Preservation for Civil War Buffs

Cassandra and Bill Pulig were “brought to” their land in Quaker Valley by a series of serendipitous, and a few scary, events. Having met in the graduate program at the University of Detroit’s Medical College, the couple had grown up in the North Country of changing seasons and shade trees.

Then they moved to the Santa Rosa area in Northern California, a beautiful ranch on the Russian River, and stellar careers—Cassandra in bio-chemistry and executive development for the big names of Hewlett-Packard, Syntex, Silicon Graphics, and even Industrial Lights & Magic (that’s George Lukas films!), while Bill followed the path of army physician for 30 years.

Somehow, that California mystique changed with wildfires, lack of water, commuting, developments, and Cassandra’s developing pulmonary hypertension. All of which brought them to Pennsylvania, where Pittsburgh pulmonary experts are the best in the nation. And, they had missed those broad-leafed trees! The couple moved to Pennsylvania in April of 1998. Cassandra underwent successful double lung transplant surgery in 2001.

The Puligs had also grown a fascination for Civil War history and re-enactments while in California, which brought them to Gettysburg, after briefly checking out a few other Pennsylvania neighborhoods, although Bill’s family is from western Pennsylvania. Imagine the thrill of finding 105 acres in Butler Township, within the original William Penn land grant, with a beautifully maintained Georgian home, a pond, a wood lot, and gently rolling hills that had been run through by Jubal Early’s troops. They also purchased another, non-adjacent orchard that had already been preserved through the Adams County Farm Preservation program.

Cassandra contacted the Land Conservancy of Adams County more than two years ago about preserving their property. She and Bill took time away from their ideal life of volunteering and part-time professional work—Cassandra with the Penn State Fruit Lab and counseling, Bill with hospice and Lutheran Health Care—to work with the Land Conservancy on crafting a conservation easement on 96.7 acres of their orchard and farmland. The Puligs’ easement was finalized on May 19, thanks in part to funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, with county matching funds. The Puligs are delighted with the “excellent help” they received preserving this special farm, citing the expert work of the Land Conservancy’s conservation coordinator, Sarah Kipp. The Puligs proudly display a Land Conservancy sign at the end of their lane.

The preservation of the Puligs’ land is important not only because of the history and well-preserved nature of the property, but also because the land adjoins other preserved farms in this high, open section of Adams County. The Puligs will continue to farm their land, with apple orchards and Leicester Longwool sheep, an endangered species. It’s a perfect re-enactment of past centuries on this property!

The Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) member-supported organization with the mission of preserving the rural lands and character of Adams County. For further information, call 717-334-2828, email LCAC@adamscounty.us, or visit the website http://www.LCACnet.org.

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership Mini-Grant Program

Mini-Grants for the Susquehanna Greenway region are intended to stimulate projects that align with the goals of the partnership and advance strategic approaches to conservation and connections. The theme for the 2014-15 Mini-Grant program is: Susquehanna Greenway Signage and Interpretation

This is a competitive grants program for interpretative planning and signage projects that will help improve the experience of people who are using walking and biking trails, water trails, community parks, or visiting river towns within the Susquehanna Greenway.  A total of $60,000 is available for 1). Developing plans to interpret and promote a community’s heritage, natural and recreational resources, and 2). Designing, fabrication, and installing signs based on the Susquehanna Greenway Sign Design Guidelines (a link is provided below).

Eligible applicants include municipalities, COGs, conservation districts, and any “authority” recognized under the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act.  Non-Profits alone are not eligible to apply but are encouraged to partner with their local municipality or any other eligible applicatant to apply.  Any non-profit that wishes to apply should contact Zach Pyle, SGP River Towns Coordinator at 570-522-7339 or by email at zpyle@susquehannagreenway.org.

Project must be located within the Susquehanna Greenway in these PA counties:  Susquehanna, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Indiana, Cambria, Clearfield, Clinton, Lycoming, Union, Snyder, Juniata, Perry, Dauphin, and Cumberland.

Mini-Grant Timeline

  • Grant Round Opens:  Wednesday, May 28, 2014
  • Submission Deadline: Thursday, July 22, 2014
  • Grant Awards Announced: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
  • Project Completion: Friday, May 15, 2015

Saving ConaMoore Farm

7aThe shady woodlands, rolling pastures, and picturesque buildings of ConaMoore Farm serve as the gateway to East Nantmeal Township, Chester County. The land was once part of a William Penn grant, and has been in the McAfee family for five generations.

