Land Matters Spring 2018

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50 years of forever A COMMEMORATIVE EDITION





Jennifer Trachtman SECRETARY

Nancy Bartley Terry Bentley Robert R. Berry Donna L. Brennan Ann Cathers



Sixteen Years


Ann Dyer L. Stockton Illoway Tod R. Kehrli Su Carroll Kenderdine Gwen Kelly Klein Cary F. Leptuck Jim Moore John Nash Kirk A. Reinbold, Ph.D Mark Willcox, III Peter H. Zimmerman, AIA



Janet Baldo

Letter from our Executive Director


6 10 12 16

Our Creeks Conservation Highlights Landowner Spotlight Preserve Update

18 19 20 21

Land Monitoring News & Updates oney M Matters Celebrations Matter New Board Members and Staff





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






50 years of fo rever


Dear French & Pickering Members, Friends and Supporters, On the heels of celebrating our 50th year, the Trust is on the threshold of an exciting next chapter as we continue our conservation work by easement and land acquisition, planning of our two new nature preserves and we welcome our new Executive Director this summer. This beautiful edition of Land Matters shares with you many of the highlights of our recent conservation efforts, emphasizes the work of our excellent Volunteers, Staff and Board of Directors and introduces you to our future plans and aspirations. Following the longstanding and incredibly successful leadership tenure of Cary Leptuck has been a personal challenge and one that I have fully enjoyed. I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many of you over the last year since I became President of the Trust’s Board. We have been listening and

learning. Since my first meeting at the helm, we have been in a period of assessment, planning and transition. Our Board is fully committed to making all of the changes necessary to improve all facets of the Trust’s operations, from internal procedures to our community presence and better sharing our conservation message. We are planning and implementing positive changes for today and for the future of French & Pickering. As we move ahead with our transition, we must pause and thank our founders, our many, many dedicated Volunteers, Supporters, Land Owners, Donors, Community and Government Partners, Staff and Board Members who have guided and carried out the Trust’s land and water conservation mission over the last 50 years. At this time, we must also thank Cary Leptuck for his service as Board President and

LETTER FROM OUR BOARD PRESIDENT Andy Pitz for his service not only to the Trust as our Executive Director but for his lifetime of conservation service and advocacy. Please enjoy this publication and watch for a follow up Land Matters very soon in which we will share more of the details of our planned preserves, including the formal opening of the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve, additional positive changes at the Trust and introduce you to our new Executive Director. In the meantime, I welcome your questions and suggestions and look forward to sharing more good news abut French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Onward!

Bob Willson, President of the Board of Directors

50 years of forever In 1967

when Sam and Eleanor Morris formed the land conservancy that would serve northern Chester County, their goal was to protect the county’s open space for present and future generations. Now, 50 years later, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust continues the founders' original goal and reflects on the past half century, and what the next may bring. After the founding of the land conservancy, the first easement was donated in 1968 by Mr. and Mrs. J. David Jackson. That property is in South Coventry, bordering Lundale Farm and still looks the same as it did five decades ago. At a conference in 1975, Mrs. Morris said “As long as I can and have the strength I hope to combat the problems and challenges that arise in these watersheds with whatever tools are available. Today, the easement tool looks like one of the most effective.” “I think that Sam and Eleanor would be very proud that the little organization they formed in 1967 to protect the French and Pickering Creeks watersheds has grown and helped protect large areas of northern Chester County and kept these important Schuylkill tributaries pristine.” L. STOCKTON ILLOWAY

Eleanor and Sam Morris


thank you T

o paraphrase a much better writer than I am, a landscape is a built dream, a vision incarnate. What makes it grow is its vision of itself. Northern Chester County is such a dream, has such a vision. We – residents, community leaders, the nonprofits who work here – all share a vision of a rural area that is marked by its beauty, its history, its clean waters, its ability to inspire and sustain us. The work we do together is the result not only of this shared vision, but of the organizations that do the work becoming more skillful in all aspects of their work, as has the French & Pickering. I will be retiring this summer, so this will be my last message to you as Executive Director. I am extremely proud of the considerable success this organization has enjoyed in the last six years. French & Pickering’s staff and board, together with many members of the community and our funders, have accomplished much. That success is all about the enthusiasm, expertise and diligence of the staff combined with a willingness by the board to make strategic choices and support staff members in carrying out those choices. This message is dedicated to the amazing staff I have had the great pleasure of working with for the past six years. I well remember my first week in June of 2012, the interviews I had with each staff member, the first months as I got to know board members and our many volunteers. What stands out to me from that time was a deep and absolute commitment to both mission and community on the part of everyone in the organization. As an example, I remember Donna Delany telling me with great enthusiasm of her work as easement steward, her excitement at finding new plant species on properties in the course of doing her annual inspections and her efforts to share that enthusiasm through photography and other communications with landowners. For me this was a revelation. All my experience had been that easement monitoring was about efficiency. But at French & Pickering it was about relationships. A few years later, after Nancy Long, like Donna, a wise and enthusiastic learner of all things natural, had taken over easement monitoring, a landowner abashedly apologized for consuming half a day of Nancy’s time to pick her brain about things he could do with his property. But Nancy was thrilled by that opportunity and I was delighted that she had made that investment in a landowner’s dream for their property.


Land Matters Spring 2018

Also, when I began in 2012, French & Pickering had just started the arduous process of obtaining accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Kersten Appler, hired only a few months before me, had been given the assignment of managing the accreditation application and process. Having led the process at my previous employer, I knew how complex and difficult it could be. Winning others over to changing long established processes to meet new requirements required good communication, a positive attitude and inclusiveness on Kersten’s part as the changes were made. After nearly four years of challenging, unceasing work, we were awarded the Accreditation Seal in 2016.

