Lancaster Farmland Trust Raises Over $125,000 at Annual Dinner 2014 Award Winners Announced

With the support of generous sponsors and over 250 attendees, Lancaster Farmland Trust’s “Saving the Land We Love” annual dinner and silent auction raised over $125,000 for farmland preservation.

A live “Acres for Auction” event garnered $62,000 of the total amount. Acres for Auction featured two farms in Rapho Township; 52 acres are owned by Earl and Sandra Geib and 42 acres are owned by Barry and Dawn Geib. Attendees bid to preserve the two properties by giving $125 to preserve a quarter acre, $250 for a half acre, or $500 for a full acre.

The Geib brothers both recently decided to preserve their farms which are adjacent to each other. The properties were originally owned by Earl and Barry’s father who passed the farms down to his sons. Both farms are located in the Chiques Creek watershed and the brothers grow corn and soybeans.

The event also honored owners of preserved farms and the following awards were presented:

Distinguished Benefactor of the Year:

This award is given to a person or persons whose support for Lancaster Farmland Trust embodies generosity. The recipient is awarded not just on the amount of their support, but also the spirit of generosity that they embody. This year’s recipients are Bernice and Jack Gerhart (posthumously).

Jack and Bernice have been generous supporters of Lancaster Farmland Trust and advocates for farmland preservation in the community. They often shared stories about favorite farms that had been lost to development and their hope that the Trust would be able to preserve what remained.

Although Jack passed away a few months ago, the enthusiastic and generous support he provided over 20 years will have a lasting impact on the Trust.

Amos H. Funk Spirit of Cooperation:

The Amos H. Funk Spirit of Cooperation was developed in 1999 to recognize cooperative efforts among partners to promote land preservation. Regarded as the father of land preservation in Lancaster County, Amos Funk was a tireless leader in land, soil, and water conservation. This award is given to recognize the importance of collaboration in conservation and honor partnerships that make Lancaster County a special place to live and work.

This year’s award is presented to the Lancaster County Conservancy. Both the Conservancy and Lancaster Farmland Trust were founded by Amos Funk and in the years since, the two organizations have worked in partnership on many projects. The Conservancy and the Trust have worked together on four preservation projects that protect both farm and natural lands. Last year, the two organizations collaborated on a flood plain restoration project at Pool Forge on the Conestoga River and, most recently, have come together to provide outreach and education about the proposed Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline.

Volunteer of the Year:

Whether helping at events or serving on the board of trustees and committees, volunteers are the lifeblood of the Trust’s effort. These advocates give their time and efforts to promote farmland preservation in Lancaster County. This award is given to individuals who perform extra effort in service to the Trust during the year.

This year’s recipient is Scott Weaver. Since 2009, Garden Spot Village in New Holland has been our generous host site for Pedal to Preserve, the Trust’s community fundraising event. With about 1000 riders each year, the Trust could not hold this event without the generosity of Garden Spot Village and the leadership skills of Scott Weaver. Scott participates on the Pedal to Preserve planning committee and works with Trust staff for six months prior to the event to make sure it is executed flawlessly. Scott puts in countless hours planning the event and making sure that participants have a wonderful time in a beautiful setting.

Darvin E. Boyd Service to Agriculture: 

This award, named for the late Darvin Boyd, is presented to a leader in the community who, through their professional and personal activities, supports farming and raises the status of agriculture in the community.

The Darvin Boyd Service to Agriculture Award is given to Herman Brontrager, Chairman and CEO of Goodville Mutual Casualty Company. Herman has served on numerous non-for-profit boards including current service as chairman of the Clinic for Special Children which serves children with genetically transmitted diseases, especially in the Amish and Mennonite communities. Her has served for over 30 years as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom which assists Amish communities  when their way of life is in conflict with sate or federal regulations. The Nickel Mines Amish community asked him to serve as their official spokesperson and liaison to the media after the October 2006 shooting at the Amish school in Nickel Mines

Herman has been a trusted advisor and friend of Lancaster Farmland Trust for many years and currently serves on the Advisory Council as well as the Finance Committee.

