TLC’s Summer Programs Receive Grant Awards

TLC is excited to announce that we have been awarded several special grants in support of our upcoming summer programs. Throughout the year, TLC hosts over 75 unique programs, providing opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about our local natural resources and enjoy the natural lands TLC works to protect. We are extremely grateful to all of our grant funders, who help us to expand and improve these programs to better serve our community.

Bucktoe Cemetery Education Program--Grant Awarded by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation

Students uncovering the original church foundation in 2014
The Pennsylvania Abolition Society was founded in 1775 in Philadelphia, and was the first abolition society ever established. The Pennsylvania Abolition Society Endowment Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation continues the legacy of their work by awarding grants to organizations and programs that improve the lives of African Americans in Pennsylvania. TLC is honored to be among these grantees this year, with a generous grant awarded for our 2015 Bucktoe Cemetery Education Program. 
TLC has been working since 2010 to restore the Bucktoe Cemetery, an African American Civil War cemetery that is part of an important historic African American community site. Thanks to the support of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, TLC will bring a group of students to the site for five weeks, and the Bucktoe Cemetery and surrounding area will become a Living History Classroom. Students will be immersed in our local African American history through hands-on exploration, led by Professional Restorationist Eugene Hough and TLC's staff. 

Students will conduct archaeological digs of the foundation of the original church, which is believed to have been burned down by the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1900s, and the area surrounding the cemetery. The program will also include classroom sessions and hikes of the surrounding natural and historic area. The program's goal is to connect and inform students about our local African American history, honor the soldiers buried in the Bucktoe Cemetery, and emphasize the ways in which land and history are interconnected. 

Free Time Adventures in Nature--Grants Awarded by the Captain Planet Foundation and the DEP Environmental Education Grant Program

Heading out on the trails at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve
This year, TLC has received two grants for our popular Free Time Adventures in Nature Program! This year will mark the third year of the program, which will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in August at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Each day, we will hike the preserve's trails, stopping along the way to explore ponds, splash and skip stones in the creek, play games, do nature crafts, and search for salamanders on the ground and kestrels in the sky.

The goal of Free Time Adventures in Nature is to immerse children in nature through hands-on, self-guided exploration and play, which will lead them to form powerful connections with the environment that they will carry with them through life. We are extremely grateful to the grant funders who support this program as it expands and improves each year. This year, grant funding will also enable us to expand our inventory of educational equipment for the program, such as binoculars, insect and aquatic nets, field guides, and magnifying glasses.

"We are thrilled to present this award to The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County," says Leesa Carter, Executive Director of the Captain Planet Foundation. "We receive hundreds of submissions each year and have to be very selective to whom we award funding. This is one of the few projects from across the country that we chose to fund. We wish TLC great success as they work to implement this important project. It is our hope that our combined efforts will educate, empower, involve, and invest today's youth to cultivate a better tomorrow."

Free Time Adventures in Nature is filling up quickly, but spots are still available. Click Here to register!

Open Hive Days--Grant Awarded by the DEP Environmental Education Grant Program

Examining our Top-Bar Hive during an Open Hive Day
This Earth Day, the DEP Environmental Education Grant Program announced their award of a grant to TLC in support of our July, August, September, and October Open Hive Days! This monthly program provides an inside look inside the hives at TLC's New Leaf Eco Center Apiary, guided by Beekeeper Dan Borkoski. The program is open to people of all ages, and each session is packed with information about honeybee life cycles, threats to honeybees such as varroa mites and Colony Collapse Disorder, the importance of pollinators to our environment, and honeybees' role in production of the food we eat. 

All Open Hive Day participants will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the inner workings of a hives as Dan performs inspections and maintenance. Those who choose to attend multiple sessions will observe the evolution of a hive throughout the season. TLC offers protective veils to ensure safety, and our observation hive and outdoor classroom provide even more educational opportunities for attendees. The program is the perfect opportunity for prospective beekeepers to receive valuable advice about starting their own hives, and for current beekeepers to discuss their techniques and experiences.