“ We – residents, community leaders, the nonprofits who work in Northern Chester County – all share a vision of a rural area that is marked by its beauty, its history, its clean waters, its ability to inspire and sustain us.” ANDREW PITZ In 2013, the William Penn Foundation announced their Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). French & Pickering was invited to participate in the newly defined “Schuylkill Highlands Cluster” along with six other nonprofits. Thus began an initially head-scratching, but ultimately very satisfying, large-scale partnership with our sister nonprofits – Green Valleys Watershed Association, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Berks Nature, Natural Lands, Pennsylvania Audubon, and many other larger partners that share the work of land and water conservation in our area. In that first formative year of the DRWI, Conservation Director Pam Brown and I were joined at the hip as we grappled with the unknown (to us) complexities of water quality science and wrapped our minds around the intricately intimate ways in which land and water are connected. During this period, all of us, but especially Pam had to continue the basic work of land conservation – raising money for projects, negotiating and closing deals with landowners – and simultaneously

learn the sometimes obvious, but often surprising ways in which land use and land conservation affected water quality. Now, Pam and other staff can fluidly describe these connections and frequently use these new arguments in grant applications to the William Penn Foundations and related funders of the DRWI program. And this long-term initiative continues. The William Penn Foundation has just made another three-year funding commitment – for a seven-year total of over $900,000 for project and operational expenses related to achieving the DRWI goals. These significant organizational capacities all came into play in early 2015 when French & Pickering was asked by the Pew Family and the townships of Warwick and East Nantmeal to assist in the preservation of the 553-acre Warwick Furnace Farm. During this process, French & Pickering became the central player (along with our funders, of course) in protecting the most significant land project in our 50-year history. Over a period of 11 months, we were able to assemble funding commitments of $16,000,000 to save this magnificent 553-acre farm with its three barns, Iron Master’s home, buildings from the old workers’ village, and the neglected ruins of the historical iron furnace. The result has been the new 108-acre Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve, hundreds more acres of permanently protected farmland, the stabilization of the Warwick Furnace Ruins, and now, ambitious plans to restore streams and wetlands greatly enhancing water quality in the South Branch of French Creek. This effort required extraordinary efforts on everyone’s part, including Pam’s project grant writing skills, Cary Leptuck’s financial wizardry and Bob Willson’s legal acumen. And while the project team was thus distracted, the rest of the team somehow managed to keep the organization running smoothly. With success in accreditation, the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, Warwick Furnace Farm, we needed to beef up our administrative arm, upgrade our systems, and improve efficiencies, so we could keep

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


up with the increasing complexity of our work, our growing operations, and the more sophisticated reporting requirements of our expanding list of funders. In 2015, we hired Janet Baldo and Helen Schaeffer. Janet had been instrumental in the early days of The Clinic in Phoenixville where she created new financial systems from scratch. Among Janet’s first tasks at French & Pickering was to assist me in allocating hundreds of cost items among the dozen funders of the Warwick Furnace Farm project, each of which had their own rules as to what they would fund and what they would not. And to do it in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This took us several months and was a case study in the need for more sophisticated systems. Among Helen’s first tasks was the assembly of the information necessary to accurately report expenditures of a major grant, which she was able to do in hours versus the many, many days it had previously required. Working closely together, Janet and Helen, in addition to many other improvements, enhanced our use of the rider registration software for the French Creek Iron Tour, introduced voicemail, created new digital timesheets that automatically transfer information into the accounting system, and developed a new budget template incorporating fund accounting for the first time.

“ Income has steadily increased by about 14% per year. We were an integral part of the emergence of a cohesive partnership of conservation groups working closely together in northern Chester County. We are accredited. Warwick Furnace Farm and many, many other properties are protected – forever.” ANDREW PITZ In mid-2017, we hired our first-ever Preserve Manager, Will Macaluso. Will, with an M.S. in Wildlife Management and specialized knowledge of birds and their habitat, immediately began to see the opportunities at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve. He has successfully submitted his first grant application, for reforestation of a three-acre field this Spring. He has begun a memorial planting program for the preserve, developed a reforestation and warm season grasses planting concept for the large farm field along Valley Way and

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) presented Andy Pitz with its Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award at the annual Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference in April. Andy is a founder of PALTA and served as President for six of the organization’s early years. He was instrumental in the hiring of PALTA’s first executive director and the passage of the Conservation and Preservation Easements Act in 2001. Pitz rejoined the PALTA board in 2013. Said Andy Loza, Executive Director of PALTA, “Pennsylvania is all the better for his decades of making conservation happen and building and shaping the conservation movement in which we all work. It’s been a pleasure knowing

is coordinating the preparation of multiple plans for invasive plant control, wetlands and streambank restoration, and natural stormwater management. I am so proud of the achievements of this organization. To sum up, we’ve increased our staff capacity and expertise to respond to a greater demand for our services, creating the largest and most professional staff in our history – even though it sometimes still feels like it’s not enough. Income has steadily increased by about 14% per year. We were an integral part of the emergence of a cohesive partnership of conservation groups working closely together in northern Chester County. We are accredited. Warwick Furnace Farm and many, many other properties are protected – forever. Who knows what another 50 years may bring? So, farewell. I hope to see you out hiking at the nature preserve, during lunch at Kimberton Whole Foods, or enjoying a performance at the Colonial Theatre. With Thanks,

and working with Andy for many of these years. I expect that Andy’s efforts to make the world a better place are far from over.”

Andy Pitz 4

Land Matters Spring 2018

Pennsylvania Trust congratulates the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust on its 50th Anniversary!


French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Our Creeks B

efore European settlement, Pennsylvania was home to 15,000 American Indians. The river valleys of eastern Pennsylvania, including northern Chester County, were inhabited by an Algonquian-speaking tribe known as the Delaware group. The tribe called themselves the Lenni Lenape which is derived from the Algonquin words meaning “real men.” From approximately 1600 until the time of the French and Indian War, several hundred Lenape established homes along the French and Pickering Creeks. The creeks, along with the surrounding forest, provided ideal natural resources that allowed Lenape life to flourish. Although their name may sound intimidating, Lenapes were a peaceful and civilized people. Agriculture was the


Land Matters Spring 2018

foundation of their society and gave a measure of permanence to their lives. When choosing a location for their villages, the most important factor was finding a fresh water supply that was easily available, like a lake or stream. Research shows that the Lenape established settlements on all the local northern Chester County streams. Lenape life was communal, with a ceremonial lodge or “Big House” in the center of a small village. Each family lived in round, one-room houses called wigwams which were made of bent saplings covered with bark. Wigwams were located in the central village for protection while the surrounding area was designated for farming. Women took care of the fires and the cooking. After the spring planting of community crops, village women tended

to what is referred to as the three sisters – corn, beans and squash. During the fall, the vegetables were harvested and the Lenape would hold a corn festival and Big House ceremony. Lenape men were tasked with hunting deer and other game. Large portions of the Vincent and Coventry hillsides were burned by the natives for controlled hunts. By backfiring small areas, they could corner game into a condensed space and capture more animals. The long hook of land off the Schuylkill River on the Coventry side was known as Turkey Point because turkeys could be herded onto this peninsula and into previously laid traps for easier targeting. The Lenni Lenape also carved paths through the land in order to travel to neighboring villages. Many of these trails

