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Newsletter of

Spring 2005



324 Acres of Kirkwood Farm Preserved Forever!

and Natural Resources ne of my and Audubon Pennfavorite quotes from sylvania. Also known John Muir is...“I only as the “Hardie Scott went out for a walk one property”, Kirkwood day and finally concluded Farm has always been to stay out to sundown, considered the very for going out, I found, heart and essence was really going in.” of the Willistown Although countryside and, more the area of focus than any other for the Willistown property, defines the Conservation Trust is unique natural, scenic not the vast American and rural character of wilder ness which our area. As you read inspired the words of Willistown Conservation Trust’s new Kirkwood Preserve... through the details of John Muir, I am a sanctuary for people and wildlife. the project, I know you exceedingly thankful that the many special places which have been protected by will share our excitement that, after so many years, three the Willistown community over the past twenty-five years hundred and twenty-four acres of Kirkwood Farm are now will always be there to fill the need in all of us to connect protected including the new sixty-acre Kirkwood Preserve with the natural world. There will always be places for along the Crum Creek which will be owned and managed future generations of children to experience that wonderful by the Willistown Conservation Trust. Our board and staff feeling of “going in” and exploring the many acres of are deeply grateful for the dedication and commitment of protected stream valleys, woodlands, grasslands, rolling the many individuals and organizations that helped make hills and walking and riding trails of the Willistown the preservation of Kirkwood Farm happen. The success of the Kirkwood Farm project is countryside. In this issue of The Sycamore we are excited to report a testament to the fact that, even though our part of the the great news that one of the area’s most special places has world is under intense pressure for development, the will recently been added to the Willistown Conservation Trust of our community to preserve special places so that future list of protected lands. The beautiful Kirkwood Farm, generations may enjoy the experience of “going in” remains bounded by Grubbs Mill, Goshen, Providence and a remarkable force as we begin the next twenty-five years Marlborough Roads, has for many years been a top priority of conservation in Willistown. for protection not only for the Trust, Willistown Township and Chester County, but also for organizations beyond our community including the PA Department of Conservation Bonnie Van Alen, President

For the preservation of the natural resources, rural character, and cultural heritage of the Willistown area.


Message from the Chairman


n a walk last fall through the rolling hills of the Okehocking Preserve, Bolo, my fourteen year old black lab and I came upon a young family of four with their small terrier romping in the meadow near the Delchester Road entrance. People and dogs introduced themselves, and we chatted for a short while before continuing on our way. The family spoke of how much they enjoyed coming to the Preserve and that visiting it had become a regular part of their weekend routine. Proceeding on our circumnavigation of the Preserve we passed the eighteenth century red bank barn, then made a brief stop for Bolo’s mandatory dip into the Ridley Creek at the base of the hill. We ended our outing forty minutes after it had begun when I lifted my old friend up into his nest in the back of my car for our return home. This year, I look forward to exploring the Trust’s new sixty-acre Kirkwood Preserve which will soon be open, thanks once again to the work of the Willistown Conservation Trust’s dedicated staff and our many friends and volunteers. To all of you who, through your support of the Trust’s mission and activities, have made possible the Ashbridge, Okehocking, Rushton Woods and Kirkwood Preserves and the preservation of more than five thousand acres as open space in perpetuity, my fellow trustees and I want to express our deep gratitude and thanks.

We ask for your continuing support. There is so much more open land to preserve and so little time left in which to do it. Peter Strawbridge


C A L E N DA R O F E V E N T S Details on pages 10 –11

Saturday, May 7

Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association Stream Cleanup

Thursday, May 12

Annual Dinner Lecture at Radnor Hunt featuring Dr. Robert Ridgely

Saturday, May 14

Creek Week Events:

Tuesday, June 28

3rd Annual “Golf and Good Nature” Outing at Applebrook Golf Club

Saturday, July 16

Pond and Stream Management Workshop at Garrett Mill Park & Garrett Mill Farm

Kirkwood Preserve Bird Walk Stream Exploration on Crum Creek

Friday, September 9 – Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance Sunday, September 11 Sunday, October 2

“Celebrating Kirkwood”- an evening picnic at Kirkwood Preserve

For more information about our events or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Trisha Lambert, Fundraising and Volunteer Coordinator, at 610-353-2562 ext.16 or





Conservation Report Conservation Plan In Place to Protect 324 Acres of Kirkwood Farm ~ 60 Acre Kirkwood Preserve to be Owned and Managed by WCT ~ Ashbridge Farm Project Completed ~ Historic Sugartown, Inc. Donates Conservation Easement ~ William Penn Foundation Supports Critical Bird Habitat Protection Project


One of the beautiful fieldstone stables on the Kirkwood Farm North Tract.