Distinguished Service:
The Distinguished Service Award is given to those individuals who have faithfully served as members of Lancaster Farmland Trust’s Board of Trustees. The award is given to the following in honor of their service and commitment to the Trust and farmland preservation:

  • David Breniser
  • Dennis Grimm
  • Jim Lafferty
  • Ken Lewis

ConservationTools.org Recognized by the American Planning Association (PA Chapter)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (PA Chapter of APA) held its Annual Awards Luncheon in Philadelphia, PA on October 14 where over 300 attendees celebrated the esteemed award winners of this year’s highly competitive program.

ConservationTools.org, a project of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) and the Department of Conservation & Natural Reources, was honored with the Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach.  Andrew Loza, PALTA Executive Director accepted the award.

ConservationTools.org is Pennsylvania’s premier web resource library for conservation and land use best practices.  It includes over 1,000 library items – reports, articles, sample ordinances, and guidelines.  There are introductory profiles and guides prepared by experts in conservation, planning, and law.  The site also has a database of experts that can be consulted for help.  ConservationTools.org is free for users.  It has user-friendly topic directories and a search engine, and invites users to share comments and their own best practices.

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Launches Fundraising Campaign for River Access in Long Eddy, NY

Hours of community input are coming to fruition as the next phase of the Sullivan County River Access Plan, an initiative which has engaged and activated the community, is now being initiated.

As Sue Currier, Executive Director for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, explains, “The Conservancy is honored to be helping to implement a plan that Sullivan County and the community developed to revitalize river communities, enhance our economic vitality, and develop a coordinated, cohesive approach to branding the county’s river accesses. As a result, we’re coordinating a fundraising campaign to make this next phase happen, beginning with the Long Eddy river access.”

The purpose of the fundraising campaign is to purchase, protect, and improve the fishing and boat access site to the Delaware River located in Long Eddy, Sullivan County, NY.

At present, the Long Eddy access is popular with river guides and recreational users, but does not have a ramp or sufficient parking. The resulting crowded conditions reduce use by all but the most determined, and create conflicts over inappropriate parking with the nearby residents and businesses. The recently completed Sullivan County River Access Plan has identified the need to enhance access to the Delaware River for recreational enthusiasts and provide additional economic lift to our river towns, such as Long Eddy.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy has signed a contract to acquire a piece of private property located along the Delaware River, adjacent to the existing road used as the boat launch. It will be conveyed to the NYS DEC, who will in turn improve the boat launch for all river users.

The purchase, holding, and subsequent transfer of the property will cost approximately $20,000, and the Conservancy is hosting a fundraising campaign to cover these costs. The campaign may be accessed via Indiegogo at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/improve-the-long-eddy-river-access/x/8658204 or more information is available on the Conservancy’s website at http://www.DelawareHighlands.org. Every dollar donated goes directly to the project and, in turn, benefits the local community, its businesses, and all river users.

As Jeff Graff, an avid fly fisherman, explains, “The Delaware River is a truly amazing natural resource and a fly fisherman’s dream. It’s clear, clean waters flow over cobble bottom long eddies and riffles that meander through the ancient, dark hills and hardwood forests of southern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania and hold abundant populations of healthy, wild rainbow and brown trout. Its prolific aquatic insect hatches of mayflies, caddis flies and stoneflies provide some of the best and most challenging fly fishing opportunities for fishermen in the United States.”

He continues, “Creating and maintaining access to the river is essential, not only to fishermen interested in ensuring that the fishery remains vital and accessible to drift boats and wade fishermen, but also to other recreational users of the river such as canoeists and kayakers.”

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy works with landowners and communities to protect the healthy lands, clean waters, eagles and other wildlife, and sustainable economies of the Upper Delaware River region. For more information, send an email to info@delawarehighlands.org or call 845-583-1010.