Smart laws and caring community members have helped clean up historic pollution from the industrial revolution, but poorly planned development is still very much a threat to our waterways. have turned into the main roads we use today. A major Indian path followed along the ridge between French Creek and Stony Run. The French Creek Path, later known as Ridge Road, originated in Phoenixville, at the mouth of French Creek, and ran to what is now Morgantown, New Holland, Lancaster, and Columbia. Today, the new highway has been elevated over the marshy areas, but the old path can still be followed through the villages of Coventryville and Warwick. In 1717, natives led Samuel Nutt along this path to show him the iron ore deposits which he used to supply his forge at Coventry and the Warwick Furnace. Conestoga Road (Route 401) and Nantmeal Road (now Horseshoe Trail) were once Lenape trails. They also used a path that extended across Pickering Creek below the mill at Moore Hall and by Corner Stores (Route 23 and Whitehorse Rd.), the Morris Estate and Yellow Springs to a large settlement called Indian Town – today’s Glenmoore. Along with farming, hunting, and establishing foot trails, the Lenape utilized the forest in other manners. They carved out their canoes from large trees. All of their bowls and utensils were made of wood. Tools and weapons were made of stone, animal claws and bones. Additionally, animal sinew was used as thread and lacings. The Lenape relied on the land for survival, but the nearby creeks were also vital for the tribe’s prosperity. The area around the mouth of the Pickering Creek was a favorite place to gather. They called present day Schuylkill River Manaiunk which means “the place where I drink.” In the spring, tribe members would unite around the mouth of the creek to catch fish

migrating upriver. Fishing provided much of the food that the tribe ate throughout the summer. At the time, the Schuylkill River was one of the richest shad fishing grounds in the region. Each year, thousands of shad swam more than three hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean into the Delaware to lay their eggs. The Lenape used weirs or fencelike traps and long nets to fish. Harpoons made from deer antlers were used to spear larger fish, and when the Lenape caught more fish than they could eat, they dried them in the sun to preserve the meat for a later time. What we now know as French Creek, the Indians called Sankanac, a word in Algonquian that meant “Flint Stream.” Out

of the abundance of flint along the creek they made arrowheads and tools. The Lenape also used clay from the streams to make pottery, and their unique egg-shaped dishes were utilized to store and cook food. Streams also provided natural transportation routes that led to Manaiunk, their drinking source, and other native camps. The Gerhard Brumbaugh family history relates a village of about 300 Indians on the edge of his Vincent/Coventry tract. Frederick Sheeder’s 1845 account of East and West Vincent history also locates a small village on the southwest side of French Creek near Birch Run where “Mother Miller often went” to assist the Indian women in childbirth or sickness. In the vicinity of Cold Spring, North Coventry, there is evidence of a possible Indian burial ground.

PRESENT Dependence on local water sources is just as strong today as it was during the time of the first Americans. The French and Pickering Creeks are a part of the Delaware River Watershed. The Delaware River is the life-blood of the Mid-Atlantic region. It not only provides drinking water for 15 million people, including communities of New York City, Trenton, Philadelphia and Wilmington, but it also sustains businesses such as orchards, wineries, dairy farms and nurseries. Smart laws and caring community members have helped clean up historic pollution from the industrial revolution, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


If land is left unprotected, we risk forever losing important habitats for native plant and wildlife, exceptional water quality, and scenic views. but poorly planned development is still very much a threat to our waterways. In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released an Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report which is a comprehensive report of the water quality status of surface waters of the Commonwealth. Essentially, it reports whether or not a waterbody is achieving the water standards that protect and provide for clean water. In the report, there are four protected uses of surface waters that serve as criteria for evaluation: Aquatic Life, Potable Water, Recreation and Fish Consumption. Each use is either supported or impaired. Additionally, each use is given a numerical grade from one to five, with one being superior and five being unacceptable. 8

Land Matters Spring 2018

The assessment of the Aquatic Life Use is a measure of the health of the aquatic communities such as invertebrates (insects, worms, clams, crustaceans, etc.) and fish. An impaired aquatic life use of a waterbody means that the overall aquatic community is not healthy and there is pollution that needs to be minimized or eliminated to return the waterbody to a healthy condition. The current assessment of the Recreational Use is for primary water contact recreation (swimming and immersion in the water). DEP monitors bacteria as an indicator of the risk of contracting illness from human pathogens present in a waterbody. When the water is listed as impaired, it means there is a higher risk of contracting an illness. The assessment of the Fish Consumption Use is a measure of the risk of human

health impact through the consumption of contaminated fish. If DEP finds elevated levels of chemical contaminants in fish flesh, the surface water is listed as impaired for the Fish Consumption Use and a Fish Consumption Advisory is issued. The assessment of the Potable Water Supply Use determines the quality of the raw water upstream prior to treatment. It is not directly reflective of the finished water provided to users. After treatment by the drinking water supplier, the water must meet the applicable drinking water criteria. An impairment of the raw water before treatment means that the supplier is taking additional steps at additional cost to meet drinking water standards that under normal circumstances would not be necessary. According to the DEP report, both the French and Pickering Creeks support Aquatic Life and Recreational use and were given a numerical grade of two. An impressive fact, given that other surrounding creeks in the area were labeled as impaired and given numerical grades of five. The healthy state of both creeks is a testament to the surrounding community’s dedication to safeguarding its natural resources. Many people recognize how quickly the beauty of land can be compromised due to yet another housing development or shopping center. If land is left unprotected, we risk forever losing important habitats for native plant and wildlife, exceptional water quality, and scenic views. Unfortunately, the report did not have sufficient information to evaluate the French and Pickering Creeks for their Fish Consumption and Water Potability uses. However, the 2018 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Fish Consumption Advisory List suggests that consumption of fish landed in the neighboring Schuylkill River be restricted to approximately once a month due to Mercury and PCB contamination. That means for the time being fishing in Chester County is limited as a recreational activity for sport where catches landed need to be returned to the water.