When family members considered taking the steps necessary to preserve their beloved farm, they reached out to the East Nantmeal Land Trust, which, in turn, asked for assistance from Natural Lands Trust. Together, the two organizations developed a preservation strategy that maximized both the acreage preserved and the financial return for the family. The project included a 120-acre agricultural easement granted to Chester County and two conservation easements, 33 acres and 10 acres, granted to Natural Lands Trust.

“It’s been this way for so long, we thought it sure would be nice if it could stay this way,” said Kevin McAfee of his family’s decision to protect their farm. McAfee, who has no siblings or children, says the conservation easement gives him comfort when he thinks about ConaMoore Farm’s future. “We don’t know who will farm it next, but we know it will always be here… all in one piece.”

The farm lies within a landscape known as the Hopewell Big Woods, the largest unbroken forest remaining in southeastern Pennsylvania. An expanse of more than 73,000 acres, the Hopewell Big Woods is one of the most important natural areas in the region.

Stated Chester County Commissioners Ryan Costello, Kathi Cozzone, and Terence Farrell, “Much of the success and accomplishments of Chester County’s open space program are due to the tremendous support of private conservation and the efforts of organizations like Natural Lands Trust. The conservation of ConaMoore Farm is a great example of this, and we thank the McAfee family for their commitment to the farm’s preservation.”

Watershed Specialist Added to Berks Conservancy’s Staff

William J Ryan III joined the Berks Conservancy on July 7 as its new Watershed Ecologist. This new position, is designed to focus on outreach and work with landowners and farmers within the conservancy’s local watersheds.

William will be responsible for the conservancy’s new volunteer program, working closely with Sr Ecologist Larry Lloyd to recruit farmers to enroll best management practices on their properties, reach out to landowners who want to protect their properties and help monitor conservation easements. William will also be responsible for the conservancy’s community gardens.

William holds a BA in Environmental Science, an MS in Physical Geography and is completing his PhD in Wildlife Ecology under the advisement of Dr. Douglas Tallamy at the University of Delaware. He is highly regarded for his knowledge of flora and fauna.

Delaware Highlands Conservancy Welcomes New Land Protection Coordinator

The Land Protection team of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy: clockwise from top left, Jen Sherwood, Jamie Bartholomew, Carol Smith, and Amanda Subjin.

The Land Protection team of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy: clockwise from top left, Jen Sherwood, Jamie Bartholomew, Carol Smith, and Amanda Subjin.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy is extremely pleased to welcome Jennifer Sherwood to the organization as the new Land Protection Coordinator. Jen joins the existing land protection team, which includes Amanda Subjin, Stewardship and Education Coordinator; Jamie Bartholomew, Monitoring Coordinator; and Carol Smith, Stewardship Assistant.

Since its founding in 1994, the Conservancy has grown into an accredited land trust serving four counties in the Upper Delaware River region with offices in Hawley, PA and Bethel, NY. To date, more than 14,000 acres have been protected.  The Conservancy also produces numerous community and educational programs for both children and adults.

As Land Protection Coordinator, Jen will work with landowners who want to protect their cherished lands with the Conservancy for the benefit of present and future generations. She has always had a passion for the outdoors, and growing up in northwest New Jersey provided the foundation for that love to flourish. Her commitment to environmental conservation earned her a BS in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Cobleskill.

Jen went on to work in the government and private industry as an ecologist in the southwestern deserts, the Rocky Mountains, and the Mid-Atlantic region. “These experiences provided the framework for me to refine my technical experience and broaden my personal connection to the environment,” Jen explains.

She was happy to return to the northeast where she continued to experience conservation challenges influenced by differing land use and resource management goals. “There are many beautiful natural areas that have the potential to become threatened as development pressure increases across the region. It is important to recognize and conserve these areas so they remain intact for future generations. I am excited to be working with such an extraordinary group of people at the Conservancy and I am delighted that I will have the opportunity to contribute to the people and places I love so much.”

In particular, Jen and the land protection team will be focused on working with the William Penn Foundation, which has recently announced a $35 million dollar multi-year initiative to protect and restore critical sources of drinking water for 15 million people, in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington. The grant will fund “an unprecedented collaboration of leading conservation organizations who will align their work to protect land, restore streams and test innovative approaches in ecologically significant places.” The Delaware Highlands Conservancy has been selected to receive some initial funding from this grant.

