land Matters Spring 2016

Ensuring Permanence: Terrafirma Easement Defense Insurance BY KERSTEN APPLER CUNAMPIO


hen we protect a piece of land, we make a commitment to the landowner, the community, and to future generations; we promise that special piece of land will be preserved forever. As population and development pressures increase, so does the value of conserved properties, making them vulnerable. In February 2016, French & Pickering became a member of Terrafirma, a Land Trust Alliance member-owned insurance program. Terrafirma was formed in 2011 to insure the costs of upholding conservation easements and fee lands when they have been violated or are under legal attack. Since a single lawsuit could be financially devastating for a non-profit organization, Terrafirma helps to ensure that our conservation easements will stand the test of time by removing the risk associated with high litigation fees when an easement or property has been challenged. The idea of permanence is the backbone of the conservation movement, and addressing threats to the permanence of our work is imperative in keeping the promises we’ve made.

Terrafirma is another step the national land trust community takes to keep its promises. Regulators, contributors, members, and the public can be more confident than ever that land trusts take permanence seriously and have the capacity and capability to uphold our promise of forever.

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French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Scenic Cycling for Open Space

Save the Date for the 2016 French Creek Iron Tour – Sunday, June 12! Register now! Follow The Iron Tour on Facebook or visit BY JEN TRACHTMAN


n June 12, bicyclists from a wide geographic area will participate in the 14th Annual French Creek Iron Tour. In each of the last few years, over 1,400 riders have enjoyed the scenic countryside of northern Chester County. They wend their way through the two watersheds that French & Pickering preserves, as well as a very historic part of our region. The name of our event is particularly meaningful this year because we are celebrating the 300th anniversary of the iron and steel industry that started in this part of the country. The Colonial forges and furnaces were critical in deciding the outcome of the


Land Matters Spring 2016

A highlight of the Iron Tour this year on the longer routes will be riding through Warwick Furnace Farm along the south branch of the French Creek. Revolutionary War. Thus the name “Iron Tour.” The riders will choose from seven routes ranging from 11 to 100 miles. They will ride through historic Yellow Springs, the site of the nation’s first military hospital, commissioned by George Washington. More adventurous riders will go deeper into iron country. They will ride to Hopewell Furnace, a preserved iron plantation that produced 115 cannons for the Continental Navy, as well as shot and shell for the Continental Army. The 100mile cyclists will stop for refreshments in Hibernia County Park which was the site of an early iron forge that later became the prosperous Hibernia Iron Works. A highlight this year on the longer routes will be riding through Warwick Furnace Farm along the south branch of the French Creek. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust recently purchased this historic site and will soon create a public nature preserve with trails throughout its 108 acres. George Washington and his army came to the furnace to repair guns and refresh the troops after a large storm on September 16, 1777. Please visit this area that had such great impact on the creation of our country. Join us for the Iron Tour on June 12 by registering at If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground but want to be a part of this fun event, join us as a volunteer and/or a sponsor, also at The Iron Tour proceeds allow French & Pickering to continue to protect the land and natural resources of northern Chester County.

Thanks to the 2016 French & Pickering Annual Sponsors for their support! • Transwall • Cary Leptuck and Nancy Corson • Stock & Eleanor Illoway • Mark Willcox • James A. Cochrane, Inc. • Gwen Kelly Klein • Inland Design, LLC • KMS Design Group, LLC • James L. Bergey and Donna Brennan • Yellow Springs Farm • Sherpa Data • Association for the Colonial Theatre • Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust • Carter van Dyke Associates • Jim Moffett Photography • Ann and Brad Dyer

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Committee of Friends Stages Record-Breaking Auction Party


ur secret,” says Blake Swihart, Chair of the Annual Auction Party, “is a committee of great people who forge new friendships working together to support French & Pickering. “The Annual Auction has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation as a great party,” said Swihart, “and we aim to improve its appeal every year. We are always looking for new people to attend and committee members who will bring us fresh ideas.”