FUTURE The question begs: Will we ever be able to use local waterways to fish and provide food as the first Americans once did? While our waters still face certain challenges, officials and scientists point out that the presence of diverse fish populations provide proof of their recovery. More than 50 different species of fish, including shad, striped bass and herring, have been documented in the Schuylkill River since 2002, according to Joe Perillo, an aquatic biologist with the Philadelphia Water Department. The increased biodiversity, Perillo said, indicates an improvement in water quality. Biodiversity is of critical importance to the stability of natural ecosystems and their abilities to provide positive benefits such as oxygen production, soil genesis, and water detoxification. Dedicated local fishermen, like Leo Sheng, can testify to the growing biodiversity in the Schuylkill River because they are out fishing the waters

every day. Sheng, who describes himself as a multi-species angler, started fishing on the Schuylkill a few years after moving to Philadelphia from Brazil. He started a blog, called Extreme Philly Fishing, in 2011 as a way to share information to the public and convey his love and passion for the sport. More than 11,000 people now subscribe to his YouTube channel and he keeps his followers updated through Facebook,

Instagram and Snapchat. Sheng is always looking to catch new types of fish. In the Schuylkill River alone, he has caught and returned a slew of carp, catfish, bass, sunfish, and eel of various sizes. It was also documented that another fisherman near the Fairmount Dam caught and released a shortnose sturgeon, which is an endangered species never recorded in the Schuylkill River. “Seeing these kinds of symbols of the river and river health and river quality starting to come back, it’s very special,” Perillo said. In fact, they are the exact results that entities such as the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) are striving for. The DRWI is a cross-cutting collaboration of conservation organizations working to protect and restore the Delaware River system. The DRWI helps organizations to scale up their impact and accelerate the protection of important landscapes, restoration of degraded areas, and adoption of green infrastructure and responsible farming practices with hope that these efforts will reduce pollution, protect headwaters and promote water-smart practices and policies. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is proud to be a part of such a progressive movement. These types of partnerships are essential to inspire action, start conversations and spark momentum. In the end, real change depends on all of us: every homeowner, farmer, student, business owner and community member. If we want to see improvements, we need to make them happen. Small everyday actions can have an immensely positive chain reaction. Perhaps consider volunteering for a stream cleanup, planting trees, creating a rain garden, landscaping with native plants, and being careful to use and dispose of harmful substances properly, including motor oil, road salt, fertilizer, paints and pesticides. It may take time, but we have the power to get our streams and rivers to a state where they are healthy enough to fish from. It’s in our hands.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Every Acre Matters BY PAM BROWN

Is my property too small to conserve? This is a frequently asked question that has caused land protection practitioners to re-examine previous criteria.


he “10-acre minimum” has been replaced with reviewing the merits of each individual parcel and has led to French & Pickering placing conservation easements on properties as small as two acres if they serve to increase a greenway, protect special habitat or add a few integral feet to a trail corridor. Our 2016 and 2017 conservation successes were studies in patience and perseverance, as well as the importance of our partnerships with funders and other conservation organizations. From the sixteen-year quest by neighbors to acquire 100 acres slated for a high-density development to the twelve-year wait by French & Pickering for a landowner to agree to ease 52 significant feet to close a gap in the French Creek Trail, the successful outcomes were well worth the wait. Over 400 acres were placed under easement through our collaborations with municipalities, local land trusts, Chester County, PA. DCNR and the William Penn Foundation’s Open Space Institute. We partnered with Natural Lands to permanently protect 101 acres of Bryn Coed Farms, updated and expanded an easement on the world-renowned Swiss Pines and completed the

With dwindling public funds and the ongoing assault on conservation dollars, our relationships are more important than ever. Conservation Director Pam Brown has the honor of serving on Chester County’s Landscapes3 Steering Committee, which is assisting the Planning Commission with the update of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Having a seat at this table has brought French & Pickering into the important discussions regarding the future of land protection and our ongoing role in the community.


Land Matters Spring 2018

preservation of historic Warwick Furnace Farm. Our partners in the Schuylkill Highlands Cluster, funded by William Penn Foundation Delaware River Watershed Initiative, provided much-needed assistance and support. There are still hundreds of acres of land available for development or conservation. If you are thinking of protecting your land, please contact us and remember, Every Acre Matters.

2016 and 2017 Conservation Projects 2016 Nancy and David Greer, Charlestown Township: The Greers donated an easement on their 7.8 acre property to ensure the protection of the steep slopes and Pickering Creek tributary that runs through their land. Charlestown Township: the township purchased the 58 acre former Auchincloss property and eliminated all but two residential rights through two conservation easements. An easement for the historic Horse-Shoe Trail was also recorded on the property. Dr. Gary Riggs, West Vincent Township: Dr. Riggs donated an easement on 52 feet of the French Creek Trail to close a long-standing gap in the corridor.

2017 Natural Lands: 101 acres of Bryn Coed Farms was placed under easement thanks to a collaboration among East Pikeland Township. Natural Lands and French & Pickering. Thanks to funding from the township, the property is restricted to just two lots and is part of the 1,500 acres acquired by Natural Lands in three townships. Ed and Dolly Rosen, Warwick Township: Sixty-two acres of historic Warwick Furnace Farm were permanently protected through the Rosens’ acquisition of the Manor House property. All future residential rights were eliminated and the main focus will be on the agricultural and historic resources of the land and buildings. Grants from Chester County and Warwick Township assisted in the purchase of the conservation easement.

Riding with Anna’s Oak This year’s Iron Tour cycling jersey was designed by Cynthia Oswald, based on Deb Kuhn’s original illustration, which also appears on this issue’s cover. The tree, re-imagined here, is the co-champion

Jean and Steve Thomas: 15 acres in East Nantmeal Township were eased through a combination donation and township purchase. The Thomas’ property was the original home site for what is now the Nestorick’s Why Not Farm, placed under easement with French & Pickering in 2013.

for biggest White Oak Tree in the

Sixteen Years, LLC: A partnership of the Casciatos, Blacks and Taylors successfully acquired 100 acres of land adjacent to Bryn Coed Farm in West Vincent Township after sixteen years of failed attempts. Once slated for a high-density development, the property is now limited to just four lots and eliminated 30 housing rights. Funding from Chester County, West Vincent Township, the William Penn Foundation via the Open Space Institute and landowner donation enabled the conservation of this highly visible, environmentally sensitive landscape.

oak anchors the newly preserved lands

Commonwealth. Dubbed “Anna’s Oak” in homage to Anna Nutt, original Iron Master of the furnace at Warwick, this gorgeous along the headwaters of the French Creek.

Henriette Bumeder: An updated, enhanced easement was recorded in late December 2017 on 80 acres of land owned by Henriette Bumeder in Charlestown Township. Part of the land known as Swiss Pines, accumulated by the late Arnold Bartschi, it once was home to a world-renowned Japanese Garden and shares a very long relationship with French & Pickering. Ms. Bumeder’s generous donation enabled us to eliminate all residential rights and add an additional 30 acres to the easement.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust




On a spring day in 1984, Bob and Shelley Casciato were out for a drive in West Vincent Township when they came over the top of a hill and saw a vista that took their breath away. It was love at first sight. From that first moment, the Casciatos felt the need to protect this land, and a love story began.