The most recent exciting conservation

news is that in December 2004, after many months of negotiations, the not for profit conservation group, Delchester Group, Inc. (DGI), was successful in acquiring 324 acres of Kirkwood Farm. The farm has long been considered the most significant proper ty in the Willistown area in terms of its extraordinary natural, scenic, historic and recreational values, and many discussions with the owners regarding the future of the property have taken place over the past twenty five years. Because the land was held in a residuary trust, the owners were obliged to seek offers and to realize maximum value for the trust beneficiaries when the decision was made to sell. As one might imagine, there Spring

were many parties interested in developing this exquisitely beautiful landscape, so it was truly fortunate that with the support of many generous individuals, a number of interested conservation buyers and a friendly local bank, the conservation group was able to prevail.

west by Grubbs Mill Road; and the Home Triangle comprising about 148 acres, bounded by Goshen, Providence and Marlborough Roads. The family has retained for its own use a 10 acre portion of the Home Triangle and 215 acres known as the South Tract.

The successful acquisition of the majority of Kirkwood Farm has enabled the Trust to work with DGI and its prospective conservation buyers to effectuate a conservation plan for the property that would preserve it in as near its present state as possible. The acquired property is divided by roads into two tracts: the North Tract, comprising approximately 176 acres, bounded on the south by Goshen Road and on the

To date, the Trust has worked with two conservation buyers who have respectively acquired a 124 acre portion and a 24 acre portion of the Home Triangle. Each new owner has subsequently donated a conservation easement to the Trust which will protect the land and its special resources in perpetuity. In the case of the 24 acre portion of the home Triangle, which includes the Conservation Report continued on page 4.



T HE S YCAMORE Conservation Report continued from page 3.

remaining 60 acres of the North Tract historic residence on Marlborough fronting on Grubbs Mill Road. Road known as “Old Kirkwood”, the THE KIRKWOOD conservation easement restricts against additional residential structures, and PRESERVE carefully identifies an area in which An integral and exciting part of the outbuildings may be constructed. The Kirkwood Farm conservation plan has conservation easement on the 124 acre been the acquisition by the Willistown portion of the Home Triangle limits Conservation Trust of 60 acres of the primary residential structures to those most environmentally sensitive part of already existing, and limits the location the farm which borders the Crum Creek of outbuildings. Trail corridors are at the northernmost end of the North provided to further the growing network Tract. This is the land known for the of preserved trails in the area. beautiful views from Grubb Mill Road of its large grassland areas, rolling hills, Conservation buyers have recently been mature woodlands and important identified by DGI for 43 acres of the wetlands along the creek. The Kirkwood North Tract, including the lovely stone Preserve will protect habitat for nesting stables, historic tenant house and bank and foraging grassland birds such as the barn located along Goshen Road at the declining Eastern Meadowlark and the eastern end of the property. This Bobolink, promote the health of the portion of the North Tract and the Crum Creek which is designated by the remaining 70 acre parcel along Goshen state as an Exceptional Value Stream, and Road both back up to the Trust’s new will provide access for the enjoyment of Kirkwood Preserve which comprises the

this special area by the public. The Willistown Conservation Trust is exceedingly grateful to the conservation partners who have so magnanimously supported this acquisition. First and foremost, our heartfelt thanks go to Willistown Township which has made a very generous commitment from its Open Space Fund toward the acquisition. The other partners without whom we could not acquire the Kirkwood Preserve include our colleagues at the Natural Lands Trust, the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program and the Pennsylvania Depar tment of Conservation and Natural Resources with whom the Trust has a grant application pending.