This year’s Annual Auction Party will be on Saturday evening, November 5, 2016 at Stonewall in Elverson. Its theme, “Forging Our Future,” celebrates French & Pickering’s links to the 300th anniversary of the iron and steel industry in this region that literally forged the nation, and to its acquisition of Warwick Furnace Farm, where the first Franklin stoves were made. What to expect? A good dinner, great company, and the opportunity to bid

on a week in fabulous vacation homes in the U.S. and abroad, one-of-a-kind experiences, antiques and fine dining, among many other unique items. A program book listing auction items is e-mailed to guests and supporters well in advance, and is available online. A highlight of the evening is the live auction with volunteer auctioneer Bob Ward, whose entertaining and persuasive manner makes the bidding fun. Local artist Deb Kuhn will create an original water-color illustration around the theme for the auction, as she has done every year for the past 15 years.

The 2015 Annual Auction Party was the best-attended and most successful in all of its 33-year history as a fundraiser for French & Pickering. 12

Land Matters Spring 2016



Sizzlin’ Bacons


he Bacon Brothers returned to The Colonial Theatre on Friday June 26, 2015 to play a concert to a full house of fans. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and The Association for the Colonial Theatre split the proceeds from this popular fundraising event which is held every other year. Kevin and Michael Bacon plus their talented band rocked the stage, playing mostly original tunes. A particular highlight of the evening was Michael’s beautiful cello playing. The brothers shared stories with the nearly sold-out house in between songs, and Michael said, “French & Pickering is not just an organization, it is an idea. The Colonial Theatre is also an idea. Our dad believed very strongly that it only takes one small prime mover to do the right thing and the energy spreads.” As most of our readers know, Edmund Bacon was definitely a ‘prime mover’ in Philadelphia city planning. The Bacons’ grandmother is part of history too. Ruth Bacon was one of the very first residents in the county to put an easement on her property. This area has special meaning for the brothers because of the time they spent here while growing up, and Michael still visits the family house on the Pickering Creek. We look forward to welcoming the Bacons back again in 2017.

“ Our dad believed very strongly that it only takes one small prime mover to do the right thing and the energy spreads.” MICHAEL BACON

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Land Development


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Conservation Planning and Subdivision 10 Rosemary Lane Glenmoore, PA 19343 610-310-4111 Cell


BEIDEMAN ASSOCIATES is pleased to congratulate the Conservation Professionals and Dedicated Staff and Volunteers at the FRENCH AND PICKERING CREEKS CONSERVATION TRUST for the resounding success of their ambitious efforts to preserve the WARWICK FURNACE FARM and acquire the THOMAS P. BENTLEY PRESERVE.

610-458-5111 Office

David A. Beideman Professional Land Surveyor


Tree and Shrub PlanTing

trust the wisdom of the grasshopper

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Land Matters Spring 2016

annual and perenniaL FLowers


Jam for the Soldiers

An incredible line-up of musicians performed at Soldier Jam on Saturday March 28, 2015.


horncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern hosted this special fundraiser for French & Pickering. Hezekiah Jones, Mason Porter, Griz, The Manatawny Creek Ramblers, Tin Bird Choir, Kevin Killen, Ted The Fiddler, and Hellsaddle volunteered performances to raise funding for a new ADA-compliant fishing preserve on French Creek. Our master of ceremonies was the dynamic David Charles. We were especially happy to welcome veterans from the Coatesville VA who helped volunteer. Kimberton Whole Foods sponsored the event, and everyone enjoyed the commemorative bandanas, especially the kids. Despite the record cold temps, people of all ages enjoyed the concert by dancing and making new friends. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Forging Our Future

Warwick Furnace, Chester County, by Henry Latrobe, May 6, 1803 Image appears courtesy of: The Maryland Historical Society



eneral George Washington was tired. It was September 17, 1777. Having just endured defeat by the British at the Battle of Brandywine, he then marched his troops west to Warwick Furnace deep in the valley of the French Creek in northern Chester County. His men were exhausted and much of their weaponry damaged and depleted by severe weather at The Battle of the Clouds. Washington took a moment to reflect. A British invasion of Philadelphia now seemed likely. His Continental Army was badly in need of respite. What better place to rest, resupply and repair weapons than this sturdy, warm furnace? Washington