Click Here to view dates and register for this year's Open Hive Days!

Thank you to all of our grant funders for your generosity! We are so excited to begin our summer programming with your support, which helps us to get more people of all ages outdoors to explore and learn from our vital lands and historic sites.

The Warmth is in the Walk

Tracks at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve
Snow, snow, snow! Winter is one of our favorite times of year here at TLC. Not only do we get to participate in seasonal activities such as skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, tubing and more, but we get to create great programs. We kicked off this winter with our yearly Winter Solstice at the Stateline Woods Preserve. Bill Wood came out and shared stories by the fireside. It was a great night to see the stars and decorate our tree with some solar lights!

We have already hosted several programs at the private Bucktoe Creek Preserve (BCP): an Evergreen Tree ID, a Winter Tree ID and the first parts of our Wildlife in Winter series. Our Evergreen Tree ID program featured tree experts from Bartlett. Not only did we get to learn about Evergreens in our area, but we heard about the various factors that threaten our forests and what tree experts do to protect against them.
Stateline Woods Preserve

The Winter Tree ID took place a few weeks later on beautiful winter day following a crisp snowfall. Our boots crunched through the snow as we explored the arboretum at BCP. We focused on simple ways one might identify a deciduous tree in the winter. With a finer eye one might be able to distinguish trees based on their bud, but our most obvious approach was to see if the trees left any leaves behind.

However, the trees weren’t the only ones leaving things behind! With snow on the ground our Wildlife in Winter participants found tracks of deer, foxes and more around BCP. The first segment of this series concentrated on hibernation and other forms of adaptation used to survive the cold and bare winter months. Our guest educator Holly Merker discussed topics from insect galls to hibernacula and more. Our second segment focused on camouflage, one of the most important aspects of survival.

We can’t wait for the spring, but winter hasn’t been treating us too badly either (even if we’ve reached some pretty cold temperatures!). It’s only a matter of time now before everything thaws out, so make sure to catch some of our March programs to wrap winter up! The Chester County Astronomical Society will be coming out on March 21stfrom 8-9:30pm to guide us through the skies as we explore the constellations visible to us. A week later on the 28th, Holly Merker will be returning to Bucktoe for our final part of the Wildlife in Winter Series, focused on migration. With the change in weather we will be able to find species returning to their northern homes for the spring and summer. If you are looking for any more signs of spring, don’t forget that spring break is coming up! TLC will be hosting Spring Break in Nature on March 30th, April 1st and April 3rd from 10am-2pm. Get the kids outside to shake off the winter cold, as we play, create and explore the habitats of creatures residing in the water, on the land and in the skies.

We will also be hosting our first Community Read event of the year on March 21st! Inspired by this year’s read: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, TLC brings to you “Nature that Inspires: The Walk,” from 2-4pm at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve (it is not necessary to have read the book to participate, but contact us at TLC if you would like a copy). This program has a follow up on March 25th from 6-7:30pm at the Bayard Taylor Library, “Nature that Inspires: The Workshop,” where you can try your own hand at nature writing with the guidance of the Writer’s Club in Kennett Square. On March 28th TLC will be hosting stories by the fireside where you can share a short piece you have written, or simply enjoy listening to the stories from 6-8pm. Mark your calendars! Spring will be here before you know it!
Spring at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve


Envisioning TLC’s Newest Nature Preserve

Looking out over the Chandler Mill Bridge to the future preserve
Although we love to get outside in all weather, this frosty winter day has TLC looking ahead to the warmer seasons and the changes they will bring. The biggest of these changes will be turning the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve from vision to reality.