POTTS EASEMENT COMPLETES ASHBRIDGE FARM PROJECT In June 2004, Dan and Janice Potts purchased the last 37 acres of Ashbridge Farm and subsequently placed it under a conservation easement with the Trust. The easement limits building to one primary residence and outbuildings, and keeps the vast remainder of the land free from development forever. We are grateful to Dan and Janice for this generous easement donation. The A s h b r i d g e Far m project has been an enormous

The Kirkwood Preserve provides nesting and foraging habitat for declining grassland birds.



Conservation Report continued on page 5.


T HE S YCAMORE Conservation Report continued from page 4.

conservation success. If left unprotected, as many as 180 dwellings could have sprawled across the farm but, thanks to the easement donors and our many partners including East Goshen Township, Chester County, and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, there will be a maximum of only six well-sited houses and a 55 acre preserve for the public to enjoy in perpetuity. The public benefits of this project have already been felt in numerous ways. Many families and individuals have appreciated the bird watching, walking and recreational opportunities that the Preserve provides and, because this important watershed area has continued to absorb water during the torrential rains of the last year, communities downstream did not experience the flooding and siltation that assuredly would have occurred had the property been developed.

HISTORIC SUGARTOWN, INC. DONATES CONSERVATION EASEMENT In May 2004, the final piece of the puzzle was completed to protect the entirety of Willistown Township’s 25 acre Spring Road proper ty. Historic Sugartown, Inc. purchased a 4.5 acre portion of the Township land and subsequently donated a conservation easement to the Trust. The easement keeps more than two acres contiguous to the Township’s remaining protected lands completely free from development and allows for the construction of buildings on the other two acres that would be compatible with architecture in the Historic Sugartown District. The Trust, Historic Sugartown and Willistown Township all recognized the importance Spring

of allowing limited expansion of the Sugartown village in concert with keeping an important public space open. We thank all of our partners for their foresight in this project.

WCT PARTNERS WITH AUDUBON PENNSYLVANIA TO C REATE A MODEL PROGRAM FOR THE PROTECTION OF CRITICAL BIRD HABITAT Trust Receives $165,000 Grant from the William Penn Foundation In 2003, 13,000 acres in the Trust’s program area were designated by Audubon Pennsylvania as an Important Bird Area (IBA). This international program identifies places of outstanding value to bird conservation, including migratory staging areas, winter roost sites and prime breeding areas. The new Upper Ridley/Crum Important Bird Area was qualified by Audubon for many reasons including: 1) the 25-year history of active conservation in the Willistown community; 2) good land management practices in our area; 3) a growing number of areas of public access; 4) our diversity of habitat; 5) close proximity to a large population base; 6) existing populations of rare, threatened and declining (statewide) birds; and 7) an historical record of birds sighted in the area.

practices, to invasive plants; but many IBAs are most threatened by residential sprawl and development. Because these IBAs tend to be near more urban areas, outright acquisition of these lands by Audubon PA is not practical. In order to assure the permanent protection of lands within IBAs, Audubon Pennsylvania has identified the need to engage land trusts in the process of working with private landowners to effectuate permanent protection. The Upper Ridley/Crum IBA falls into this category as approximately 5,000 acres in the Trust program are privately held and are not yet protected. The Willistown Conservation Trust and Audubon Pennsylvania have now formalized a partnership to create and implement a model habitat protection program in the Upper Ridley/Crum IBA. The focus of the partnership will be on the permanent protection and stewardship of privately held lands within the Upper Ridley/Crum IBA that are not yet protected, and using the results as a model to be replicated within other IBAs in Pennsylvania and across the country.

We are delighted to announce that the William Penn Foundation has recently approved a generous two-year grant in the amount of $165,000 toward implementation of this new model habitat protection project. (Please see projected grant goals detailed on p. 6.) We are deeply grateful to the Foundation for its confidence in our work and Important Bird Areas in Pennsylvania its support of this exciting partnership vary widely in habitat and ownership, and with Audubon Pennsylvania. range in size from the one-acre Creek Road Area IBA in Lancaster County to For more information about the Model the 280 square mile Hawk Mountain/ Habitat Protection Program, contact Kittatinny Ridge IBA. The site-specific Alex Van Alen at or threats to bird habitat in IBAs range 610-325-8098. from pollution, to inappropriate forestry