Land Matters Spring 2016

• Editorial contributions from Emily Scheivert, Karen Marshall and Charles Jacob

directed some of his soldiers to nearby villages to acquire clock weights and other lead products to be melted down and forged into bullets in the very same furnace in which they had been created. Following the much-needed stay at Warwick Furnace, Washington and his troops headed back east towards Philadelphia as they prepared for the harsh winter to come at Valley Forge. On a brilliantly sunny day in February 2016, soon after a blizzard had walloped the region, the staff of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust took a hike to the remains of the Warwick Furnace, located on the South Branch

of the French Creek. Crossing Warwick Furnace Road, we passed a small dam and then stepped over a fence. With snow more than a foot deep, we moved slowly. Outfitted in our warmest gear, we trekked up the white crest and caught sight of the furnace on a hill. It was breathtaking. The stacked fieldstones formed an incongruous Mayan-looking pyramid structure. We stood for a moment in the hush of the icy beauty, taking in the crumbling behemoth on the hill, and felt a collective joy knowing that we were a part of its permanent protection. We had made history, too. We had just succeeded in our mission to preserve this ground forever.

It was a good day. Not only will the Warwick Furnace Farm now be protected as one of North America’s most significant historical sites, but as a refuge for birds, plants, animals and people. It is not unusual to catch a glimpse of the bald eagles or red-tailed hawks that nest just upstream, or hear the yipping of a coyote from the ridge at dusk.


The Warwick Furnace, built in 1736, was used to build cannons and other weapons for the Continental Army


It is truly a special experience to stand in the original hall of the Iron Master’s manor and wonder about the words exchanged between Robert Grace and Benjamin Franklin over the design and construction of the Franklin Stove, or to ponder what George Washington felt as he watched his troops prepare to once again march into battle with the British. Although the Warwick Furnace property has been out of operation for nearly 150 years, French & Pickering is excited to write a new chapter in its history. The impact of these parcels on the natural environment and on history is immeasurable. Spencer Lodge Windle described the awe of the furnace in A History of Warwick Furnace, printed in 1945:

Preserve Property Line

“The Furnace, according to the custom of the day, was built into the side of a small hill in order that the ore, limestone flux, and charcoal could be placed in it at the top. No doubt this old furnace must have created an impressive sight when in full blast. The intermittent roar of the forced blast could be heard for long distances and from the top of the furnace stack a stream of sparks

The South Branch of French Creek is a state-designated Exceptional Value waterway

The 108-acre Thomas P. Bentley Preserve is home to many native plant and animal species, including this toad

was occasionally emitted as the flames rose and fell like the fiery breath of a great dragon.”

Warwick Furnace remains an impressive sight 279 years later, even without the plume of fiery sparks. But its preservation did not happen easily. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Forging Our Future


An aerial view of Warwick Furnace Farm and the French Creek valley.

A cyclist enjoys the serene views of the valley in late winter.


On December 18, 2015, after one full year of planning, fundraising and extensive collaboration at the local, state and national levels, French & Pickering closed on the Warwick Furnace Farm project. A neighboring landowner purchased 381 acres of which 371 were placed under a new conservation easement, and French & Pickering purchased the remaining 171 acres, including the historic Iron Master’s manor, furnace ruins, and surrounding open space. Our project plans include reforestation, historic preservation, and compatible public uses. When French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust was approached about the sale of the Pew property, the staff and 18

Land Matters Spring 2016

board were faced with a challenge. We had been offered the chance to protect a very important property, but how were we going to raise $7 million dollars to make this happen? The Board of Directors met last February and voted yes, to take the risk and work to try and save this property from development. We understood there was the potential to build 124 units on the site. THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIP

It was essential to have the support of the broader conservation community on our decision to move forward. There were many conversations. We spoke with everyone. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Charles Jacob, Chair of the Warwick Township Board

of Supervisors said, “Three hundred years ago, the iron and steel industry started in Pennsylvania right here. The protection of this property is important to the township for both its historic and environmental significance.” After one very busy year, we secured closing on Warwick Furnace Farm with a loan from The Conservation Fund, grants from the Open Space Institute, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Chester County, Warwick and East Nantmeal Townships, and individual donations. It was through the successful collaboration of dedicated partners that we have permanently protected the 553-acre Warwick Furnace Farm for present and future generations to enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016 REGISTER NOW! Proudly supporting the preservation of our environment and history