“I just didn’t know it could be so complicated!” Bob Casciato


he young couple shared a dream of someday living in the country. They both grew up close to Philadelphia. Shelley lived in Merion, and every year she went to her uncle’s summer camp. That’s where her passion for horses began. Like most horsecrazed little girls, she dreamed of having her own farm. Today, Shelley travels on the NCHA Cutting Horse Circuit, where she is nationally ranked. In 2017, her horse made the World Finals in Fort Worth Texas. When asked about the experience, Shelley said, “It was a good year, getting a World Finals Buckle. I have worked hard to get there.” Bob grew up in Rosemont and remembers being drawn to the way the countryside


Land Matters Spring 2018


looked; the views symbolized for him, a more tranquil way of life. After Shelley and Bob married in 1976, they left the city for the Chester Springs area, renting apartments and cottages. In the late 70s, they rented a house from Eleanor Morris. “At that time, I had never heard of land preservation,” Bob remembers. As anyone who knew Eleanor Morris can guess, Eleanor quickly taught the young couple all about the need to preserve and protect our land and waterways. Bob recollects her saying, “You can always fix a house, but once you lose land, it is gone forever.” On that fateful day in 1984, Bob and Shelley were out driving to look at a horse

farm for sale. When they crested that hill and fell in love with the view, they also fell in love with the farm below in the valley, which they purchased and have made their home ever since, sharing it with their dogs and quarter horses. The farm to their east was the Wilson’s dairy farm, made up of 50 acres on either side of the road. Every morning, as the couple drank their coffee, they delighted in watching the cows graze. Eleanor Morris had a keen eye for spotting talent. Sensing Bob’s love of the land, she invited the intelligent young man to be on the French & Pickering Creek Conservation Trust Board of Directors. When Stock Illoway became President of the Board,


he knew he wanted someone with a good head for business to be the treasurer, so he asked Bob, and Bob agreed. Bob remained on the board until the early 2000s. One of his fondest memories of that time is, that on late nights after board meetings, he was the one chosen to slowly drive in front of Eleanor Morris’s car to guide her way home, as age began to take a toll on her night vision. In addition to serving on the board, Bob, an avid cyclist, has ridden in most of the French Creek Iron Tour bike rides. The Casciatos weren’t concerned about losing their cherished view, because they believed they had an agreement with the Wilson family that they would be given first option to buy the dairy farm if the Wilsons ever sold. In 1999, the Casciatos began to hear rumors that the Cutler Group was beginning to acquire surrounding properties with plans to build a major development, paying landowners $67,000 per acre, an amount unheard of before or since, and a number they could not begin to match.

The Cutler Group closed on two neighboring properties, but they did not manage to close the deal on the Wilson farm, which had 21 people named as owners on the deed. Twenty-one people needed to agree upon the sale! Believing that action on the development had stopped, the Casciatos were shocked to hear that an 87-house subdivision plan presented to the West Vincent Planning Commission was approved and headed to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Bob leapt into action. He wrote letters to his neighbors to inform them about the impending development, which involved clear-cutting of woods, impingement on streams, and a striking loss of habitat. He made picket signs for his group – RAID (Residents Against Irresponsible Development). He organized one hundred people to come to the meeting to protest the development, and this is where French & Pickering’s Pam Brown entered the story. Pam was one of the original RAIDers.

Bob consulted with Eleanor Morris, who suggested he hire lawyer Bob Sugarman. Bob Sugarman loved nature, and he charged half-price when called upon to save open space. Sugarman quickly went to work. He meticulously insisted that all the legal requirements of development be met. This slowed the process down, but even so, the subdivision was finally approved. Still not ready to give up, Bob Casciato decided to sue the developer. Much to his surprise, and the surprise of his lawyer, they won – and the development was stopped again. The developer appealed the ruling, and back to court they went. Bob’s lawyer advised him that they would never win the appeal. But they did! This was a procedural victory only and would not permanently stop the development. Bob remembers his next step was to take this opportunity to “try to negotiate the best bad deal,” which would be to at least save the field directly next to his farm. He was able to negotiate a deal with the Cutler group, and finally signed an

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


agreement of sale. His victory was shortlived. The Cutler Group was never able to purchase the farm from the Wilsons, so never had the right to sell the field. Meanwhile, the real estate market was crumbling. Talk of development was quiet for a decade, until 2013, when rumors again surfaced that the Wilsons might be selling the farm, this time to Toll Brothers. Before the deal was complete, West Vincent Township amended their zoning ordinance to reduce density, which made the farm less attractive to Toll Brothers, and the development giant backed away. With hope renewed, Bob approached the Wilson family again, and after all those years, he was finally given an agreement of sale to buy the entire farm. He signed and returned the agreement, thrilled that it was over. The farm was his to preserve. Days and weeks went by, but the Casciatos heard nothing. Eventually it became clear: the Wilson family wasn’t going to sign the agreement of sale. Early in 2016, the Casciatos heard that yet another developer was trying to buy the farm. But then, one evening in January, they received a phone call; from that moment, the happy ending of our story began to unfold. New neighbors had moved in on the north side of the Wilson Farm, Paul and Cynthia Black. Unaware of the long history, the Blacks wanted to know if Bob might want to join with them to save the Wilson farm. Of course, he said, “Yes!” Now, the project unfolded at lightning speed – so fast, Bob says some mornings he wakes up and can’t believe it really happened. Together with the Blacks, they contacted neighbors on the south side of the Wilson farm, Wilson and Barbara Taylor, to see if they would like to join in the project, and they agreed. The neighbors formed a partnership and named it Sixteen Years, LLC in honor of the 16 years that Bob invested in trying to acquire and preserve the property. He still appears to be in shock about how quickly things progressed, as is Shelley, who admits, “I NEVER thought it would happen.” 14

Land Matters Spring 2018

“We are extremely pleased to have been able to partner with our neighbors to preserve this beautiful piece of Chester County. This land has rolling hills, beautiful meadows and a mature forest which supports an incredible diversity of wildlife. It is wonderful to know that it always will.” Paul Black


After 15 years and 10 months of being on this quest, the whole project resolved in two months: The Sixteen Years Partnership purchased the Wilson farm. There was still work to do to preserve the land and farm forever. The farm was safe for the foreseeable future. The current owners had no intention of developing. However, over time, many factors can change that negatively affect the future of land. Bob knew just what to do – he called Pam Brown. Pam, one of the original protesters from 1999, is now Conservation Director at French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Pam loved the property too, and she has many happy memories of riding her horse on the trails there – trails that connect to Bryn Coed Farm and will extend the reach of the new Bryn Coed Preserve’s public trails. Pam set about putting all the pieces together to secure funding to conserve the property. She recalls, “The Sixteen Years partners were a joy to work with; the most generous, kind and conservation-minded people!”