After ten years of advocacy and perseverance by TLC, the Chandler Mill Bridge Consortium, and the community, and thanks to a visionary decision by the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors, the 105-year-old Chandler Mill Bridge is finally safe from demolition. The National Register site will become a pedestrian, bicycle, and emergency vehicle access only bridge, a key link in the Red Clay Greenway Trail System. The surrounding area will become the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, open to the public and preserved in perpetuity. TLC will have a presence at the preserve, both in our daily stewardship of the land, and in the new Headquarters and Interpretive Nature Center. In a few months, the area will be buzzing with life in its woodlands, meadows, and creeks. Eastern bluebirds will begin to nest, wood thrushes will practice their singing, wildflowers will emerge, and TLC will begin the work of making the site safe and accessible, building trails, adding improvements such as bird boxes and signage, and making the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve the best it can be. 

Concept sketch of the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve
We envision people of all ages and experience levels hiking and biking the trails, meandering through the meadows and woodlands, pausing to view the Bucktoe Cemetery and historic mill race, and watching hawks ascending over the trees. The preserve will be a place to teach your children and grandchildren to skip stones, to unwind before the sun goes down after a stressful day at work, and to walk your dogs in the morning. It will serve as an outdoor classroom, with environmental education programs and guided hikes hosted by TLC year-round, as well as the self-guided learning that happens any time you explore the outdoors. This public nature preserve will benefit the community for generations to come, and its land and natural resources will be preserved in perpetuity. TLC's goal is to open the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, Headquarters, and Interpretive Nature Center to the public within one year.

When the Chandler Mill Bridge was built in 1910, it provided a vital transit link for area farmers to bring their goods to Kennett Square's market center. Over time, our area and its needs have changed. Though we no longer rely on Chandler Mill Road to bring goods from farms to market, our community needs open space, places to enjoy nature, and the ensured protection of our vital natural resources, which cannot be replaced. Now, rather than being demolished and replaced with an oversized highway bridge, the Chandler Mill Bridge will remain standing as a beacon for land conservation, historic preservation, and walkable communities.

We can't wait to see you there!

DONATE NOW to support this project--a donation of any size will bring us closer to the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve's opening day.

A community asset worth celebrating

Coyote sighting at Marshall Mill House!

TLC's preserves are currently undergoing managed deer hunting.  This is a fun time for coyotes as there can be left over deer parts scattered around from successful hunts.  Our hunters captured a coyote this time last year on a game camera and as you can see below our canine friends are sticking around.  This clear photo was taken on November 29th 2014 and shows a coyote hot on the trail of a deer no doubt.

Eastern Coyotes are a popular topic of discussion and they typically get a fairly unforgiving light shone upon them.  Eastern coyotes typically weigh 30 to 50 pounds and they are 48 to 60 inches long.  Territories of coyotes range from 5 to 25 square miles and the territories are shared by a mated pair and their offspring.   Coyotes breeding season is January to March and they are quite vocal during this time.

Coyotes are a natural and important part of our ecosystem (the rumors that they were introduced by the game commission or insurance companies are false) and it is worth learning more about them and their habits.  Coyotes have a wide ranging diet and are advantageous eaters.  Open trash containers are easy pickings for food sources, as are small pets.  It is important to lock up your pets in the evening.   Coyotes have been in Chester County for a number of years, and potentially have been in the Stateline Woods area for quite some time.

As a species, coyotes have been very adaptable in increasingly urban settings but with proper precautions, we can coexist with this predator quite nicely.   We want to make sure you are armed with information, but also know that coyotes are not cause for alarm.  Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions regarding coyotes at Stateline Woods Preserve at 610-347-0347 ext. 106 or

Thank you to Dan Mummert, Wildlife Biologist from the PA State Game Commission for the wonderful information!  

10 Reasons to Become a TLC Member

As the year draws to a close, we at TLC would like to share our appreciation for our Members, who provide vital support for every aspect of our work. Just like there are countless reasons to love Southern Chester County, there are also countless reasons to become a TLC member or to purchase a membership for a friend or family member. Here are just ten:

The white oak at Stateline Woods Preserve
1. Our nature preserves are free and open to the public, year-round, 7 days a week.
We believe everyone should have access to meaningful interaction with the outdoors. We love to see people hiking, jogging, riding, walking with their dogs, or simply enjoying nature on our 200+ acres of public preserves. Do you enjoy TLC’s nature preserves and trails? Become a member to support the maintenance of the land you love! Memberships—not government funds—are what enable us to keep the preserves open.