WCT MODEL HABITAT PROTECTION PROGRAM Thanks to the generous support of the William Penn Foundation, WCT will be working to meet the following goals during the two-year grant period: • A bird census conducted in partnership with Valley Forge Audubon. • Potentially excellent unprotected bird habitat in the Upper Ridley/Crum IBA identified and mapped. • Habitat management and restoration guidelines developed and disseminated to landowners with a focus on issues such as deer management, native plants, woodland management, and placement of nesting structures. • Monitoring program developed to determine population of Grassland Birds. • Projects completed as part of Upper Ridley/ Crum IBA: – native meadow project demonstration on Okehocking Preserve for area landowners – management plans for Rushton Woods and Kirkwood Preserve

• •

– at least one riparian planting along the Upper Ridley Creek Greenway – at least one deer exclosure project coordinated. Information about WCT/Audubon partnership disseminated as model between a land trust and IBA that succeeds in protecting bird habitat, including workshops, conferences, or joint publications. At least 600 acres of habitat permanently protected with excellent management practices through easement or acquisition within the Upper Ridley/Crum IBA. At least 100 nesting structures placed in the Upper Ridley/Crum IBA. At least 100 additional acres of land in Upper Ridley/ Crum IBA managed according to guiding principles for Grassland Bird habitat. At least five other land trusts consider partnership with Audubon in an IBA.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Meet our Newest Trustee

Meet our Newest Staff Member

F. Arthur McMorris, Ph.D.

John G. Turgeon

Art McMorris brings with him a life-long love affair with On September 27, 2004, we welcomed John G. Turgeon as

the Trust’s new Associate Director of Land Protection. John is a professional planner with extensive experience in land conservation planning and acquisition as well as real estate appraisal. He completed his undergraduate work at State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and holds a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from State University of New York at Albany. John’s most recent position was as Legacy Open Space Senior Planner for Montgomery County, MD.

virtually every aspect of the natural world. His childhood love of the outdoors led him to pursue studies in the biological sciences: he earned degrees in Biology from Brown (B.A.) and Yale Universities (Ph.D.) and conducted research in neuroscience for over 35 years. Art’s work has now moved out of the laboratory and back outdoors, where he devotes his time to various projects related to birds and conservation. His association with the Willistown Conservation Trust began two years ago when the Important Bird Area (IBA), where he was conducting breeding bird surveys with Audubon Pennsylvania, expanded to include the WCT program area. Art lives in Bala-Cynwyd with his wife Joanna, daughter Lizzie, two cats and a backyard full of birds.


At the Trust, John is focused on managing conservation easement projects, grant writing and administration for land acquisition projects. He lives in West Chester with his wife, Cortie Ervin, and his five year old daughter, Amelia. We are indeed fortunate to have John on board to help with the Trust’s growing workload of conservation projects.




The Kirkwood Preserve will be Managed to Enhance Ecological and Community Services By Alex Van Alen

The recent acquisition of the 60 acre Kirkwood Preserve

• Eliminating potential light pollution. Light pollution not only reduces visibility of the spectacular night sky, it can have detrimental effects on migrating birds and other nocturnal wildlife. As but one example, many amphibians and reptiles are programmed to come out from cover in the dark to forage, but with artificial lighting, they delay their awakening, which can reduce their food intake and therefore their survivability. There will be no lighting on the Preserve.

along Grubbs Mill Road presents an opportunity for the Willistown Conservation Trust to enhance a natural system that has been working to benefit the community for years. The preserve’s resources include open grasslands, wet meadows, a small woodland, one half mile of the Crum Creek, and an additional 1,500 feet of tributary. These features have given the public an extraordinary scenic resource, provided breeding habitat for grassland birds, feeding grounds for great blue herons, American kestrels and red foxes, to name a few, and will protect the quality and quantity of water entering the Crum Creek. With additional management, WCT will enhance these resources and visitors will be welcome to come enjoy them.

Kirkwood Preserve continued on page 8.

Following are some of the services provided by the Preserve. • Cleaning air/Carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration occurs in an ecosystem when the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by growing plants is greater than the amount of the gas released by decomposing plant material. Several studies have shown that grasslands can pull carbon from the air faster than they release it, and that this sequestration accelerates when carbon in the air is higher than normal, as it is now. With 50 acres of grasslands, Kirkwood Preserve will eliminate tons of carbon from the air each year.