Because Sixteen Years is considered a high priority property to preserve for public value, Pam was able to find funding from a wide variety of sources. The historic farm and farmhouse are part of Chester County history. It adjoins Bryn Coed Preserve to the south and west; contiguous preserved land is of greater benefit to an ecosystem than are smaller islands. There are two headwater streams and many tributaries on the property. Protecting them from the effects of development and runoff will help to keep French Creek an Exceptional Value Waterway. The streams’ riparian buffers keep the water cool (which supports our local aquatic ecosystem). Riparian buffers filter rainwater before it gets to the streams and slow the flow of stormwater runoff. This allows the water to be absorbed into the ground to refill our aquifers instead of contributing to flooding downstream. The native trees and understory plants in the woodland support songbirds and pollinators. The trails already on the

“Preserving land is as great a legacy as we can leave.” Bob Casciato property will become public when the Bryn Coed Preserve project is complete and add to public benefit by extending the trail system. And last, but not least – the view! Bob is by no means alone in believing that this viewshed is the gateway to West Vincent, and it will certainly be the gateway for many visitors to the new Bryn Coed Preserve. The same view that took the Casciatos’ breath away all those years ago will remain intact for generations to come, so they too may have the chance to fall in love. Pam went to work on what turned out to be “a wonderful example of collaboration among funding agencies and the owners” although she admits it was a “study in patience and perseverance.” She contacted the West Vincent Land Trust, and they

happily provided funds to cover the cost of appraisals and easement transactions. Sixteen Years received financial support from Chester County, Open Space Institute through the William Penn Foundation, and West Vincent Township, in addition to a substantial donation from the Sixteen Years partners. On the evening when the West Vincent Supervisors were slated to vote on funding for the project, over a hundred residents filled the room. One by one, residents stood up and spoke from the heart about what saving this land meant to them. Children attended, too, and many held up handmade signs. As the meeting went on long past his bedtime, one mother asked her son if he would like to go home. He replied, “No, mom, this is too important.”

The meeting ended with a unanimous decision by the supervisors to support the preservation of the Sixteen Years property. By the end of 2017, a conservation easement was in place to protect the farmland, streams, woods, trails and views - forever. The easement extinguished 30 of the 34 allowed building rights. The property may be subdivided into no more than four large parcels. The farmhouse, which had been vacant for years, was cleaned and repaired, and is now ready for a new family to move in and add their chapter to its history. The crumbling back wall of the original barn was restored by Amish farmers, using the same methods that were used when the barn was built. An old farm dump next to one of the streams was cleaned out with help from Bob’s company, Alliance Environmental Systems. Ninety-five tons of debris, including 600 tires, were removed, and the land underneath was graded and planted. When asked about the future, Bob says he would never leave the property and plans on living there forever. “Why would you go anywhere else?” he said. “It is always going to look this way. Preserving land is as great a legacy as we can leave.” Eleanor Morris would agree.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust



Good Will Hiking French & Pickering’s New Preserve Manager Receives Warm Welcome BY WILL MACALUSO

In August 2017, I was pleased to be hired as French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust’s first-ever Preserve Manager. Before joining French & Pickering, I received a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware. My deep appreciation for nature and wildlife is lifelong, and I’ve been working my entire academic career towards a job just like this one. I began studying ecology because of my desire to help restore and preserve land in a way that will benefit as many species of plants and animals as possible, and I am looking forward to doing just that at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve and French & Pickering’s other fee lands. Since starting at French & Pickering, I have been busy working with volunteers to start projects on our preserve in Warwick and East Nantmeal Townships. I worked alongside a group of volunteers from CardConnect to open an access trail and remove invasive vines from trees surrounding our Champion White Oak (the second largest in the state of Pennsylvania). Also, with help from volunteers at Vanguard Charitable, we built 16

Land Matters Spring 2018

For volunteer opportunities at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve, visit or contact Will Macaluso at

HANDY HABITAT GLOSSARY Every field has its own jargon, and ecology is no different. Here’s a habitat glossary to keep handy when you speak about the land on the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve and Marshlands.

three deer exclosures to study the effect our white-tailed deer population is having on the vegetation at the preserve. We will have some more fun for volunteers coming up at the nature preserve, so stay tuned for opportunities. This spring we are planning to plant over 150 trees and shrubs on the property. Funding for restoration was made possible through the TreeVitalize Watersheds Grant program, and the Plant One Million campaign, managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program. Other volunteer opportunities include citizen water science with AQUA, our new partner for projects located within the company’s source water protection zones. We also have a newly established Program Committee, with volunteer residents interested in planning recreational and educational programs at French & Pickering’s fee lands. I have enjoyed my time planning the best uses for the land at the Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve this fall and winter. Some of the projects I envision are large in scope and some are small. The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to take someone to our preserve for the first time and see the light in their eyes as they take in the natural beauty and history it offers. I hope that through my time at French & Pickering, I will be able to enhance and preserve our area’s natural splendor and provide access for even more people to enjoy what nature has to offer.