Trust Helps Farmers Clean Up Pequea Creek Watershed

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded Lancaster Farmland Trust a $383,744 grant to help farmers reduce pollution in the Pequea Creek Watershed. The funding will be used to collect information on 430 farms in the watershed and then identify six strategic farms to implement long-term structural and field-based agricultural best management practices.

Lancaster County’s Pequea Creek Watershed was one of the first watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay to be targeted by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup. The watershed covers 148 square miles and about 86 percent is in agricultural use. Many of the farms in the area are owned by Old Order Amish and Mennonite farmers and have a critical impact on the health of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

This community-wide approach to improving water quality will assist farmers in making long-term environmental improvements and safeguarding our natural resources. Best management practices to be implemented may include streambank fencing, riparian buffers, in-stream habitat, cattle crossings, manure storage, no-till farming, grassed waterways and terracing methods.

The project will be conducted in partnership with the Pequea Creek Watershed Association in order to enhance education and outreach efforts to landowners. Efforts will include educational workshops and volunteer activities for cleanup and restoration.

This program will help municipalities implement “green infrastructure” practices that are sustainable solutions rather than relying on traditional practices for stormwater management and wastewater treatment such as pipes and sewers.”

 

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Honors Dr. Laurie Goodrich for her 30 years of Service

black and white goodrichDr. Laurie Goodrich was honored by her friends and colleagues with a surprise party earlier this month to honor her 30th anniversary at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

Goodrich joined the staff in fall 1984 as its first full-time biologist. Today Laurie is the Senior Monitoring Biologist, and she supervisors the raptor counts, coordinates activities with other watchsites, conducts her own research, advises and is the co-founder of the River of Raptors site in Veracruz, Mexico, and is active on multiple programs and projects to address land management and bird conservation issues.

Many visitors to Hawk Mountain know Laurie from the North Lookout, where she is always at home, sharing her contagious enthusiasm for hawk watching. Here, her patient and encouraging approach helps to boost confidence in many first-time birders. It becomes quickly obvious that she is a seasoned interpretive naturalist, a true raptor ID expert, and a passionate educator.

She recently launched a new satellite telemetry study, tagging three juvenile and one adult broad-winged hawk earlier this summer. To learn more about this work or the bird’s movements, visit hawkmountain.org/broadwing.

Sandy Long Named Artist in Residence

SandyLongPhotoShenandoah National Park announced Pennsylvania-based photographer Sandy Long as the artist selected for the Park’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence program.”We are very excited to debut the Artist-in-Residence program in Shenandoah. This program is a great avenue that will allow artists to discover, reveal, and share Shenandoah’s wonderful natural and cultural resources with new audiences,” said Superintendent Jim Northup.

Sandy has a multifaceted background as an artist, writer, and educator.Sandy gained her devout appreciation for Wilderness during visits to iconic landscapes which she notes, “have inspired my work as an advocate for wilderness and opportunities that allow people to interface with it.” During the two-week residency, Sandy will embark in explorations that will allow her to capture Shenandoah’s Wilderness from an artist’s perspective.
In addition, the visiting public is invited to join Sandy Long, Shenandoah’s Artist-in-Residence, and a park ranger on a casual exploration of the Big Meadows area to discover Wilderness through photography and the senses. This 2-hour program with a 1 to 2 mile easy hike will meet at the Byrd Visitor Center at 1:30 p.m. on September 27, 2014. Saturday, September 27 is Public Lands Day so entrance to Shenandoah is free. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera to aid in their exploration of Big Meadows. This program is geared for all ages.
Shenandoah’s Artist-in-Residence Program is supported by a generous donation from the Shenandoah National Park Trust.