2. We speak for the land
TLC provides a voice for your local land, natural resources, and history, protecting the irreplaceable in Southern Chester County for generations to come. We conserve land in perpetuity, so that your grandchildren, their grandchildren, and beyond, will enjoy the many quality of life benefits of open space.

The Isle of Skye during TLC's 2012 Scotland Trip
3. TLC makes a fabulous travel companion
In 2012, we launched our TLC Travels program with a conservation partnership excursion to Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands. Travelers explored an amazing array of native flora and fauna, experienced centuries-old historic sites, and learned about Aigas’ pioneering conservation projects. Members are invited to join TLC Travels the Scottish Highlands 2015, a trip that’s not to be missed!

4. We love your dogs
At TLC’s nature preserves, dogs are allowed off-leash as long as they are under your control. Our Stateline Woods Preserve even provides doggy composters as an eco-friendly way to dispose of pet waste. Your pup can show his TLC pride with our Canine Pals Membership—you’ll get all the perks of an individual membership, and we’ll send a dog tag with the TLC logo. Next time you two are out walking on the preserves, everyone will know you’ve contributed to keeping the land beautiful.

5. We love your horses
We know better than anyone that one of the best ways to view Southern Chester County is from on a horse! Our preserves allow ride-in access, and many of our trails are equine-friendly. This year, your horse or pony can become an honorary TLC member with our Equine Pals Membership! This also makes a thoughtful in-memoriam gift for a beloved equine companion. Your equine friend will receive a halter/bridle tag with the TLC logo.

Wildlife in Winter
6. You'll receive discounts and priority registration to all of our educational events
Our educational series never hibernates for the winter. Members receive reduced admission to all of our programs, including the upcoming Evergreen Exploration, Owl Prowl, Winter Solstice, Wildlife in Winter, Living History Hikes, Sky Tour, and the list goes on. Memberships also help us to develop new programs each year.

7. You’ll have access to our state-of-the-art bird watching setup
Our bird blind is the perfect spot to watch wildlife of all kinds at our Marshall Bridge Preserve. TLC members have the exclusive opportunity to rent the bird blind, as well as our high-quality spotting scope, for a day of bird watching.

8. We'll help you tailor a hike, program, or day on the preserves just for you and your group
Everyone wants to explore the land differently, and TLC members will have the opportunity to design an excursion or program out on the preserves, led by our knowledgeable staff, custom-made for your specific interests. The possibilities are endless!

9. Members receive great discounts at local businesses
TLC members receive a 10% discount at many local shops and businesses, including Trail Creek Outfitters, Dansko’s Jennersville outlet, Flickerwood Wine Cellars, Buds to Blooms Garden & Supply Co., Transcend Wellness and Yoga, and more!

10. You'll help us keep Southern Chester County history alive
Conservation is about more than land. At TLC, we protect the integrity of place, which includes historic structures and sites. Memberships help us to preserve places like the 100-year-old Chandler Mill Bridge, and the Bucktoe Cemetery, an important part of Kennett Square’s history as a hub for the Underground Railroad.

This holiday season, show your support for TLC’s conservation efforts, educational programs, exciting events, and protection of the land and resources you love. Become a member today!

**From now until December 31st, 2014, new members will be entered into our Harvest Member Madness drawing to win a special delivery from TLC Business Member Logical Living Fresh Express. Logical Living delivers local foods from some of the best farms in the area. The winner will be able to pick anything from their menu, up to $50, to be delivered straight to their door! Click here for more info.**

Deer Hunting in SE PA

Opening day of shotgun season for the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania, including Chester County begins on December 1st, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Whether you are a hunter, hiker, or horseback rider there are some things that you should keep in mind to make your outdoor experiences pleasant for all during this time.