• Cleaning water and preventing flooding downstream. Tall grasslands near a creek significantly slow runoff from heavy rains, in addition to filtering pollutants before they enter the stream. This regulation of water flow prevents a sudden rush of water coursing through the creek and overflowing its banks. As with the important lands of our 55 acre Ashbridge Preserve on the Ridley Creek, protecting lands here protects communities and water supply downstream.




T HE S YCAMORE Kirkwood Preserve continued from page 7.

• Scenic vistas for the passing public on Grubbs Mill Road. As one of the most scenic public views in the • Public Recreation/Education. With increased human Crum Creek watershed, Kirkwood Preserve will continue population and decreased open space, there is little to please and inspire passing motorists, bikers, equestrians question of the need to provide the public with the ability and walkers. to get outdoors and enjoy the natural world, while also learning more about it. WCT will open the Preserve to the public, lead educational walks and provide opportunities While a plan is being developed to manage the Preserve’s for other organizations to use it for educational purposes. resources, the Trust will maintain a network of trails mowed through the grasslands, and with the assistance of one of our • Wildlife habitat. While these 60 acres have provided good partners, Willistown Township, will develop a parking area to wildlife habitat for many years, WCT will examine the land accommodate visitors. Starting this summer, look for a sign and determine ways to further enhance its value for along Grubbs Mill Road and an information board in the new wildlife. This may include changing the mowing schedule parking area. And remember, this project could not have so as not to interfere with nesting birds, planting native happened without all of our partners: Natural Lands Trust, Chester County, and the taxpayers of Willistown Township grasses, and protecting the woodland from deer browse. through their Open Space Funds. The Trust also has a grant request pending with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help complete the acquisition.


Sightings from Sanibel Island by Alice Hausmann

A t the moment, I am

Slightly further out, a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) is comfortably perched on a bald cypress looking over a small drainage pool for prey and quite oblivious to the Sapsucker. This species is very well represented down here and has little fear of humans, allowing opportunities to view them closely and for long spells. The Florida species is slightly paler than the Eastern variety but still a handsome bird. We are fortunate to have the time to enjoy these wondrous creatures and we look forward to their arrival each morning when we open the shutters.

writing to you from our home on Sanibel Island where we are staying for the month of February. I am staring out of our bedroom window at a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ( Sphyrapicus YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER varius) who is drilling rings around a small but tolerant coconut palm located about three feet from the window. She returns every morning to investigate the numerous circles she has drilled, checking for sap and insects.


Last night we heard for the first time this season, the familiar song of two Chuck-will’s-widows (Caprimulgus carolinensis) calling to one another. Every February since we have been coming down here, we look forward to this mournful evening melody. It is sort of an anniversary song as we initially heard it on our first night’s stay after closing on the house. However, after about three weeks of hearing it night after night, we have just about had it. We begin to cover our



T HE S YCAMORE ears with our pillows and wish we could somehow help these Lillian had spotted countless Cedar Waxwings and Robins on nocturnal lovers consummate the courtship and move on. the East end of the island and explained that these birds and the warblers begin leaving for Philadelphia and beyond in late On rare occasions, we see the Chuck-will’s-widow at dusk March and early April. We can expect to see many of the birds sitting on the road. But otherwise that winter here back in Philadelphia by early May. they are evasive creatures and are largely known But believe it or not, I have been thinking of home and how in February all things begin to brighten and small harbingers of spring begin to appear. On our pond at home I would probably be seeing the waterfowl return to the open waters — the Buffleheads, Mergansers and Ring-neck ducks. Bonnie reported seeing a Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous) very early in the season on February 18 on the South Tract at Kirkwood. According to expert birder David Sibley, Killdeer have significantly declined in recent years due to changes in CHUCK-WILL ’S-WIDOW agricultural and other land uses. Conservation efforts in the WCT area help these species find the habitat they need only by their distinctive song. We were particularly concerned to survive. that the hurricanes might have destroyed their breeding grounds but happily, they proved resilient despite nature’s wrath. We are thinking about migrating up there along with the rest of the snowbirds very soon. Yesterday around sunset, Peter and I rode our bikes around the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge which is the I still enjoy hearing from all of you about what you are winter home for countless species of birds. At this time observing around our beautiful countryside. The Trust is of year you are likely to see on a regular basis, Roseate working on posting a Sightings page on our Website to give Spoonbills, White Pelican, Wood Stork, Night Herons, it a little more immediacy. As soon as numerous warblers, woodpeckers and wading birds in we have it up and running, addition to river otters and alligators. At the visitor’s center, I hope you will they post a daily list of the birds one might expect to encoun- share your keen ter on the island. Some of the more rare species for that day observations. included the Bonaparte’s Gull, the Whimbrel, and the Marbled Godwit. We did not see any of those that evening, but we have on other occasions. It is always fun to check the list. We were sitting watching a Redish Egret dance and catch fish when Lillian and Don Stokes came along, Lillian sporting a Cannon camera with a very large lense attached. Lillian and Don have been coming down here for a number of years from New Hampshire. They are well known in birding circles for their numerous and very popular photographic birding guides. Lillian immediately started shooting a group of Willets right next to us at the shoreline and then moved on to the irresistible antics of the Redish Egret. We began to talk with them, discovering that Don was raised in Philadelphia and then discussed those birds that winter in Sanibel from our area. Spring