Sandy earned her B.A. in English, with a minor in Communications, from Wilkes University, and worked in publications, recruitment and marketing at College Misericordia prior to serving as Director of Marketing and Alumni at Luzerne County Community College for 10 years.  Sandy is a nationally published poet, a New York Press Association award-winning reporter and columnist and frequent contributor to news and lifestyle publications. She has served on the Upper Delaware BioBlitz Steering Committee, Lacawac Sanctuary’s PR Committee, and is a Board Member of the Black Bear Conservatory of Music.

Boyer’s Nursery preserves 900-acre family farm in Franklin Township

For a long time, the Lower family has dreamed of preserving their “Home Farm” for future generations. The Lowers own Boyer Nurseries and Orchards on Boyer Nursery Road in Franklin Township, and the land surrounding the family’s nursery and farm stand has been theirs since W.W. Boyer bought it back in 1900. Mary Lower initially approached the Land Conservancy of Adams County about preserving the farm in 2010, and this year the family realized their dream of permanently preserving more than 900 acres of farmland.

“The scenic beauty of the home farm meant a lot to us,” said Mary’s daughter, Emma Lower, the fifth generation to work in the family business. “We get a lot of customers who come in and admire the beauty of the setting. We wanted to preserve that landscape for future generations.”

Boyer FRPP 2 1

The family’s farm is located high in the hills of western Adams County, where rainfall and spring water drain into rivulets and streams that eventually help form Marsh Creek, which provides drinking water to those living in the Gettysburg area. Waters from the farm ultimately drain downstream into both the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers on their way to the Chesapeake Bay. “We know there are a lot of natural springs and vernal pools in the woodland behind the farm and it’s an important water resource, so limiting development in this area was really important to us,” Emma said.

Like her mother, who gained an understanding of land use and preservation issues through serving at one time with the Adams County Planning Commission, Emma Lower was more than personally motivated to preserve the family farm. She had seen what could happen in locations where careful stewardship of the land and its resources was absent. “I worked briefly in land development before I came back to the family business,” she said. “The projects I worked on were mainly farmland being developed into high-density subdivisions, and I didn’t want to see that happen here.”

The Lower family worked with the Land Conservancy to craft four separate conservation easements, which are voluntary legal agreements tailored to the landowner’s wishes and attached to the property title that specify the kind and amount of development the landowner wants to allow on the property, now and in perpetuity. The first two of these conservation easements were settled in 2013, with the second two settled this past June. All together, the Lower family has preserved more than 900 acres of the Home Farm.

“For us, it was a very easy process,” Emma said. “All we had to do, as a family, was make that initial decision to preserve the land, and then it was all the Land Conservancy.”

Once the Lower family contacted the Land Conservancy, Conservation Coordinator Sarah Kipp went to work researching grants to reimburse the family for the value of their easement contracts. The two most recent easement settlements were funded in part by the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program, which is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Matching funds were provided by Adams County’s Green Space Program. Other easement costs were underwritten by the Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant, which is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the nonprofit American Rivers, which works to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams.

“This was a large project, with proportionally more expensive surveys, appraisals, and other costs, so it was fortunate that we were able to use some of the Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant to help cover the easement costs,” said Kipp. “This grant prioritizes upland forests and headwaters in the Potomac Watershed, so it was a perfect partner for this important project.”

The Land Conservancy of Adams County is an accredited nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving the rural lands and character of Adams County. It works with interested landowners to develop conservation easements that protect the county’s open spaces, farmlands, forests, and water resources. For more information about the Land Conservancy, call (717) 334-2828, email lcac@adamscounty.us, or visit www.LCACnet.org.

Family to Forestland

Family tree 1“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”  Baba Dioum

This summer the Delaware Highlands Conservancy launched the “Family Tree Series” of educational programs to help kids and families connect to nature—and to foster conversation about the future of their own family lands.

The “Boards to Birdhouses” workshop attendees, which included grandparents, parents and young children, took a walk in a local forest, learned how trees are selected and cut, and then watched a portable sawmill turn trees into boards. The landowner then guided attendees in building their own birdhouses to take home.