  • Educate yourself about where you spend time outdoors. Natural lands with active recreation often have deer management plans in place that include various hunting schedules. Also, there are state regulated schedules, that vary over the season.  Don't be in the right place at the wrong time. 
  • Wear 'blaze' orange so that you do not surprise hunters, other hikers, horseback riders, or other recreational users of the land.  This includes your canine pals.  You are wearing orange not because a hunter will mistake you for a deer but making it so that other users of the land (hunters, hikers, horseback riders) are alerted to your presence. 
  • Most properties where hunting is allowed is done so in an effort to better manage the effect of deer herds on the local region.  Over browsing of native flora and automobile accidents are primary reasons for appropriate deer management.  Please respect any property closing signs.
  • If you notice irregular activity on a property that you hunt, or hike; contact the landowner or call for assistance from 911 or the SE PA Game Commission office.   
    Game Law/Poaching Violation in PA
    ·  Call 911 to report any incidences, they may direct you to call the PA Game Commission or they will put the call through to the PA Game Commission
    ·  Call the SE Game Commission office:  610-926-3136 to report poaching in progress
    ·  Call the Game Commission Hotline to turn in a poacher: 1-888-742-8001


Please visit our Hunting Rules webpage for information about hunting season at TLC's Preserves. 

2014 Master Naturalist Program

Geology Field Trip with State Geologist
This past Saturday our 2014 Master Naturalist trainees braved the wet weather and ventured out to the Bucktoe Creek Preserve to learn about stewardship and restoration projects conducted at the site for the final day in their 55-hour training class. The adventurous and enthusiastic group of eight have now completed requirement 1 of 3 in becoming a certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalist. This 55-hour training course provides foundation training in natural resources and natural history of the southeastern and coastal plains eco-region here in Chester County. The classes were held once per week at the Stroud Water Research Center, and every other Saturday at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. The topics range from geology and watersheds to botany and wildlife studies. Each topic is led by a professional in their field, and we would like to thank everyone for volunteering their time to help our master naturalist reach their potential.

Botany Field Trip with Botanist, Janet Ebert
The next step in becoming a certified master naturalist is the required eight hours of advanced training and thirty hours of service. Service projects are implemented through a partnering organization, and must build upon topics covered during the 55-hour training program. Over the past two years, TLC has partnered with eight master naturalist and we are looking to partner with another four or five again this year. Projects have included, making of a Bucktoe Creek Preserve Arboretum Tree Brochure, installation of a native meadow (currently underway), monitoring of bat boxes at our nature preserve, and the creation of a conservation documentary called, Blank Spot, featuring local conservationist. We look forward to working with another group of naturalist with an unyielding passion for the environment.

Group shot of the 2014 PA Master Naturalist Trainees

Cheers to Our Village

We had a wonderful evening last night at Nourish Juice Bar in Kennett Square celebrating the yearly collaboration between One Village Coffee and Victory Brewing Company.   Attendees enjoyed delicious fondue, pumpkin hummus, and a selection of cheeses which were washed down with Victory Village beer and One Village Coffee.  We were so lucky to have the very talented Chris Ferron and his friend, Brad McNemar on hand to provide wonderful entertainment. 

A lot of new faces throughout the crowd learned more about TLC, our education programs, nature preserves, and historic resources--all things proceeds from this event will help to support! A thank you to all who supported our event and especially the amazing and tireless work of Francine Covelli, Nourish Juice Bar staff, Chris Ferron, Brad McNemar, and Steve Hackman of One Village Coffee. 

Welcoming Fall

It has been a busy start to the 2014 fall season here at TLC. This is a great time of year for outdoor nature programs and community events. It is also the mid-point of the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program! We would like to update you on programs & events you may have missed, and what's coming up this fall and winter.

It is the time of year where Monarch Butterflies begin their journey south to Mexico for the winter months. Historically during this occurrence monarchs can be seen flying overhead by the hundreds, however, in recent years the population of monarchs is declining. Many factors, some of which include weather extremes (temperature fluctuations & drought) and loss of resources due to new agricultural practices & deforestation, are attributed to the decline in population over the past decade.

