Environmental Currents
Spring 2019
Director's Report
Dear fellow conservationists,

As the days go by I am constantly learning new things about the Brandywine Valley and this region. While I was not raised here, I step out in wonder on a daily basis enjoying the wonderful conservation legacy of this place—both its lands and waters.

To that end, I’ve also started looking back at the origins of the Brandywine Conservancy, formerly known as the Tri-County Conservancy of the Brandywine (and later as the Environmental Management Center). I truly believe that the foundation of the conservation movement and what moves us to this day is inspiration —of the natural world, of beauty, of history, of “home.” Whatever it may be for each person, I believe that inspiration is at the root of conservation.

In my search, I’ve found many publications and articles about our history and the impetus that started it all. Of those publications, I’d like to share an excerpt that I feel beautifully expresses the foundational inspiration of this region:

Reflections of a Culture

“This is a gentle place. Our Forebears sought a simple life, close to the verities of soil and sun, of birth and death – and laughter in between. Our heritage is a quiet one, and we move with the soft-spoken voices of yesterday ever at our elbow.

Here, where sweet river-music fills the air, the pale herons lift from misty sedges, men came to seek a livelihood. Their houses were sturdily proportioned, patiently fashioned – a marvelous-coming together of craftman’s hand and seasoned wood. Gardens were planted – fragrant, carefree assemblages of herb and sweetshrub, columbine and daisy. And a man’s tools were his proud badge of office.

The river has a particular timelessness. It has nourished the [Native American], furnished the miller, and witnessed our young men dying for freedom. Small boys have dreamed on its diminutive islands, and there is Hessian blood among its violets at its edge. Artist and philosopher, poet and music-maker, each has here discovered the unhurried wonder of the commonplace.

Ours is a gentle valley. Listen, and you will hear the river sounds. Look, and you may glimpse a Redcoat’s scarlet beneath the stippled sycamores. Come share with us these yesterdays. Pause to discern the fleeting present. And consider, we ask you, all of the infinite tomorrows…” Sonia Scott Ralston, Chadds Ford, PA

— Excerpt from Canoeing the Brandywine, a Naturalist’s Guide , an educational publication of the Brandywine’s Environmental Management Center, by Charles Aquadro, 1973. Revisions by Staff of the Environmental Management Center of the Brandywine Conservancy, 1980. Illustrations by Stephen Kuter.

Here’s to the dream of spring,


Ellen M. Ferretti
Director, Brandywine Conservancy
Brandywine Water Trail Kicks Off with Public Meetings
Almost 150 local residents, paddling enthusiasts and local stakeholders attended one of the Brandywine’s Public Open House meetings seeking feedback on a proposed Brandywine Water Trail. Held in Downingtown and Chadds Ford during the month of February, these informal gatherings sought input and suggestions on additional water trail amenities, put-ins, safety and privacy concerns, educational/stewardship opportunities and potential partnerships that the project may foster. 
We Want to Hear from You!
Do you love to paddle or float on the Brandywine? If so, we’re looking for your input! The Brandywine Conservancy and the Chester County Planning Commission are conducting an online survey about the proposed Brandywine Water Trail and would appreciate your input. Please click here to take the survey.
There’s a New State Forester in Town
Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) appointed Ellen Shultzabarger to the role of State Forester / Director of the Bureau of Forestry. She is the first woman to hold this prestigious position in the Bureau’s 125-year history. As State Forester, Shultzabarger is tasked with overseeing 2.2 million acres of state forestland, as well as conserving native wild plants and other natural resources. In an interview with Shultzabarger, we discuss her new role, important tasks ahead and what she is most looking forward to as Pennsylvania’s new State Forester.
Bird Migration: New Tech Sheds Light on Age-Old Behavior
Keep your eyes and ears open this spring to experience one of nature’s most amazing phenomena: bird migration. Using both modern technologies and old-fashioned observation, scientists are learning more about where birds go and what they need to survive the journey.
Do You Need Land Stewardship Help?
The Brandywine Conservancy's Land Stewardship team is currently compiling a list of easement landowners who may be interested in receiving planning, technical and/or financial assistance for conservation projects on their land. Whether for a small backyard or a large-scale landscape, let us know what you’re thinking about! 
Upcoming Calendar of Events
Sunday, March 3

Talleyville Fire Company – Memorial Hall
Monday, March 18

Ezion-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church
Thursday, March 21