The mission of the Conservancy, and the definitions of things like conservation easements or working forests, can sometimes be challenging to apply to everyday life. But in the Family Tree workshop series, attendees get the complete picture of just how protected lands benefit the community, the types of jobs that working forests can create, and the many different ways of connecting to forestland, from bird-watching and hiking to sustainably harvesting and selling timber.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting a series of workshops where children of all ages can come and explore with their parents and grandparents and learn more about our local forest lands,” says Stewardship and Education Coordinator Amanda Subjin. “My husband and 3-year-old son participated in the workshops and have a clearer view of what comes from the forest and why it is so important to keep these lands undeveloped. At the Boards to Birdhouses event, it was exciting to see all the kids and their caregivers follow the path of the tree from forest to finished product.

When children have the opportunity to connect to and learn about nature—especially what they see in their own communities and backyards—they become responsible stewards of the land, which is a commitment that lasts a lifetime.

Family tree 2For adults, the series presents new ideas on how to manage their land, as well as options on how to support our local economy. And shopping local is easy. A dynamic, searchable website ShopLocalSaveLand.com connects consumers to local providers of variety of wood products: from foresters and loggers to sawmills and local furniture makers.

Supporting local forest products businesses means supporting our locally sustainable forest economy, and it means the ability to sustain the forestlands we cherish. It assures that our valuable forests will be here for future generations, and that vital drinking water sources are protected for us and for everyone downstream–the Upper Delaware River provides water to over 15 million people. That water is filtered by the healthy forests that thrive here.

The Family Tree series fosters this sense of wonder and responsibility, connects kids and families to local conservation, and supports a sustainable future for the Upper Delaware River region.

To see the Conservancy’s schedule of upcoming events visit www.DelawareHighlands.org. The Family Tree series workshops are supported by the Grey Towers Heritage Association.

 

 

Property Once Slated for Development Now a Refuge

Natural Lands Trust’s Green Hills Preserve now open to the public

GreenHillsPreserve by JimMoffettNatural Lands Trust today announced that its 168-acres nature preserve in Robeson Township, Berks County, is now open to the public. Once slated for development, the property—known as Green Hills Preserve—provides crucial habitat for wildlife; now, it is a place of refuge and exploration for visitors as well.

The property, originally approved for a high-density development, went into foreclosure in 2009. Prudential Fox & Roach’s Land Development Division took the unusual step of seeking a conservation solution. After more than two years working to piece together critical funding, Natural Lands Trust was able to purchase the property from the lender in 2012.

Over the past two years, Natural Lands Trust has worked to secure funding for visitor amenities, such as parking and a trail network. With those elements now in place, Green Hills Preserve is open—free-of-charge—to visitors for hiking, bird watching, nature exploration, and dog walking (dogs must be leashed at all times). The preserve is open during daylight hours, seven days per week.

Green Hills Preserve features gently rolling agricultural fields, woodlands, and wetlands. A tributary to Allegheny Creek, a PA Department of Environmental Protection-designated “Cold Water Fishery” stream, bisects the preserve. The Preserve is situated within the Schuylkill Highlands, a region at the nexus of two landscapes that have been prioritized for protection: the Highlands (as defined by the US Congress) and the Schuylkill River watershed (a focus of much planning work by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Philadelphia Water Department). The area’s importance derives from the need to protect water quality, conserve habitat, and develop recreational opportunities in a region set for considerable growth over the next 20 years.

For more information about Natural Lands Trust’s Green Hills Preserve, including directions, visit www.natlands.org/greenhills.

 

11 Easy Ways to Support Adams County Farmers—and Why You Should

by Chris Little, Communications Director at the Land Conservancy of Adams County.

Drive out of Gettysburg in any direction and you quickly enter farmland, field after rolling field of orchards, pastures, and cropland. In fact, according to the Penn State Extension, more than half of Adams County is farmland—nearly 171,3050 acres of it. The county ranks sixth in Pennsylvania in terms of agricultural production overall—and first in the state for apples and peaches and fourth in the nation for apples.