In addition to our land protection work, Conservancy programs like Shop Local Save Land and the Green Lodging Partnership connect local residents and visitors to our working farms and forests—providing clean, family-sustaining jobs that contribute to our quality of life. Year-round educational programs—hikes and paddles, forest stewardship programs, and retreats to empower and educate women forest landowners, to name a few—help connect people of all ages to the lands that sustain us. And the Conservancy’s Eagle Watch program harnesses the enthusiasm of dozens of dedicated volunteers to educate thousands of residents and tourists who visit the region to see our national bird.

City and School District of Philadelphia, Trust for Public Land cut ribbon on greened schoolyard

TPL_WilliamDick_Schoolyard_315Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Superintendent Dr. William Hite and The Trust for Public Land made two announcements today regarding the City’s efforts to green schoolyards and recreation centers. Construction is nearly complete on a new schoolyard at William Dick Elementary School which will officially open to students and the community later this summer. Across the street from the school, construction is beginning at Hank Gathers Recreation Center.

Both projects are part of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Philadelphia plan, specifically the Green2015 initiative, Mayor Nutter’s comprehensive plan to significantly increase outdoor recreational opportunities and green infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.

“This is an exciting collaboration for the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “Working with our partners, we will be able to green places where our children play. When I became Mayor, one of my goals for our great City was making it America’s greenest city, which involves infrastructure changes, natural resource management, and the creation of healthy, sustainable spaces. However, it is also about educating our children about the environment so that they are prepared to care for it in the future. I am confident these improved school yards and recreation centers will do all of the above.”

The new greened yard at William Dick was designed by the school’s students and guided by The Trust for Public Land. The design process began in May 2012, when 50 sixth-through-eighth graders surveyed the existing schoolyard and then studied stormwater management and green infrastructure with support from Philadelphia Water Department staff. Next, student-designers polled the entire student body to identify their goals for the revamped schoolyard, incorporating their feedback into a new schoolyard design, which was subsequently reviewed by teachers, school administrators and outside engineers.

“Involving future park users in the design process for the William Dick Elementary Schoolyard and Hank Gathers Recreation Center underscores The Trust for Public Land’s community-driven approach to park development,” said Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land’s Pennsylvania state director. “The students, faculty and neighbors who designed these sites shared their stories, hopes and dreams, and they have created new community spaces that reflect the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood’s unique character.”

The new schoolyard includes a running track, basketball court, turf field, new playground equipment, and plenty of shaded gathering spaces. Gessler Construction was awarded the $671,000 contract and began construction in November. The Trust for Public Land oversaw construction in coordination with the Philadelphia Water Department, which is responsible for the site’s storm water management features. In addition to providing outstanding play opportunities for kids, the yard incorporates many environmental features such as a rain garden that will collect storm water from the school and adjacent parking lot, keeping the water and its pollutants out of the sewer system and creating a lush, green backdrop for the schoolyard.

Bill Green, Chair of the School Reform Commission said, “When schools, communities, and local agencies work together as we’re doing in the Green2015 project, we’re given a unique opportunity to maximize value all around us. The children and everyone participating in this project are learning why it’s important to care about public spaces like city parks, school yards, and neighborhood playgrounds. At a time when the District must make the very best use of limited financial resources, this project offers the potential to provide cost-effective new ways to improve the quality of life in our city by creating more publicly accessible green space and protecting the environment at the same time.”

At Hank Gathers Recreation Center, 75 neighborhood residents working with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and The Trust for Public Land participated in a series of design workshops to select features that will improve the recreation center. The resulting design will enhance an existing junior baseball diamond and relatively new basketball courts. It will also add a new water spray park, upgraded seating areas, a picnic grove under an existing canopy of trees and a native grass bank. The community-driven design builds upon the recreation center’s existing programming and enhances active and passive recreation opportunities for users of all ages. Sean’s Landscaping was recently awarded the $380,358 construction contract.

The construction announcement is a major step forward for the city’s Green2015 pilot program for schoolyards and recreation centers, which was unveiled at William Dick Elementary School in May, 2012. When fully implemented, the pilot project will green 10 school playgrounds and city recreation centers at a total cost of $10 million, about half of which will be funded by a combination of state, city, and school district sources. The Trust for Public Land is leading the effort to raise private dollars to fund the second half. The nonprofit organization will also establish a stewardship fund to assist local organizations with maintenance and programming for each site.