The Willistown Conservation Trust is proud to be a

Last year, Willistown volunteers led by Township resident, Sponsor again this year for the Annual Stream Cleanup to be Gary Sheehan, cleaned up the headwaters of Crum Creek held on Saturday, May 7th, from 9:00 to11:45 a.m. A picnic starting at Lancaster Pike. The total trash removed by for volunteers will follow beginning at 12:00 p.m. at Rose volunteers from all thirty sites throughout the three Tree Park. This is the ninth year the Chester-Ridley-Crum watersheds weighed in at over 12 tons! To learn more, or to Watersheds Association has organized this event which will volunteer, please contact Anne Murphy, Executive Director take place at more than 30 sites throughout the three watersheds. of CRC at 610-892-8731.

JOIN US FOR A CREEK WEEK EVENT! Saturday, May 14th at the

Willistown Conservation Trust Kirkwood Preserve Grubbs Mill Road, 1/4 mile north of Goshen Road, Willistown Township (on the beautiful Crum Creek)

This event is part of “Creek Week” established by our friends at the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association to raise awareness and encourage stewardship of these three local creeks. Be sure to bring waterproof boots, binoculars and field guides.

7:00 A.M. COFFEE AND DANISH 7:30 A.M. BIRD WALK guided by Art McMorris, Ph.D., an expert birder with the Audubon Society. 9:30 A.M. EXPLORE THE CREEK and discover stream critters during a fascinating interactive exhibit presented by Stroud Water Research Center. Fun for kids! Spring




Activities and Events (Continued) ANNUAL DINNER LECTURE


“Golf and Good Nature”

Thursday, May 12, 2005 Radnor Hunt 6:30 p.m.

3rd Annual Golf Outing Applebrook Golf Club

Bird Conservation ...from the Tropics to Willistown

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Speaker: Dr. Robert S. Ridgely Vice President for Endangered Bird Conservation American Bird Conservancy

Join us in welcoming world-renowned ornithologist, Bob

Ridgely, to the Willistown area on May 12th. Dr. Ridgely will regale us with birding stories that range from Central America to our local countryside, including his 1997 discovery of a new bird species, the Jocotoco Antpitta. As a founder of the Ecuador-based bird conservation organization, Fundación Jocotoco, Dr. Ridgely is a proponent of private reserve systems as a conservation strategy for endangered tropical bird species.

Thanks to our Special Sponsors to Date: Claneil Foundation Devon Hill BMW & Volkswagen Mr. and Mrs. Francis L. Doyle III Harvey Insurance Group Quaker Funds, Inc. TL Ventures

You will leave the lecture itching for an opportunity to go birdwatching in the tropics!