All this farming is good for the local economy. According to the 2012 federal farm census, Adams County farmers generate more than $207 million in agricultural production that year, paying their employees more than $33 million and generating more than $5.1 million in property taxes.

Farming is big business in Adams County. It is also a big reason why this is such a great place to live—think of all those beautiful hills covered with apple trees in blossom, the rolling fields of soybeans and corn, all those picturesque cows and sheep. Without farming, Adams County would be a very different—and much less desirable—place to live.

But Adams County will only have farming as long as our farmers can earn a living here. Here are eleven easy ways you can help support Adams County farmers and farming:

1. Shop at your local farmers’ markets. This is one of the easiest—and most delicious—ways to support Adams County farmers. Find out the locations of some of our farmers’ markets at http://www.acfarmersmarkets.org and at http://www.gettysburgfarmmarket.com.

2. Buy directly from the farm! You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and more right off the farm when you shop at Hollabaugh’s Farm Market, the Round Barn, Boyer’s Farm Market, and other farms that have markets, like Sandoe’s and McDannell’s. You can find a list of local right-on-the-farm markets at http://www.adamsfoodpolicy.org—just search their local food guide.

3. Have a drink! Adams County is home to several established wineries—Adams County Winery, the Hauser Estate Winery, and Reid’s Orchard and Winery come to mind—with new wineries in development. If hard cider is more to your liking, try Good Intent Cider, which opened right here in Adams County in 2010.

4. Join a CSA. Many of our local farmers run Community-Supported Agriculture programs, where members of the community “subscribe” to a share of the farm’s produce. This is a great way to support your local grower while learning just what they produce each season.

5. Attend the annual Apple Blossom and Apple Harvest festivals and the South Mountain Fair. These community events honor the hard work our farmers do to provide food for people across the country. They are a great way to see the best of what Adams County farmers produce.

6. Attend the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Adams County farmers consistently win statewide awards for their products. Go see their displays and be proud of what our farmers can do!

7. Shop at local businesses that supply Adams County farmers. Buying annuals for your garden? Buy them at Agway instead of Walmart. Need a new lawnmower? Stop in at O.C. Rice in Biglerville and save yourself the drive to Lowe’s. Supporting local businesses that serve our farmers provides a great service to our farmers by keeping their suppliers nearby.

8. Be patient when you are stuck behind a tractor on the road. The farmer is driving as fast as he or she safely can to get to work on another field, so relax and be patient! In the same vein, be tolerant of smelly fertilizer applications. This is the stinky side of farming—but it is environmentally responsible and ensures healthy crops and soil for years to come!

9. Volunteer for the Adams County Gleaning Network. This local group of volunteers helps feed the hungry in Adams County by collecting food that farmers can not sell to be used by the Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen, South Central Community Action Program (SCAAP), and local food pantries. Helping out can be as simple as picking up boxes of “seconds” from a farm market to actually harvesting produce from a farmer’s field. To learn more, visit http://www.thegleaningproject.org or search for “Adams County Gleaning Network” on Facebook.

10. Support the Land Conservancy of Adams County. This local nonprofit land trust works with regional and national grant organizations to help farmers preserve their land and stay in business. Find out more about the Land Conservancy at http://www.LCACnet.org.

11. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meats—the more you appreciate fresh farm produce, the more you will appreciate Adams County farmers!

For more information about Adams County agriculture, start with a visit to Adams County’s Penn State Extension office at http://www.extension.psu.edu/adams. To learn more about where to find fresh produce grown by Adams County farmers, visit http://www.adamsfoodpolicy.org and take a look at their Local Foods Guide. And to learn more about the Land Conservancy of Adams County, visit http://www.LCACnet.org, call (717) 334-2828, or email LCAC@adamscounty.us.

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