Monarch Butterfly
This unsettling decline prompted TLC to hold a Monarch Butterfly Walk led by environmental educator, Holly Merker, to highlight these issues and ways that individuals can help their numbers.
Some of the ways individuals can help include planting milkweed and other plants that flower during fall migration and avoiding the use of pesticides. Communities can also play a large role by being cognizant of mowing during migration, avoiding mass use of pesticides and by building community awareness. Thanks to all of the participants who attended in order to learn more about this wondrous insect and ways to make an impact on their population! Here is a great website to learn more on your own (reference):

Edible Plant Forage
TLC also finished up the third & final part to our annual Wild Foraging Series on edible plants at Bucktoe Creek Preserve with Lee Peterson, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. Several species were identified, characterized and collected such as lamb's quarters, chicory, garlic mustard and more. The walk ended with an evening of delicious edibles, the favorite being garlic mustard pesto prepared by Lee before the walk. Our Wild Foraging Series will begin again in the spring of 2015 -- stay tuned for details!

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program has finished botany and entered into the wildlife studies segment of the 10-week course. Trainees received a plant identification field trip with botanist, Janet Ebert, then searched through rocks and mud for amphibians and reptiles with herpetologist, Kyle Loucks. They also explored the life cycle of honeybees and their importance in pollination with TLC beekeeper, Dan Borkosi of Sun Bear Apiary and Chester County Beekeepers Association.

2014 Master Naturalist Trainees
TLC also hosted an activity for Unionville Elementary students in 1st and 5th grade at the Unionville Fair this past Friday! Fifth grade students learned about pollination and the importance of plant diversity, while the first graders learned about predator & prey dynamics -- both while playing fun activities!

This fall TLC has a line up of environmental programs for families and adults. Come out to our Living History Hike on Saturday, October 11th from 10AM - 12PM to learn about the historical ruins at Bucktoe Creek Preserve while we highlight the issues surrounding the important Chandler Mill Bridge. Families, prospective beekeepers or anyone who has donated to the apiary crowd-sourcing or fundraising campaigns this past year are invited to the final Open Hive Day of 2014 on Saturday, October 18th with Dan Borkoski, where he will discuss techniques for closing the hive and we'll also look at the new additions to the apiary. Click here to see a full list of programs going on this fall and winter!

Thanks for Giving A Hoot for Conservation!

Remnants of the last remaining silent auction items waiting for their new owners litter our office and we have had time to sleep off the busy days leading up to our 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown.  As things get back to normal, we just wanted to re-cap our hugely successful Hootenanny!  We want to say a HUGE thank you to the Hootenanny Committee for all of their hard work to pull off such a wonderful event and to Anne & Michael Moran for all of their support and the use of their beautiful property!

Sadly, the beautiful weather we had been experiencing did not hold and Saturday, September 13 brought a decent amount of rain but the clouds parted at the last possible minute to give our party goers a dry arrival and later a spectacular sunset.

Attendees enjoyed cocktail hour in The Ruins with lasting views of open spaces--the funds raised from our party will help to protect more such views!  Dinner from Bixby's Caterers was served as the sun was setting and folks made their way into the tent to explore all of the fun.   Blackjack and Craps tables were in full swing as the night progressed and our Marshall was kept busy arresting the party goers who hadn't thought to pre-purchase their "Get Out of Jail" cards.  We think he ended up in jail at one point throughout the evening--not sure how that worked out!   The dance floor stayed packed with D.J. Frosty's great selection of tunes, and our silent auction had a few heated bidding wars--the Honda dirt bike and Curious Bunny statue from Margery Torrey Sculptures

Our 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown raised over $30,000 for conservation!  Thank you to all of our sponsors, in-kind donors, silent auction donors, and event attendees for Giving A Hoot for Conservation and making this event such a win!

View more of our photos HERE