July 9, 2019, WILLISTOWN, Pa., – Willistown Conservation Trust, whose founders have overseen the protection of more than 7,500 acres of open space in the Willistown area since 1979, has received a two-year $352,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation to integrate watershed protection into its land protection, stewardship and outreach activities in the Ridley, Crum, and Darby Creek watersheds, using the successful practices of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative as a model to inform its work.
As part of this grant, the Trust will strengthen its water quality research partnership with Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University using its officially designated Field Study Site, which includes the headwaters of three major tributaries of the Delaware River—the Ridley, Crum, and Darby Creeks. A key aspect of that partnership will be supporting the Academy’s development and calibration of water quality modeling tools by building upon water quality monitoring and creating water quality datasets that describe the upper Ridley, Crum, and Darby Creeks.
Additionally, the grant provides funding to:
- develop a strategy for integrating data-driven water quality management into the Trust’s stewardship and land protection activities, and
- create a communications and outreach strategy to promote lessons gleaned from water quality monitoring and to engage the Ridley, Crum, and Darby Creek headwater communities in watershed stewardship.
Lauren McGrath, director of the Trust’s Watershed Protection Program is excited about the growth potential the grant affords, saying, “This new funding allows us to build upon the progress we have made over the last two years, as we expand our research and contribute to the body of scientific knowledge.”
Receiving this grant also validates the Trust’s focus on water quality. “While our 40-year focus has been the protection of land, we know that healthy water starts with healthy land,” said Bonnie Van Alen. “This grant provides us with vital resources to continue this work that is core to our mission and to show how local conservation can make a broad impact on watershed protection.”
To learn more about the work the Trust’s Watershed team is doing visit wctrust.org/water or contact Lauren McGrath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willistown Conservation Trust, located in Chester County PA, is a land trust focused on preserving open space and habitat protection in the Willistown area.
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Since inception, the Foundation has made nearly 10,000 grants totaling over $1.6 billion.