2016 Sycamore

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Spring newsletter of the Willistown Conservation Trust.

Transcript of 2016 Sycamore

  • T h e S y c a m o r e N E W S F R O M W I L L I S T O W N C O N S E R V A T I O N T R U S T | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6




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    Jeanne B. Van AlenPresident/Executive Director

    BOARD OF TRUSTEESJanice Murdoch


    V. Richard EalesVice Chairman

    Alice E. HausmannVice Chairman

    Elizabeth C. Hucker Treasurer

    John F. Stoviak Secretary

    Bryan D. Colket Assistant Secretary

    Timothy B. Barnard, Esq.Gary A. Cox

    Kathryn Kinkade Gord W. Anthony Hitschler

    William T. Howard George F. Krall, Jr.

    Elizabeth R. Moran* Leanne McMenamin

    Collin F. McNeilChristine S. Seving

    Peter S. StrawbridgeMatthew E. Taylor Carolyn W. Turner

    James L. Van Alen IITana Wall

    *Honorary Trustee

    STAFFChelsea Allen

    Rushton Farm Assistant Field Manager

    Sue R. CostelloGIS Coordinator

    Fred de LongDirector of Community Farm Program

    Laura de RamelDirector of Development and

    Community Outreach

    Blake GollNature Education Coordinator

    Eliza Gowen Community Farm Outreach Assistant

    Noah Gress Rushton Farm Field Manager

    William R. Hartman, Jr.Director of Stewardship

    Kristen Henwood Stewardship Asociate

    Erik Hetzel Director of Land Protection and Public Grants

    Lisa KiziukDirector of Bird Conservation Program

    Kelsey Lingle Communications Associate

    Susie MacDonnellEvents and PR Coordinator

    Barbara McIlvaine Smith Development Associate

    Joyce D. SpraginsCommunications and Technology Manager

    Willistown Conservation Trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3 of the I.R.S. Code. Donations are tax-deductible. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the PA Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, (800) 732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

    When I began my role as new Chair of Willistown Conservation Trust, I had no idea how enjoyable it would be. On any given day when Im in the office, I hear lots of laughter, and the staff is humming along in every direction. Land Protection managers are meeting with land owners and poring over maps of the area, communications staff might be working on a publication with an amazing photo of a bird or bug or child

    at one of our preserves, and bird conservation staff may come in from the field excited about the sighting of a rare bird. I also did not fully appreciate how hands-on and hard-working our Trustees are, most of whom work alongside staff members on a regular basis sharing their expertise and passions in support of the Trusts mission to conserve land and connect people to nature. The most gratifying part of my role as Chairman is involvement in our $10.5 million Willistown Countryside Forever campaign. I have had the privilege of meeting with many members of the community to learn about what is important to them and to share our vision for the countryside. And I am consistently overwhelmed by their generous response to our request for support. To date we have raised $8.6 million, with $1.9 million remaining to reach our $10.5 million goal. To that end, we are thrilled to announce that we received an exceedingly generous $1 million challenge grant from the Otto Haas Charitable Trust. We still need additional donations to meet the challenge of this one-for-two matching grant, and with its completion we anticipate closing out the entire campaign one year ahead of scheduleby the end of 2016. We are especially excited about the completion of the campaign because it will enable us to begin construction of the Rushton Conservation Center at Rushton Woods Preserve. This new building will support our education and outreach initiatives, hosting myriad conservation research activities and providing a gathering place and hands-on learning center with its teaching kitchen and gathering room. From graduate students working on their capstone projects to urban school students preparing a harvest meal straight from the fields at Rushton Farm, the center promises to expand and deepen the ways in which the Trust connects people to the land. Completing the Willistown Countryside Forever campaign and building the Rushton Conservation Center are our highest priorities this year. Id like to ask you to give some thought to how you can be most helpful and whether a donation to the campaign is possible.There is so much going on, and so much more work to do. This issue of the Sycamore provides just a glimpse of where we are headed. Enjoy!



    Newtown Square, Pa 19073610.353.2562


    Janice MurdochChair, Board of Trustees





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    New conservation easements add to Willistowns mosaic of conserved lands.

    10 BIOBLITZWHATS LIVING HERE? A University of Pennsylvania student measures biodiversity at Rushton Woods Preserve.

    12 GARDENS GONE WILDIts time to stop mowing and start growing.

    14 HOPE FOR BIRDSMotus: A new collaboration using nano-tag technology offers ground-breaking progress for bird conservation.

    17 $1M CHALLENGE GRANT RECEIVEDA matching grant from the Otto Haas Charitable Trust will help the Trust complete its capital campaign.

    18 CAPITAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE A review of campaign progress, including an update of plans for Rushton Conservation Center at Rushton Woods Preserve.

    22 MOVERS AND SHAKERS Staff and Trustee news.


    N E W S F R O M W I L L I S T O W N C O N S E R V A T I O N T R U S T

    ON THE COVER: An American Goldfinch pauses between nibbles of seeds and sips of water from a Virginia cup plant.

    LEFT: Members of the Junior Birding Club head to the stream to look for acquatic life at Rushton Woods Preserve.

    The Sycamore is printed on 30% post-consumer FSC-certified recycled paper by a landfill-free printing facility that follows the

    highest standards of sustainability.




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  • As spring returns to the Willistown countryside, I am reminded once again why it is so compelling to consider ourselves conservationists. At its core, being a conservationist is about wanting to give back for the pleasures we experience every time we step outdoors and are inspired by the natural worldfor the joy of welcoming the redwing blackbirds back in the spring, hearing the spring peepers, or seeing the blush of pink appearing on the swamp maples in the wetlands. Being a conservationist means wanting to be sure that the myriad pleasures that nature gives us now will be there to inspire and nourish the spirit of our children and grandchildren in the future. All of us at the Trust are exceedingly grateful that you, our friends, neighbors and supporters from near and far, share this passion for conservation. As you read through this edition of the Sycamore, you will see that your generosity and belief in the work of the Trust took us over the top in every way in 2015. Because of you, we exceeded our annual fund goal, increased the pace of land protection, grew more veggies for the food cupboard, accelerated our education and research collaborations, restored critical habitat, promoted bird conservation, and connected more people than ever with the land and nature. And we had more fun than ever at our events, notably Barns & BBQ, Tomato Tasting, and Run-a-Muck. Thats a lot to accomplish in one year, but you will also read about the exciting challenges we aim to meet in 2016. With your help, this year we will open the next chapter in the life of the Trust by:

    Meeting the generous $1 million Haas Challenge by the end of June; Breaking ground on the new Rushton Conservation Center by mid-summer; and Completing the $10.5 million Willistown Countryside Forever capital campaign by December 31.

    The challenges are great, the needs are urgent, but be assured, the rewards will last forever. Please enjoy the details in this issue of the Sycamore, take pride in what we have accomplished together, and plan to spend plenty of time with us in 2016. We value your friendship and support and are counting on your inspiration and encouragement as we face these transformative challenges. 2016 promises to be the best year yet to be a conservationist with us!



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  • The scenic view of Hunting Hill Farm at the corner of Barr and Hillview Roads is preserved forever, now that its generous owners Kim and Russell Galligher have donated a conservation easement to the Trust. (See story on page 6.)


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  • Gaining Ground

    Horseback riders, joggers, bikers, walkers and drivers in Willistown have long enjoyed the scenic corner of Hillview and Barr Roads, with its picturesque stone farmhouse, bank barn, and spring house. Now that its current owners, Kimberly and Russell Galligher, have donated a conservation easement to the Trust, future generations will enjoy the view of this iconic Willistown farmstead forever.