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Open House-April 17 Spring Gala & Auction April 30

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at Kimberton Waldorf School. sneeze from the pollen. Friendships are spiritual seeds environment where students create Imagine a learning their own strengths areEnvision empowered, Education: planted for moments of future, individual and passionate understanding soulful self-expression as questions a flower, expression or years of lastingvisions for translate into scientific experiments or writing poetic essays. we encourage your child to embrace. Our Waldorf Enjoyment is smelling a blossom flower and laughing as you sneeze everyday. education inspires truth and from the believe pollen. Friendships are spiritual seeds planted for purpose, our students moments of expression or years of lasting embrace. Our Waldorf education inspires truth and purpose, our students believe in themselves and share their hearts with the world. Join us at Kimberton Waldorf School. Education: Envision self-expression as a flower, we encourage your child to blossom everyday.

Kimberton Waldorf School 410 W. Seven Stars Rd, Phoenixville, PA OPEN HOUSE APRIL 17 SPRING GALA & AUCTION APRIL 30


French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Forging Our Future


Furnace for over two decades, Robert and Rebecca transferred ownership of Coventry forge and Warwick Furnace to their son-inlaw, Thomas Potts. Prior to the American Revolution, it was transferred to his brother Samuel Potts and Thomas Rutter, III, who in turn hired Thomas Bull to manage the operations. During the Revolution, Bull left to serve as an officer in the Continental Army, at which time the Furnace was designated an official arsenal and came to play to an important role in the Revolutionary War.


The Warwick Furnace was built in 1737 and is the third oldest of its kind in the state. Using the abundant forests of Pennsylvania to produce charcoal to fuel the fire, the limestone and iron ore beneath the ground to charge the furnace, and the powerful waters of the South Branch of the French Creek to power the bellows and fuel the blast furnaces with air, Warwick Furnace produced a variety of iron products including pig iron, iron stoves, pots, clock weights, and later the cannons and artillery needed for the Revolutionary War. During peak production in the 18th century, the furnace required 240 acres of timber from the region per year, and its smoke stack was often used as a landmark for travelers passing through. Samuel Nutt, who also built the nearby Coventry Forge and bloomery, was one of the early pioneers and leaders of the iron industry in Pennsylvania. Not long after his establishment in the region, he married Anna Savage, a daughter of a fellow prominent figure in the local iron industry. The Forge at Coventry was one of the most successful forges of its time and was run by Samuel Nutt with the help of Mordecai Lincoln, the great-greatgrandfather of Abraham Lincoln. Despite his immense success with Coventry Forge, Samuel was not satisfied and envisioned a larger furnace along the South Branch of French Creek. Sadly, Samuel died before the furnace could be constructed, but his widow, Anna, and her children, carried out his vision. One year after his passing, Warwick Furnace was built. THE FURNACE GIVES BIRTH TO THE “FRANKLIN STOVE”

Following Samuel’s death and the merging of Coventry Forge and Warwick Furnace, Anna partnered with Robert Grace, who had married Samuel Nutt Jr.’s widow, Lady Rebecca Savage. Through this partnership, Robert Grace assisted Anna 20

Land Matters Spring 2016


with the management of operations at both Coventry Forge and Warwick Furnace. Robert Grace was also a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, whom he had met during his time spent living in Philadelphia. Franklin generously gave Grace a design, free of patent, of a new stove called the ‘Pennsylvania Fireplace’, which was immeasurably more efficient than fireplaces currently in use at the time. It was at Warwick Furnace that these fireplaces, which have since been renamed as Franklin Stoves, were first cast and became widely popular across the colonies. The success of the Franklin Stove inspired and enabled Robert Grace to transform operations at Warwick Furnace, creating advertisements for its products and increasing production and profit. In 1765, after operating the Warwick

