A week of celebrating the many groups that support the important work at the Trust. Be on the lookout for special communications, social media posts, and live virtual events celebrating our beautiful preserved lands and the people like you, that make it possible! Learn more about the Conservation Celebration.
Learn what native plants will thrive in your garden. Whether it’s a meadow, a rain garden, a woodland shade garden or anything in between, you’ll learn what plants need to succeed and which ones will help support the most wildlife, like birds and pollinating insects. Presenters Blake Goll, Education Programs Manager and Mike Cranney, Preserve Manager.
We need your help! Willistown Conservation Trust maintains 3 public preserves, soon to be 4! With so much beautiful habitat, we need some help keeping these conserved lands looking their best for all visitors and ensuring they continue to provide healthy habitat for the many species that depend on them.
The Stewardship Team will begin hosting weekly volunteer work sessions, led by Preserve Manager Mike Cranney, starting on March 5. Each weekly session will run from 9 to noon and tasks will include:
- Cutting/removing invasive plants
- Clearing vines from trees and tree cages
- Planting native trees and shrubs
- Pruning trees and shrubs
- Trail clean-up and maintenance
- Stream clean-up
You can stay for the whole time or for as long as you’re able.
Interested? Visit our Event Calendar. Click “Volunteering” to see the March-April dates and sign up! Thanks! We hope to see you out there.
IN MEMORIAM: MRS. J. MAXWELL R. (BETTY) MORAN
August 7, 1930 – January 23, 2020
The Willistown countryside lost one of its greatest heroes on January 23, 2020, when Betty Moran passed away. She left a legacy of generosity, support for many worthy causes, close friendships, love of good times, a competitive spirit, and a passionate dedication to protecting the open spaces that she loved.
Willistown was blessed to have Betty as a champion and lover of its equestrian tradition and the conserved land that makes those activities possible to this day. Over the past 40 years, she played a significant role in helping maintain its rural character, participating in numerous land protection partnerships that saved beautiful parcels of land from development.
In 1980, Betty supported our first community partnership to acquire the “Hundred Acre Field”. She went on to become a lead investor in 14 additional partnerships to purchase, preserve and resell properties that would otherwise have succumbed to development, resulting in over 2,000 acres in the Willistown area conserved with Betty’s direct support.
The Willistown countryside simply would not look the way it does today without Betty. Executive Director Bonnie Van Alen attributes this to Betty’s dedication, saying, “In my 40 years of knowing Betty, she never said ‘no’ when asked to participate in an effort to save a beautiful property from development, including placing conservation easements on her own Brushwood and Bryn Clovis properties.”
The staff and Trustees of Willistown Conservation Trust are grateful for Betty’s insights, leadership and generosity during the time she served as a board member. We take comfort knowing that the more than 7,500 conserved acres of rolling fields, mature woodlands and stream valleys of the Willistown countryside will be a lasting part of her legacy forever.
The map of permanently conserved land in the Willistown area just got a little greener, thanks to Lawrie Harris. Lawrie donated a Legacy Conservation Easement to the Trust on November 11, 2019, protecting her 12.7 acres on Twinbrook Road from development forever. Located on Twinbrook Road in Easttown Township, in what is known as the Leopard Tract, the gently sloping site is primarily wooded and features a small tributary to Crum Creek named Grubb Mill Run. Several acres of open meadow area surrounds Lawrie’s home and garage, the only structures on the property.
The easement will limit further subdivision of the property and will protect the natural features of the property that serve as important wildlife habitat, support the surrounding ecosystem and contribute to scenic views along Twinbrook Road. The easement defines most of the property as Sensitive Riparian Area, which include wetlands, hydric soils and floodplain, and limits the amount of disturbance allowed in these areas.
Lawrie shares her late husband Jay’s passion for the environment, and wants to conserve the land to ensure it will stay just as it is today, so both people and wildlife can enjoy it forever. Her decision to donate the easement was prompted, in part, by neighbors Kate and Ben Etherington’s recent decision to do the same. We are grateful to Lawrie for her foresight and generosity.
“I want to be absolutely certain that future owners will keep this property intact and take care of the stream and woodland. We don’t have many places like this left and we need to preserve them,” said Lawrie. “And the process of working with the Trust has been easy and enjoyable. Willistown Conservation Trust has a 40-year legacy of protecting land in our area.”
When you look at a the Trust’s protected lands map, you see a mosaic of open space comprising preserved parcels of all sizes – from hundreds of acres to just a few. And in an era when conserving habitat, protecting the quality of our water supply, and offsetting the impact of human activity is so vital, every acre counts.
We developed Legacy Easements, like the one that protects Lawrie’s land, specifically so owners of smaller parcels of land could protect their land in perpetuity. Legacy Easements are generally less complicated than traditional ones and can be tailored to protect features of an owner’s property that are personally and/or environmentally significant.
Thank you Lawrie, another hero of our countryside!