Community Read 2014

Community Read 2014

Fallen beech tree rings
After three months of Leopold Saturdays and community speaker series, TLC is wrapping up our programming for the first Community Read in Chester County brought to us by our friends at Longwood Gardens.

In January of 2014, Longwood Gardens invited the community to read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, with local libraries and land trusts, such as TLC.

Our first program, "Through the Eyes of a Naturalist" focused on the chapter from February called "Good Oak," where Leopold describes the history of the sand counties in Wisconsin through the eyes of a fallen oak tree. He begins: "There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace."

As Leopold harvests the fallen tree for heat, he recognizes each year of growth and the historical happenings the tree has encountered. This reminds us what the land has to offer and our dependance on nature's productivity. To ensure harmony between man and land this understanding must be passed down to each generation. Our program focused on a fallen beech tree and the history surrounding the Bucktoe Creek Preserve.

TLC also collaborated with West Chester University to hold a Green Fire screening. This is a documentary examining the life and legacy of Aldo Leopold. It dives into the formation of his thoughts as a young conservationist and follows through his early adulthood. It ends with his life at the shack alongside his family with commentary from some of his children, Leopold scholars, environmental writers, and more.

TLC also held two speaker series: "How the Red Clay Greenway in an Integral Part of the Land Ethic" and "Mushrooms? A Land Ethic." 

A big thanks to the Bayard Taylor Library for hosting the lectures! The goal was to highlight some of the projects going on at TLC and ways they relate to topics in A Sand County Almanac, such as recreation in nature and scientific development.

Learning about sustainability options with our beekeeper at New Leaf Eco Center
Each lecture followed up with a field trip to the location. The Red Clay Greenway is a 10-mile trail loop throughout Kennett township, parts of which are still being developed. You can read more about this project here.

"Mushrooms? A Land Ethic?" looked at the process of mycoremediation, which is a technique where mushrooms improve soil quality by removing toxins, such as DDT at TLC's New Leaf Eco Center. Participants then followed up with a tour of the New Leaf Eco Center learning about other sustainability options such as composting, mycoremediation, bioswales and beekeeping!

Exploring a key education tool, the Bucktoe Creek Preserve arboretum.
The second Leopold Saturday event was the "Bucktoe Restoration Walk." We celebrated the arrival of spring with a hike through the Bucktoe Creek Preserve with TLC & BCP staff members as guides. The crew hiked through woodlands, meadows and along the Bucktoe & Red Clay Creeks talking about the history, restoration efforts and goals of the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. The attention was focused towards the land-community interaction: management of wildlife species and development of education and research opportunities.

Dr. Curt Meine. Photos courtesy of Longwood Gardens.

As a special event in the Community Read Initiative, Longwood Gardens brought together several conservationist in the community, including TLC's Executive Director, Gwen Lacy, to explore Leopold's ideas and the impacts they have had on conservation efforts in the Brandywine Valley and beyond. The discussion was facilitated by Dr. Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, who also gave an inspiring presentation on the life and legacy of Aldo Leopold and A Sand County Almanac.

TLC would like to thank the Bayard Taylor Library, the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, West Chester University, and last but not least, we would like to thank Longwood Gardens for bringing together our community to focus attention on issues of stewardship, restoration, and land conservation.

Stay tuned for 2015! We look forward to participating in future Community Read Initiatives to further promote the importance of community, collaboration, and conservation. 
Dr. Curt Meine and panelist. Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens.





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