Emalea P. Warner Elementary School
Tuesday, March 26

Alexis I. du Pont High School
Thursday, March 28

A Radnor Hunt Races pre-race event
Thursday, March 28

Woodlawn Library
Tuesday, April 2

Tuesday, April 2
A Radnor Hunt Races pre-race event
Thursday, April 25

Wednesday, May 1

Saturday, May 4

Sunday, May 5

Native Plant & Seed Sale
Saturday & Sunday, May 11–12

Saturday, May 11

Wildflower Bash
A Radnor Hunt Races pre-race event
Friday, May 17

Benefiting the Brandywine Conservancy
Saturday, May 18

Wednesday, May 29

Saturday, June 1

Saturday, June 1
river clean up
26th Annual Brandywine River Cleanup
Saturday, April 20
Join us this year as the Brandywine Conservancy, East Bradford Township and West Bradford Township team up for a neighborhood collaboration! Inspired by the beauty of the Brandywine Greenway, our cleanup will encompass the banks of the Brandywine River along Shaw’s Bridge Park and Brandywine Meadows Preserve Trail. Click here to learn more.
Join us at the 89th Radnor Hunt Races
Save the date! Benefiting the Brandywine Conservancy, the Radnor Hunt Races returns on Saturday, May 18, for an exciting day of steeplechasing. Celebrating 89 wonderful years in 2019, the Radnor Hunt Races is built on many traditions—thoroughbred horses at the peak of athleticism, beautiful horse-drawn carriages, dramatic flowered hats and families cheering along the rail. Above all else, the Races are supported by the legacy of protecting the stunning open spaces that make this region such a beautiful place to call home.
Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Training in Westmoreland County
In the fall of 2019, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, a nonprofit organization, is partnering with the Brandywine Conservancy’s Penguin Court—located in Westmoreland County, PA—to train citizen volunteers in natural history. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is dedicated to building a corps of trained volunteers who provide outreach and service dedicated to protecting the Commonwealth’s natural heritage. Interested Pennsylvanians become certified Master Naturalists through training and volunteer service.
Conserving Land for the Future:
A 25-Year Look Back
George and Betsy Turner grew roses—acres and acres of roses—in long greenhouses on their farm in New Garden Township, Chester County, PA. The setting was initially rural farmland; the roads were narrow, dipping and twisting as they followed the contours of the land. Locals knew to slow down and share the road when approaching the narrow bridges. But over the years, developments grew up and grew closer and the roads grew wider and straighter. Read more below about the Turner's and their property, and what inspired them to conserve their land for future generations.
Water Partners Meet in Oxford Area
The Oxford Region Planning Committee recently held a special event entitled Connecting the Water Dots: An Exploration of the Oxford Region's Water Quality Initiatives . Public and private water quality partners—including the Brandywine Conservancy—came together to present efforts underway to protect the area’s water resources and water supplies. 
Creative Art/Nature
This past summer, the Brandywine River Museum of Art presented Natural Wonders: The Sublime in Contemporary Art . Using the exhibition as inspiration, the Conservancy and Museum led an engaging collaborative project between Upland Country Day School in Kennett Square, PA, and Natural Wonders artist Kathleen Vance.
Community Focused: PECO Gives Back
For more than a decade, the Brandywine and PECO have partnered on education programs, reforestation projects, museum exhibitions and meadow restoration. PECO is currently working with the Conservancy to provide in-kind support of a wetland and meadow restoration project along the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s River Trail, which is located on some of the most scenic areas along the banks of the Brandywine. 
Invasive Species Spotlight: Lesser Celandine
The blooming of ephemeral flowers is one of the early signs that spring has finally sprung, and warmer weather is—hopefully—here to stay. However, not all spring ephemerals are a welcome start to the season. Don’t let the sweet buttercup appearance of lesser celandine fool you. This early, sprouting invasive species grows vigorously, quickly forming large mats and outcompeting native ephemerals before they even have a chance. Lesser celandine can wreak much havoc in its short lifecycle which makes early detection and control key to protecting our native nectar sources of spring.
Chadds Ford Open Space Update 2018
In February 2019, the Chadds Ford Township Board of Supervisors formally adopted Open Space Update 2018 . The Brandywine Conservancy was the primary planning consultant for this 18-month project, in partnership with sub-consultant Thomas Comitta Associates. Unlike the Open Space Plan of 2007 —which provided a 20-year blueprint for the protection, management and use of Chadds Ford’s most important natural and cultural resources— Update 2018 provides a 10-year plan that focuses on current and future recreational needs/desires of residents, property owners and other stakeholders in Chadds Ford.
Featured Link: River Alive! at Independence Seaport Museum
The Independence Seaport Museum’s brand new permanent exhibition, River Alive! , brings the Delaware River to life with hands-on, interactive displays and fun learning experiences. Supported by The William Penn Foundation, River Alive! is designed to help visitors discover the wonders and challenges of our regional waterways.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition.
New Faces of the Brandywine Conservancy
Meet the Conservancy's newest staff members: Caleb Meredith, Preserve Steward, and Sarah Sharp, Assistant Planner.
Well-attended Holiday Subscriber Program Wraps-Up an Eventful 2018!
Each year the Conservancy’s Subscribers Program holds an annual holiday meeting for its members. Held at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the most recent program was a very special evening attended by over 50 program supporters, their guests and Conservancy staff. Complete with sumptuous holiday treats and beverages, the evening featured “light” topical presentations in the Museum’s lecture room, after which attendees were invited to head upstairs to tour the festively decorated Museum galleries and holiday train display.
Save the Date for Bike the Brandywine 2019!
Registration is now open for Bike the Brandywine on September 28!
Riders can choose from distances of 25-, 45-, 62- (Metric Century) and 80-mile routes through the majestic Brandywine Creek Greenway and surrounding area. The ride begins and ends along the banks of the Brandywine River and participation supports the open space and clean water initiatives of the Brandywine Conservancy.
In Memoriam
The Brandywine mourns the recent loss of its dear friends, David E. Davis III and Phyllis Mills Wyeth.
Follow the Conservancy
Brandywine Conservancy
Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA, 19317