Warwick Furnace remained one of the largest and busiest furnaces in operation after the Revolutionary War. While most furnaces produced somewhere around twenty-five tons of pig iron weekly, the furnace at Warwick produced an average of forty tons at its peak. Warwick Furnace remained in operation under various owners for nearly 100 years following Washington’s stay, ending up once again in the hands of the Potts family. Due to the discovery of coal as more efficient heating source and the depletion of available resources in the area, the Potts family (Pottstown’s namesake) ceased operations and silenced the Warwick Furnace forever in 1867. Although the stone ruins are all that remain of this industrial giant, the property is very much alive today. The Pew family acquired the property in the 1920s and spent over a decade restoring the Iron Master’s manor and several of the original buildings from the 18th century. Many of the structures, which served as residences for the 100-plus ironworkers, still stand today, although with a touch of beauty from the famed architect Richardson Brognard Okie (b. June 26, 1875, d. December 25, 1945), who specialized in designing new and restored colonial revival style homes in the greater Philadelphia area. He developed a distinctive Pennsylvania farmhouse style.

The Iron Master’s manor home and the iconic sycamore tree serve as a testament to the property’s rich history.

The one-of-a-kind latches and hinges, hand carved decorative patterns along hallway banisters, and countless other Okie trademarks adorn the exterior and interior of the structures. The Pew family’s love for the property is evident by their commitment to retain its original form. THE CLEANEST WATERS

With nearly four miles of spring-fed first order tributaries and over a mile of the South Branch of the French Creek which meanders through the property, Warwick Furnace Farm contains some of the cleanest waters in the entire French Creek watershed. The South Branch of the French Creek is a state-designated Exceptional-Value waterway, the highest designation and protection that can be afforded to a waterway in the state. It is a remarkable experience to stand at the banks of the French Creek and marvel at the resiliency of nature. The force of the waterways harnessed to power the furnace for nearly 150 years, now serve as a vital source of life for people, plants, and the wildlife that reside throughout

These pieces of slag (waste materials produced during the smelting of iron ore), were found on our new preserve.

the valley. In fact, the entire region benefits from the way this preserved site is naturally cleaning our water. PROTECTING THE REGION’S WATER

The South Branch of the French Creek feeds into the Schuylkill River, and eventually into the Delaware River. Five million people in the Philadelphia area drink this water. As a community, we

have secured the permanent protection of 1,156 acres of land that contain over 91,280 feet of the South Branch of French Creek and the tributaries that feed it. The Warwick Furnace Farm was previously the largest unprotected property along the South Branch of French Creek, and with its protection comes assuring a huge milestone in clean waters through the entire valley – forever.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Forging Our Future


Forests and riparian buffers, the vegetated areas that border all of these waterways, protect the tributaries and the French Creek. These buffers play an important role in protecting the water from degradation. The native plants that thrive in these buffers are able to absorb runoff that would otherwise carry sediment and other pollutants into the stream. Their root systems act as stabilizers for the stream banks and prevent them from erosion. These buffers, and the waters they protect, are called home by many important native plants and animals; from the small aquatic insects like the mayfly which lie at the bottom of the food chain, to the Great Blue Heron which feeds upon the fish that eat the insects. The countless other plants and animals that live in this valley are equally important to the ecosystem. Seeing them thrive in this environment as a result of careful stewardship, is both spiritually and ecologically rewarding. OUR NEW ADDITION

Just over the hill past the furnace, and through the woods is an exciting, and strategic addition to the Warwick project. Last year, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy conveyed 675 acres of forest and wetlands to French & Pickering. This property, which is split between approximately 600 acres of forested upland and 75 acres of the Great Marsh itself, is also invaluable in

terms of its environmental importance, but in different ways. The property serves as the dividing line between the French Creek and the Brandywine Creek watersheds – meaning if you stand at the top of this forest, you can place one foot in the French Creek and the other in the Brandywine Creek watershed. Biological testing by the United States Geological Survey and the Chester County Water Resources Authority has revealed Marsh Creek to be one of the cleanest sources of water in the entire county just downstream from the Great Marsh. The 2,500-acre Great Marsh was originally slated to be dammed for a state park fishing lake but the state instead opted to create the Marsh Creek State Park just a few miles southeast. Today, nearly the entire Great Marsh has been protected. It remains the largest nontidal freshwater marsh in southeastern Pennsylvania. Despite being only two miles away from Warwick Furnace Farm, the natural environment is strikingly different, but equally breathtaking. The Great Marsh is home to 200 species of flowering plants and over 155 species of birds. It has been identified for protection as a Unique Natural Area by Chester County. A PRECIOUS RESOURCE

It is in our best interest to invest in protecting our water sources now. At a recent event in Sacramento, the staff and

An aerial view of the Great Marsh as it flows between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 401.