We Welcome Additional Sponsorships. Please Give Us a Call



will have an opportunity to learn about pond and stream management at a workshop on Saturday, July 16th from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Willistown Conservation Trust, the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association and Willistown Township. The first part of the program will be held at Willistown Township’s Garrett Mill Road Park. The group will then move upstream to Lynn and Tony Hitschler’s Garrett Mill Farm, recently preserved through the donation of a conservation easement to the Trust.

ally-recognized motor car event that attracts automobile enthusiasts from across the country. Event chairman Michael G. Tilson III, an expert on the subject of classic sports and racing cars, first organized the Concours in 1997 and each year the event has drawn a bigger crowd. The weekend’s activities include a road rally, black tie gala and exclusive car show limited to 100 carefully selected entries.

Residents of Willistown and surrounding communities Now in its ninth year, the Concours d’Elegance is a nation-

For the sixth consecutive year, the Willistown Conservation Trust has been selected as a beneficiary of the Concours. We are grateful for the Concours Committee’s continuing generosity and support of our mission.

The workshop will feature a presentation and pond analysis by Dr. Winfield Fairchild of West Chester University, and a stream buffer planting and field management walk led by For more information about the Concours d’Elegance or to Stroud Water Research Center educator Vivian Williams. purchase tickets for the weekend’s events, please visit their To register, please contact Trisha Lambert at 610-353-2562 website at ext. 16 or Admission is $5. Spring




Testimony of a Landowner OUR AFFAIR WITH GARRETT MILL FARM by Tony Hitschler

Lynn and Tony Hitschler explore Garrett Mill Farm with grandchildren Sam, Ben and Emily Claytor.

One day Lynn and I were with Lynn’s daughter-in-law,

uncovered relics from the past, we are evolving a better Caroline Claytor, when one of us mused out loud that some understanding of how previous owners of the farm lived over day we might be interested in acquiring a place with a barn the past 200 years. We learned how they dealt with life’s and a stream. Lynn raised her family on a small farm and I had challenges when we came across the remains of a brick oven always had a little bit of a fantasy of owning a place large behind a wall, and when we discovered the open well in the enough to justify owning a real tractor. cellar of the farm house. We also have a better sense of how people may view us 200 years from now. Having been associated with the Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, I was vividly aware of the need to While Lynn and I had always shared a rational understanding conserve land for our future generations. Lynn had been of how important it is for all of us to help with conservation, involved in several garden clubs of Philadelphia in the Tinicum it wasn’t until we had actually bought Garrett Mill Farm and Marsh project and felt equally strong about conserving land conserved it, that we truly understood the joy of knowing that this land will be much the same in 200 years as it was 200 and water. years ago. For many years, the Willistown Conservation Trust had been talking with the Menghetti family, owners of Garrett Mill The other part of our pleasure has been working with the Farm. At just about the time of our conversation with Caroline, Trust and the many people who have devoted their lives to the Victor and Norma Menghetti had come to the magnanimous process of bringing the land and streams back to their ideal conclusion that they would like to sell the farm to a state. Clearly the uplifting feeling of caring for the future in conservation buyer according to the plan proposed by the Trust. these ways is palpable every day for us. A year or so of discussions ensued and, ultimately, we were presented with the wonderful opportunity to buy Garrett Mill We see ourselves as incredibly lucky and look forward to Farm. As Lynn and I have come to know the farm and have sharing this land and its resources with all, now and, hopefully, forever. Spring




We’re Moving on Down the Road!

Our present office at the

corner of Providence and Goshen Roads has served as the Trust’s headquarters since 1998. This small space in the old saddle shop was more than adequate for the three staff members at the time, but today eight staff members are using the same space. We’ve run out of room, and we’re sure our steadfast landlords are running out of patience! Thank


925 Providence Road ~ WCT’s future office!

you, Franny and Rad, for supporting us for seven busy years!

• A conference room that can accommodate a full Board meeting, as well as small workshops and/or educational seminars; • Offices that are more conducive to private meetings; • A large work room for volunteer activities, mailings and internal projects; • A fully functional kitchen;

• Plenty of storage space; and • Adequate parking for staff, volunteers and visitors.

With the preservation of Kirkwood Farm, the Trust was presented with the wonderful opportunity to relocate to the old farmhouse on the property at 925 Providence Road. Thanks to the generosity of the new owners we have the opportunity to lease the farmhouse for 25 years. The Trust will be undertaking renovations over the next couple of months to transform the farmhouse into a functional and efficient workspace for our staff to carry on its good conservation work. We aim to move by early summer and hope you will stop by for a visit.