Habitat: The place where an animal or plant normally lives. Habitats are often categorized by a dominant feature, plant or animal. Native species: Species that evolved in the local area. Native species provide more value ecologically than an introduced species. Since they evolved together, many animals depend on native plants to survive. Invasive species: A non-native species that has an advantage over native species in the area where it has been introduced. Since they evolved separately, nonnative species often don’t have predators in the region which gives them an advantage, causing them to take over an area and crowd out native species. Meadow: An open grassland; these can be agricultural areas such as hay fields or wild areas full of native grasses and wildflowers. Meadows provide valuable habitat for pollinators and grassland nesting birds. Edge habitat: Edges are where two habitat types meet. Edge habitat is important for several species such as the Yellow-breasted Chat. “Hard” edges, where there is a sharp transition between two habitats, such as a forest and a meadow, don’t provide as high-quality habitat as a “soft” edge that blurs the two together. Interior forest: A habitat where there are large tracts of contiguous forest. Several species of plants and animals rely on interior forest to breed. One example is the Black-throated Blue Warbler. Fragmented forest: A forest with many openings due to disturbance such as logging or development. Although a fragmented forest will create a lot of edge habitat, it excludes species that rely on interior forest habitat. Exclosure: An area that excludes unwanted animals. Thomas P. Bentley Nature Preserve Manager Will Macaluso uses exclosure fences to keep deer out of certain areas. These fences can protect newly planted trees and provide a visual way to test the effect the deer population is having on the plant population. Early successional: Succession is the process that allows a biological community to evolve over time. Ecologists may refer to early successional habitat or edges. These habitats are ones that are early in the process such as meadows or shrubby edges with young trees. Later in succession, habitats will move towards a mature forest. Riparian habitat: The areas that surround rivers and streams, host a unique group of plants and animals, and filter pollutants from the streams that pass through them.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust






s a child growing up in the 1950s and 60s I was told to “Go play outside but be home for dinner!” With lots of fields and woods, but only a handful of kids in our neighborhood, we would band together on our bicycles to figure out what to do. Often, we would split up to make girl and boy forts in the woods. Usually this led to skirmishes and sometimes tears. Our favorite destination by far, was the local creek where we would work and play together making small dams and pools while finding frogs and fish, turtles and salamanders. I learned a big lesson about the differences in species and habitats when I proudly brought home a creek minnow and added it to my tropical fish aquarium. When I woke in the morning all the beautiful


Land Matters Spring 2018

exotic fish were gone and only one fat minnow remained. Those summer days of playing and exploring and feeling at home in our local woods and fields gave me much more than childhood memories. They provided me with an early sense of independence and community. Not only were we a small community of kids looking after each other’s skinned knees, but we lived and breathed the community of wildlife that was everywhere around us: our special glade of the tallest trees filled with the call of thrushes, our favorite field of flowers and meadow grasses buzzing with beetles and bees, our largest outcropping of rocks and boulders cushioned with mosses and home to sunning snakes and toads, and of course the creek - each place christened with names as important as our own. I now know, decades later, that the actual name of the creek where we played was Pigeon Run. Its headwaters and small tributaries flow through 14 properties which hold conservation agreements with French

& Pickering. The Pigeon Run joins the Pickering Creek on French & Pickering eased land and then its waters flow through 12 more properties under easement. My work for the organization is to monitor these watershed landscapes, and I look for the same community of life that enriched me as a child. I no longer see the lady slipper orchids, nor do I find the rich understory of native shrubs, but I still delight in the sturdy trunks of mature oaks and hickories and the occasional red flash of the pileated woodpecker. I am thrilled when I hear the chorus of spring peepers, see a family of wood ducks or get to watch a mink slipping in and out of a creek pool. At all times I am endlessly grateful for the protection conservation easements give to our watershed habitats. Thanks to our founder, Eleanor Morris, French & Pickering has protected more than 12,500 acres surrounding the watersheds since 1967. Northern Chester County would not be the same vibrant community of life without her dedication and perseverance.





Rally 2017

French & Pickering has been enrolled with the Terrafirma Easement Defense Insurance program since 2016. This insurance program insures the cost of upholding conservation easements and fee lands when they have been violated or are under legal attack. Thanks to its community of conservation easement landowners, French & Pickering has not needed to use the insurance to date.

French & Pickering earned its accredited status from the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission in 2016. As national quality standards change, the Land Trust Alliance updates its “Standards and Practices” guidance documents. This has occurred twice since our accreditation and French & Pickering is continually updating its policies and procedures to conform to current standards. We are proud to be among the 398 accredited land trusts operating in 46 U.S. states and territories.

In October 2017, four staff members from French & Pickering travelled to Denver, Colorado to participate in Rally, the Land Trust Alliance national annual conference. Joined by over 1,900 other conservation professionals from the U.S. and beyond, French & Pickering staff learned important lessons from leaders in the field and returned to northern Chester County ready to continue the important work that we do to preserve, steward, and connect people to the land in northern Chester County.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust





rench & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has experienced enormous growth during the past five years. The organization’s annual operating budget and staff have doubled. Demand for our services has greatly increased during the same period, which is good news because more people are interested in preserving their land with a conservation easement. As a nonprofit organization, our survival depends on your donations. Last year over 50% of our fundraising revenue ($434,000 excluding event income) came from community contributions. This income is critical to support operations, because without the generous support of our donors the land would not be saved!


preserved land 2017 Acreage:


170 ge ea r c lA a t To


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2012 Acreage:









Land Matters Spring 2018



2014 2015 Number of Easements













1./2. Families enjoy the Iron Tour as much as serious cyclists. 3. More than 125 volunteers make the Iron Tour possible. 4. Bob Ward encourages bidders at the Annual Auction Party live auction. 5. Board Member Gwen Kelly Klein and Board President Bob Willson. 6. One of the silent auction tables. 7. St. Peter’s Summerfest.

Celebrations Matter French Creek Iron Tour is a Blast!

Annual Auction Party Goes Digital

St. Peter’s Summerfest Rocked!

Over 1,000 riders registered to cycle for open space on the second Sunday in June 2017. The annual bike ride welcomed cyclists from 11 states – as far away as Illinois. Iron Tour routes took the riders into the historic iron furnace region and past many of the lands that have been preserved forever by French & Pickering. Cyclists closely connected to the land as they pedaled many miles and stopped at five rest stops along the way. They were greeted and served by friendly volunteers, who are a key component to the Iron Tour and who come out to support the mission of French & Pickering: to preserve, steward and connect people to the land in northern Chester County. Jay, who rode the 100-mile course in ’17 said: “Aid stations were perfectly placed, well stocked, and for sure the nicest volunteers! I loved the course and appreciated seeing the protected lands.” The 16th Annual French Creek Iron Tour takes place on June 10, 2018 at the Kimberton Fairgrounds.

Planning for this exclusive event begins each year in January. An all-volunteer committee of nearly 20 meets monthly to brainstorm themes, solicit donations of items to be auctioned, and enjoy the company of like-minded people who live in the area and support the mission of French & Pickering. The 35th Annual Auction held on November 4, 2017 at Stonewall in Elverson was a magical night filled with fine dining, friends, and lasting memories. The theme of the evening was “50 Years of Forever” to commemorate French & Pickering’s 50th Anniversary. Over $50,000 was raised to support the organization’s mission. The dedicated Auction Committee is hard at work on the November 3, 2018 extravaganza, which promises to be the most successful Auction yet.