Land Matters Spring 2016

Board members Jim Moore and Dick Veith in a cave on Great Marsh uplands.

board heard speeches from leading water conservation experts and were inspired. Clean water was stressed again at a conference held by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association in 2015, where Stroud Water Research Center President, Bernard Sweeney, referred to water as being “worth more than gold.” This strategic measure is supported in Southeastern Pennsylvania by the William Penn Foundation, which continues to invest in the future of clean water in our area. Programs like the Schuylkill Water Stewards are thriving, and we have solid support for the new preserve at Warwick. We are committed to protecting our right to clean water through conservation action. At the national, state and local levels, water is becoming a priority. And this is where it begins, in the headwaters of the French Creek. What we are doing is working and you can experience the results for yourself when you drive through the pristine scenery, eat our local food, go fishing, or drink out of the tap. Let’s continue working together to preserve our history, and forge our future.

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Land Matters Spring 2016


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The Path Less Travelled

What is an Easement? BY NANCY B. LONG

As a monitor for French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, I serve as the eyes and ears between the land, the landowners and the land trust. Each year, my job requires me to walk the more than 12,000 beautiful Chester County acres that have been preserved since our founding in 1967. Visiting the 182 properties under conservation agreement, I walk an average of 20 to 40 miles per month through woodlands, wetlands and meadows, past cropfields, pastures and gardens, up hills and down streams in every imaginable weather. But no matter what the conditions or how thorny the thickets, my days monitoring are the highlights of my working life.

One of the fastest growing and most popular land protection tools in the United States is a conservation easement. It is a voluntary but legally binding agreement between a landowner and a conservation trust organization that restricts some kinds of activity in order to protect open space and natural habitats. Each easement is unique in character and is written with the special needs and wishes of each landowner. Once an easement agreement has been finalized it is the responsibility of the land trust to visit the property annually to ensure that the terms of the easement are being followed. This yearly visit is the work of a land trust monitor.

When I am lucky, landowners will walk their land with me sharing histories, stories and the personal knowledge of their properties. We are able to exchange ideas and information about storm water erosion, woodland management, meadow maintenance and wildlife discoveries. On the days that I walk alone I have quite a different experience. The solitude allows

me to better listen to the land itself, noticing details I might otherwise miss. On these days I have found rare native orchids, the blackened soil of old charcoal pits and the scattering of owl pellets under favorite perches. There is always so much more to see and learn that I am eager and grateful for the start of each day as a conservation monitor.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


New Program Connects Landowners with the Next Generation of the Region’s Farmers BY PATRICK GARDNER

Farming is Chester County’s largest industry, accounting for more than one-third of the land in the county. Not surprisingly, Chester County ranks second in the state for total agricultural products sold at a whopping $660,744,000, and is first in the state and country in the value of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod and mushrooms with sales of $475,480,000. While the industry in Chester County is strong, the outlook for farming is not as promising. Over 40% of the land farmed in the U.S. is leased, and the average age of a farmer is 58. In the next twenty-five years, nearly two-thirds of all

agricultural land in the U.S. will need a new farmer. With a grant from the Claneil Foundation, French & Pickering is developing a sustainable agriculture program designed to establish new partnerships and connections between farmers and landowners. Using forms on our website, this program will help young farmers find land suitable for their agricultural operations and help landowners put their land to good use. As a result, these connections will create

more local healthy food choices for our communities – a win-win for all. There are many factors that should be considered when assessing both farmers and properties for a match, e.g., availability of water, equipment needs, crops vs. livestock, and many more. If you are a landowner or farmer or know someone who might be a good fit for the program, please visit to learn more and to fill out a form.