The project leverages Philadelphia Water Department funds directed toward meeting federally-mandated stormwater management regulations, committed state funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Conversation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and private philanthropy raised by The Trust for Public Land from many, including the William Penn Foundation, MetLife Foundation, National Recreation Foundation, Mr. H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, NBCUniversal Foundation, Phillies Charities, the McLean Contributionship, and a $1 million challenge gift from The Otto Haas Charitable Trust at the direction of John and Janet Haas.

The William Penn Foundation was one of the original supporters of the planning and public engagement effort to draft the Green2015 action plan and is now providing significant resources for the pilot project. “This program represents a triple bottom line for Philadelphia. It cuts down on paved surfaces, which helps to keep heavy rains from washing pollutants into our water supply,” said Janet Haas, M.D., the Board Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “It repurposes existing city property, putting assets we already own to better use. And it brings communities together in attractive public spaces around their schools and recreation centers. In a time of economic scarcity, that level of impact is no small feat.”

“When we launched the Green2015 action plan last year, our goal was to chart a course for action that would make our city more equitable, livable, and competitive. Now we stand in partnership to make good on that goal through the greening and connecting of our community assets, parks and recreation centers and schoolyards,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor, Environmental & Community Resources/Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug shared the Water Department’s enthusiasm for Green2015, “Over the next 25 years, Philadelphia will be making unprecedented investments in green infrastructure that will enhance our communities as well as our waterways. These school children will be the future stewards of this infrastructure, making programs like this key to a sustainable, healthy future in Philadelphia.”

Through its Parks for People–Philadelphia program, The Trust for Public Land is playing a key role in implementing the Green2015 Initiative to transform 500 acres of land into neighborhood green spaces by 2015. The Trust for Public Land works with the City of Philadelphia to identify existing schoolyards and recreation centers as prime opportunities for conversion into greened play spaces and recreation areas.

Lure of the Brandywine: A Story of Land Conservation and Artistic Inspiration

on view through August 10

Celebrating the dual mission of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, this exhibition examines the art of the region through the lens of land conservation. The approximately 45 works are drawn from private and public collections, as well as the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s own holdings. The unique attributes of the landscape that attracted artists such as Jasper Cropsey, William T. Richards and members of the Wyeth family to the area are now largely protected through the efforts of the Brandywine Conservancy, which works to preserve and sustain the natural and cultural resources of the Brandywine watershed.

Spanning over a century, the exhibition presents artists’ responses to the pastoral Brandywine valley while making fascinating connections to the Conservancy’s activities that preserve thousands of acres of scenic and natural resources farmland and historic properties. Other Conservancy initiatives, including reforestation, promoting the use of native plants and the creation of trail networks all tie into the overarching goal of protecting the water quality of the Brandywine. Together, the selected works of art convey a strong sense of the region’s distinctive identity and reflect the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s rich holdings in landscape paintings. Lure of the Brandywine underscores the innate link between artists’ appreciation of the Brandywine region’s natural beauty and the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art’s commitment to ensuring that legacy for generations to come.

Ralph Goodno, ambitious leader of Lancaster County Conservancy, dies

RICHARD HERTZLER |Lancaster Online Staff Photographer

RICHARD HERTZLER |Lancaster Online Staff Photographer

Ralph Goodno, the longtime head of the Lancaster County Conservancy who had unparalleled success in preserving the area’s natural lands, has died….read more.

Ralph Goodno, Ambitious Leader of Lancaster County Conservancy, says farewell

Pennsylvania Celebrates ‘Get Outdoors Month’ with Myriad Events

GOPA_LOGO_RGB copy copy Outdoor recreation areas across Pennsylvania will be hosting special events and activities during June as part of a statewide Get Outdoors Month observance, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti said today.

“The Get Outdoors Month celebration gives our bureaus of state parks and forestry, as well as other outdoor recreation facilities, a chance to showcase what they offer to so many across Pennsylvania,” Ferretti said. “Pennsylvanians are urged to get out and enjoy our 120 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forestland, and thousands of local parks and recreation venues.”

Governor Tom Corbett gave the effort strong momentum when he proclaimed June 2014 as Get Outdoors Month and Saturday, June 14, as Get Outdoors Day in Pennsylvania.

“Hundreds of events throughout the month are showcasing our special outdoor spaces,” Ferretti said. “We are so fortunate to have plenty of opportunities to explore, and these events allow people to discover places they have never been or participate in new recreations.”