Wow! What a turnout for the inaugural St. Peter’s Village Summerfest in 2017. Over 4,000 people packed the main drag on August 5, 2017. After many months of planning, project partners Natural Lands, Warwick Township, Carter Van Dyke & Associates, Culture Den, St. Peter’s Inn, and Audubon PA teamed up with French & Pickering to plan a placemaking event to benefit the community. The Village welcomed Jay Walljasper who lead a discussion on sustainable development. Kids and families enjoyed iron-making displays, butterfly walks, and folks even cooled off with a swim in the clean waters of the French Creek. Special thanks to the bands who volunteered their time to help bring the community out to enjoy nature. Manatawny Creek Ramblers, Dave Loves Donna, The Griz Band, and Tin Bird Choir.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Volunteer Spotlight

French & Pickering Welcomes

Lucy Gordon VOLUNTEER Lucy volunteers one afternoon a week in French & Pickering’s administrative offices. She assists the Director of Administration and Stewardship Department with record keeping, and also helps with the Annual French Creek Iron Tour bike ride. Look for Lucy June 10 at the Kimberton Fairgrounds as she is one of the event volunteers. Director of Administration Janet Baldo says, “Lucy is such a pleasure to work with. Her smile and positive attitude are infectious, and she brings such a wealth of experience to our team.” Thanks, Lucy, for being a volunteer for more than three years now! We couldn’t do it without you. “ After retiring from a career of nearly 35 years in the financial services industry, I jumped at the opportunity to lend a hand at French & Pickering. My family has lived in northern Chester County many years, enjoying the landscape and open spaces this organization is devoted to protecting and preserving. My husband and I spend hours every week walking our dogs in many of the areas that have been supported by French & Pickering.” Lucy Gordon


Land Matters Spring 2018

Ann Cathers

Terry Garrity Bentley

BOARD MEMBER Ann’s love for the outdoors began when she was a child growing up in Wisconsin. Weekends were spent camping all over her home state, and beyond, as her mom and dad dragged her and her two brothers (happily) in their Airstream trailer. That early exposure to woods, rivers, lakes and critters, solidified an awe and respect for the natural world. After college, Ann moved to Colorado and then eventually Pennsylvania, where she continues to have a passion for nature and open space. Ann works in the world of recruiting and specializes in the Corporate Learning and Development space. She lives in Warwick Township with her husband and two daughters. In her spare time, you can find Ann hiking trails in our beautiful surrounding area or birding in Cape May or Hawk Mountain.

BOARD MEMBER Terry began her career in the insurance industry, working as a personal lines underwriter at various agencies. In 1994 she co-founded Wyndsor Farm, a premier hunter, jumper, training and boarding facility for horses in Chester County. During her tenure as president, Wyndsor Farm grew from showing horses locally to participating in shows throughout the Eastern seaboard including the prestigious horse shows in the Sun Show Circuit and the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. Terry retired as president in 2013 to devote more time to her personal riding goals and volunteer service. She previously served on the board of French & Pickering where she assisted with its capital campaign and auctions and hosted the major Derby Day fundraiser. Additionally, the Bentley Family funded an epicenter in Ethiopia through the Hunger Project which continues to sustain the village and empower the women who live there. She has volunteered with the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and has served as a class agent for The Sage Fund for Excellence since she graduated. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Russell Sage College.

New Board Members and Staff

Will Macaluso

Helen Schaeffer

Scamp III

PRESERVE MANAGER Will joined French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust as Preserve Manager in August 2017. He received his B.S. in Wildlife Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2010. Will completed a graduate research assistantship at the University of Delaware where he studied release methods for re-establishing Northern Bobwhite quail populations on Long Island, New York. He completed his Master of Wildlife Science program in 2017. Will resides in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife, Danielle, and his daughter, Liliana. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking, volunteering with the Delaware Trailspinners, and tending his native gardens.

FINANCIAL MANAGER Helen began working for French & Pickering in 2015 and became the fulltime Financial Manager at the beginning of 2018. In addition to handling the day-to-day bookkeeping, Helen is the go-to person for financial reporting for the organization. She received a B.S in Science from Penn State University, an A.S. in Accounting from Widener University and has over 30 years of accounting and administrative work experience. Helen’s work ethic is “Do whatever is necessary to get the job done and treat the organization’s assets as if they were my own.” Helen is originally from Chester County and currently resides in East Fallowfield with husband, Phillip, and son, Kevin.

OFFICE MASCOT Scamp started at French & Pickering in late 2016, and became full-time in August 2017. He was born in Southeast Pennsylvania (we think). He was rescued as a puppy, when he was found by the side of the road in a little red coat with fur badly matted. Chester County SPCA workers helped him find a new home, and now Scamp is one happy Tibetan Terrier. He enjoys long walks at lunchtime, likes to hide bones in office chairs, and gets sleepy during committee meetings. His favorite food is chicken. We are very happy to have Scamp as our office mascot.


Advertise in Land Matters and reach thousands of readers. For ad rates, please email Janet at

50 years of fore ver


French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Ivy Mills, a Social and Educational Facility


Land Matters Spring 2018


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 484.709.3250. French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust is a non-profit 501(c)3 and our Federal Tax ID is 23-6429095.


These are just a few of the great specail programs at The Colonial. Blobfest coming Jul 13-15! Children’s Free Summer Series coming in July! $8 Visit us online for more. Schedule subject to change. $10 Confirm dates & show times at $6



(1963) | Jun 10

Jaws (1975) | Jun 23 Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957) | Jun 24 Yellow Submarine (1968) | Jul 8 Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) | Jul 14 The Blob

(1958) | Jul 14-15


The Eagle with Live Theatre Organ Accompaniment | Jun 3 City Rhythm Orchestra presents Sinatra & Basie | Jun 15 Planet of the Apes Marathon | Jun 17 Blobfest | Jul 13-15 Point presents Nils Lofgren | Sep 20


Mister G | Jul 10

Sleepaway Camp (1983) | Jun 1

Gustafer Yellowgold | Jul 17

Blue Velvet (1986) | Jun 22

Alex and the Kaleidoscope | Jul 24

Jaws (1975) | Jun 23

The Cat’s Pajamas | Jul 31

The Bad News Bears (1976) | Jul 20

Balloon Freak John Cassidy | Aug 7

Splatterfest VII | Sep 1

Thanks to the generous support of PECO® these Young Audiences Live Events are Free - but tickets must be reserved via online, box office or phone.

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


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