Sustainable Agriculture at French & Pickering French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is passionate about the land we protect… and the food we eat. With generous help from the Claneil Foundation, we are working to help the next generation of farmers and landowners by connecting them through our sustainable agriculture program. The only thing better than seeing protected land is seeing protected land being put to good use. Sustainable agriculture on protected lands helps young farmers get their careers started and provides landowners and residents easier access to healthier and more sustainable food choices in their community!

GET INVOLVED! Please call us or visit our website if: • You are an interested farmer looking for land to farm • You are an interested landowner who owns land and wants to lease it • You are a member and want to learn more about our program • You want to become a member and support our efforts 610.933.7577 26

Land Matters Spring 2016

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Land Matters Spring 2016

French & Pickering Welcomes Staff and New Board Members Janet Baldo DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION

Janet joined the full-time staff in March 2016 as Director of Administration. Her primary responsibility is to analyze current systems and make upgrades to improve productivity. She is staff liaison to the French Creek Iron Tour event; she will also assist in preparing for the annual audit, budgeting, and financial forecasting. A native of Lima, Delaware County, and an avid horse lover, Janet spent many childhood hours riding the trails of Jeffords Estate, now known as Ridley Creek State Park. “It gave me a wonderful appreciation for nature. I remember on many days, my friends and I would ride our horses through the woods to the old cemetery at the top of the hill. Once there, we would eat our lunches and tell ghost stories; which always included the legendary full-moon riding, horn blowing, Hunting Hills Huntsman!” she said. “Those and many other countless

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days, spent in the beautiful countryside of Gradyville and Glen Mills, forged for me a life-long love of the outdoors.” She then added, “I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization devoted to protecting and preserving open space.” Janet graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. She lives in Edgemont with her daughter, Emma, and their two rescue dogs, Lucky and Maddie.

Gwen Kelly Klein BOARD MEMBER

Gwen graduated from University of Southern California and did post graduate work toward an MBA. After moving with her husband, Jim to Pennsylvania, they settled onto the farm in Pottstown, where she still resides. Gwen worked as an interior designer for 35 years, owning her own business, during which time she began volunteering for French & Pickering. Gwen states, “I think I’ve worked on every event, chaired a few, worked on the Iron Tour for at least a decade, making thousands of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and manning rest stations, among other things.” Gwen’s long-time service on the organization’s Auction Committee is invaluable, as she regularly contributes her design skills to the annual event.


John was born and raised in England. He is a mechanical engineer, educated in the United Kingdom at Kingston College of Technology. He is the Co-Founder and Director of Kensey Nash Corporation, a public company listed on NASDAQ, and acquired by DSM in

2012. He serves as Board Advisor and consultant to Lungpacer Medical Inc. He is a listed inventor of 250 patents in the United States and worldwide. John is the past Chairman of the Upper Main Line YMCA. He continues to be an active supporter of many local charitable entities including HandiCrafters, Bridge of Hope, CVIM, and Family Lives On. He has two daughters, Julie and Lindsay and one grandson and one granddaughter. Hobbies include sailing, cycling, walking, and travelling. He and his wife Shirley live in Chester Springs.

Kirk A. Reinbold, Ph.D. BOARD MEMBER

Kirk is a bioengineer by training and entrepreneur by passion. He currently is involved with several notable organizations to help grow a vibrant life science innovation ecosystem throughout southeast Pennsylvania. At Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a regional venture capital organization with national acclaim, he performs investment due diligence and is also a Portfolio Manager, providing strategic advice and resource identification to more than ten start-up medical device, digital health and consumer health companies. At the University City Science Center, the nation’s oldest and largest research park, he is the Program Manager of Phase 1 Ventures, an initiative that aims to match academic faculty with local business talent in the earliest phase of new venture formation. Kirk is also exploring an option to form his own company in the animal health space. He lives in Chester Springs with his wife Jody and two young children Darby and Pierce and enjoys working with the land.

r Future Forging Ou D CREDITE N E W LY AC

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



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