We are delighted to announce that in December 2004, the McLean Contributionship approved a grant of $50,000 towards the farmhouse renovation costs. We are proud to be included among the many worthy organizations the Contributionship supports. If you are interested in supporting the farmhouse renovation project, please contact Betsy H. Block, Director of Development and Public Relations at 610-353-2562 ext. 13 or


Come one, come all and participate in an old-fashioned barn

In order to complement the existing old farmhouse while following environmentally friendly building practices, Open Connections decided to purchase an old timber frame barn. “Purchasing the barn serves two great purposes. It will not only save a beautiful, historic barn from demolition, but it will also assure its future in a practical way to be enjoyed by families for many years to come,” said Peter Bergson, co-founder of Open Connections.

raising to be held at Open Connections, located on Delchester Road south of Route 3, in Edgmont Township. The event is scheduled for June 18th and 19th, when the posts and beams of a restored 1840s era timber frame barn will be raised by Open Connections with help from the community. The barn raising will take place on 28 acres of land that is part of the former Truxton Hare property. Open Connections purchased this beautiful farm in 2001 through the Trust’s conservation buyer program, and generously donated a conservation For more information please call 610-459-3366 or visit their easement to protect its scenic and natural resources forever. website at Spring




2004~A Year of Celebration What a year it was! 2004 marked the 25th year of conservation in the Willistown community. In order to highlight the accomplishments, engage current supporters and volunteers and bring new supporters into the fold, the Trust organized a series of fun and informative activities throughout 2004.

A few notable highlights: • In February, the Trust sponsored a lively dinner lecture entitled “Birds in Peril and Strategies for Conservation,” featuring Steve Hoffman, Audubon Pennsylvania’s Director of Bird Conservation. • In May, we hosted the “Countryside Bash” to thank landowners, easement donors, farmers and land managers, young friends, and our many supporters. Our friends, Esther and Paul Gansky, generously donated their field at “Heartwood” for the event, which drew over 550 people. This site, adjacent to the Trust’s headquarters, overlooks many acres of preserved countryside, and was the perfect setting to kick up our heels, celebrate our successes, and thank everyone who has joined in the conservation effort over the years. • In September, the Trust served as the beneficiary of the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance and the Radnor Pro Bull Riding Championship. Through the two events, WCT engaged over 60 volunteers and spread the word about the Trust’s conservation mission. • And finally, the grand finale to the year-long celebration was the “Enchanted Woods Masquerade Ball” held at Radnor Hunt in October. Costumes ranged from woodland creatures to Elvis impersonators, and guests danced the night away to the Ward Marston Band. Thanks to all of you who joined in the 25th year celebrations! We’re looking forward to the next 25 years of community conservation!






The Board of Trustees of the Willistown Conservation Trust is pleased to announce the formation of the Sycamore Society to recognize the most generous donors to our annual fund. Donations to the annual fund provide more than 35 % of our operating budget each year. We depend upon these important gifts to fulfill our mission to protect the rural character and natural features of the Willistown countryside. By making a gift of $1,000 or more in 2005, you will be considered a Charter Member of the Sycamore Society. Special benefits of Charter Membership will include: • Recognition on a permanent plaque in the Trust’s new office. • An invitation to a Sycamore Society recognition party in Spring 2006. • A set of limited-edition note cards printed for use by Sycamore Society members. To learn more about making donations to the Trust please contact Betsy Block, Director of Development and Public Relations at or 610-353-2562 ext. 13.

Samba 2004 Karen Hartley, Megan Reese, Debbie Kimelblatt, Mary Beth Hurley and Rob Van Alen were among the 50 volunteers who participated in Samba de Bull. The professional bull riding event benefitted the Trust’s land conservation efforts. We are grateful to Graham Partners and Lubert-Adler for their support.






CELEBRATING KIRKWOOD! A fancy picnic supper on the Kirkwood Preserve

Sunday, October 2, 2005 Join us for an elegant country picnic to celebrate the creation of the 60-acre Kirkwood Preserve and the protection of over 300 acres of Kirkwood Farm, located in the heart of Willistown. Watch for your invitation this summer!

Sponsorships Available!

THE SYCAMORE is printed on recycled paper.

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