The month-long observance underscores the work of DCNR, other state agencies, and outdoors-oriented groups and businesses to fuel or renew participation in outdoors activities, as noted in Corbett’s proclamation:

“Through the Get Outdoors PA program, citizens across the state can be connected to hundreds of outdoor recreation events to suit their recreational interests. Led by experienced trip leaders, these events provide safe, fun and close-to-home opportunities for healthy outdoor recreation.”

Fishing, wildlife watching, kayaking, hiking, biking and special tips for first-time campers are just a few of the Get Outdoors PA activities planned throughout the state.

Several locations are hosting Get Outdoors PA events on June 14 in celebration of Get Outdoors Day. For those and other Get Outdoors PA events, log on to www.getoutdoorspa.org

Media contact : Terry Brady, 717-772-9101

Editor’s note: The text of Governor Tom Corbett’s proclamation follows:

Proclamation: Pennsylvania Get Outdoors Month June 2014

WHEREAS, Get Outdoors Month is an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to celebrate and experience our great Commonwealth’s natural splendor and renew our commitment to conserve our air, water, and land; and

WHEREAS, through biking, swimming, skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing and many other activities, we are able to enjoy the healthy benefits of outdoor recreation and enjoy memorable experiences with family and friends; and

WHEREAS, Get Outdoors Month is a significant opportunity to help reconnect our children to nature and reverse the troubling nationwide trends of children spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago and spending six and a half hours each day “plugged into” electronic media; and

WHEREAS, conserving our natural resources and enhancing our legacy of environmental stewardship and enjoyment of the great outdoors by protecting open space, restoring wildlife habitats, educating young people about the environment, planting trees and maintaining recreational trails is critical; and

WHEREAS, outdoor recreation is vital to the economy of the Commonwealth, and the health and well-being of its residents; and this worthy pursuit will be showcased in Get Outdoors Day events Saturday, June 14, and

WHEREAS, through the Get Outdoors PA program, citizens across the state can be connected to hundreds of outdoor recreation events to suit their recreational interests. Led by experienced trip leaders, these events provide safe, fun and close-to-home opportunities for healthy outdoor recreation.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim June 2014 Get Outdoors Month and June 14 Get Outdoors Day in the Commonwealth. I urge all Pennsylvanians to reaffirm their commitment to enjoying, protecting and conserving the quality of our outdoors.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Shopping Local to Support Farms and Forests: Delaware Highlands Conservancy Releases Short Film

IMG_0089The Delaware Highlands Conservancy has released a new short film about the inter-connectedness of our vibrant local community, our thriving farm and forest economies, and the ways in which shopping local—and utilizing the resource ShopLocalSaveLand.com–can make a big difference. View the video at http://www.ShopLocalSaveLand.com or http://www.DelawareHighlands.org.

Produced in our Upper Delaware River region, the video features Keith Fitzpatrick (Hillside Woodworks), Larry Zampino (Zampino Arts), Emily Montgomery (Calkins Creamery), Andy and Kristin Curtis (Journey’s End Farm), and Pete Comstock (The Homestead School), and highlights the many ways in which supporting local businesses both connects us to the land and improves our quality of life.

ShopLocalSaveLand.com is an easy-to-use, one-stop resource for finding local businesses and providers for farm and forest products in the Upper Delaware River region. This means consumers can easily find fresh, healthy, local foods, as well as local sources for building, decorating, and heating their homes.

The whole community benefits when agricultural lands stay agricultural lands. Studies have shown that eating locally grown foods means eating healthier. Hills of rolling farmlands add to the scenic beauty of the region and bring visitors here who support not only locally produced farm products, but other local businesses as well. This gives farmers the economic resources they need to maintain their farmlands as agricultural lands.

Similarly, ShopLocalSaveLand.com creates a well-connected network of local wood products providers, forestry professionals, conservation organizations, and the general public to foster the sustainability of healthy and economically productive forestlands. The healthy forests of our region protect vital drinking water sources for us and for over 15 million people downstream. Supporting local forest products businesses means supporting our locally sustainable forest economy and assuring that our valuable forests will be here for future generations.

The Shop Local Save Land video project was funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Community Conservation Partnerships Program administered through the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Pocono Forest & Waters Conservation Landscape Conservation Assistance Program.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy works in partnership with landowners and communities to protect the healthy lands and forests, clean waters, eagles and eagle habitat, locally sustainable economies, and quality of life in the Upper Delaware River region. For more information on the Conservancy and how it connects people to the lands where they live, work, and play, visit http://www.DelawareHighlands.org.

Watch the video:

Shop Local: Find Your Experience from Endless Echo on Vimeo.

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