Sneak Peek of some Great TLC Silent Auction Items

TLC's Hootenanny Hoedown is rapidly approaching--have you heard it is taking place on Saturday, September 13 at The Ruins on The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Course.  If you have not yet purchased tickets, you are not going to want to miss this event--so BUY THEM NOW

We have so many wonderful silent auction items which are listed this page, so be sure to preview them to find out what item you may want to take home but we are going to highlight a few items which may take some planning with friends and family before the event--VACATIONS!!

Isabela, Puerto Rico: Casa de Olas is very private oceanfront rental on Shacks Beach, Isabela Puerto Rico. Situated on the North West coast of PR it is just steps away from some of the best SURFING, STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING, KITEBOARDING and DIVING. A first floor 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen with dishwasher; 2 full bathrooms with showers inside; another half bath with washer and dryer outside next to the private POOL!  This property sleeps six. 

Pick your dates of one week from May 1 through October 15

OBX, Carova, North Carolina: This vacation rental is ONLY accessible with a 4WD vehicle (NOT AWD).  You will drive along the beach to access this beautiful home situated behind the dunes with stunning views of the ocean.   Be sure to invite your friends/extended family as this house has SIX bedrooms and 7 1/2 BATHS.  The wonderful amenities include a gourmet kitchen and a theater room but the beach steps away beckons.  Wild horses among the dunes offer frequent photo opportunities.

This Opportunity is for October 11-October 18th 2014!! 

Lewes, Delaware: This 3 bedroom/ 2 bath apartment sleeps six and offers beautiful views of the Delaware Bay and Lewes lighthouse.  It is located above the East of Maui Surf Shop and convenient to the city beach (just across the street) and to Cape Henlopen, which is a short bike ride or drive away, as well as to the town of Lewes.  Cape Henlopen State Park is a mecca for the avid bird watcher, and offers many nature trails and hiking options.   The historic town of Lewes has wonderful shops, museums, and restaurants. Choose your week from October 2014 through May 2015.

Bonmartini-Fini & TLC?

 What does a vineyard in Italy have to do with TLC? Read on to find out!!
In 1497, the two noble Venetian families of Barone and Fini united in marriage and began producing wine in northeastern Italy.  Archival notes show they were the wine makers for the Medicis. 
Today, the Bonmartini family of Greenville, Delaware-- direct descendants of the Barone Finis-- continue to manage this venerable property that lies at the foot of the majestic Dolomite mountains in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy that shoulders up against Austria.
Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini took control of the winery in 1997 after his uncle Sebastiano passed away. Cultivating grapes in as natural a manner as possible, the winery specializes in producing just two varietals: Pinot Grigio and Merlot. All of the fruit for Barone Fini is sourced from old vines, is hand harvested and subjected to rigorous hand sorting to ensure that only the best fruit is used.
The son of Greenville's Francesco and Charlotte Bonmartini-Fini,  Giovanni has lived his life with one foot on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. Born in Massachusetts, his formative years were  spent on his family’s farm on the shores of Lake Garda, attending various schools in France, Italy, and Belgium. After Francesco's retirement as an executive with Hercules Corporation, he became heavily involved in the business of the winery. When the family returned to America, Giovanni graduated from the Tatnall School in Wilmington in 1981. He speaks French, Italian and English fluently.
Barone-Fini produces a lovely Merlot, but they are especially known for their distinctive Pinot Grigio Valdadige and Pinot Grigio Alto Adige.  Created from relatively young vines planted about 25-30 years ago, the  wines are created to be medium-bodied, without harsh tannins or high alcohol content. The vineyard  produces 60,000 cases of Pinot Grigio a year, 100,000 cases overall. Bottles are adorned with the striking Bonmartini-Fini family crest.
 This is a sneak peek of one of the wonderful silent auction items that you will have a chance to bid on at the 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown.   We are thankful for Terry Conway for connecting us to the Bonmartini family, and for this wonderful write up of Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini and his wines.  Purchase your tickets now to the 2014 Hootenanny Hoedown and YOU could be the highest bidder on the case of Merlot and Pinot Grigio adorned with the Bonmartini-Fini family crest.  

Celebrating National Honey Bee Day with TLC

TLC took part in celebrating National Honey Bee Day with two events last week.

On Thursday, August 14th there was a showing of More Than Honey in The Liberty Room at The Market at Liberty Place.   More Than Honey is a nationally acclaimed film that highlights environmental pressures impacting bee populations across the world.  Experienced beekeepers, novice beekeepers, and those just interested in learning more about these pollinators enjoyed their food from The Market vendors as they learned about the important role that honey bees play in the food that we consume.   TLC recognizes the importance of honey bees and in addition to education through movies like More Than Honey, we also have hives at New Leaf Eco Center which are opened up once a month for our Open Hive Days.
TLC's Observation Hive.

We celebrated National Honey Bee Day officially on Saturday, September 16th with an Open Hive Day at the New Leaf Eco Center. This month our beekeeper, Dan Bokoski, focused on ways to remediate mite problems occurring in the hive. The main step that we focused on was figuring out if your hive has a problem that needs to be treated. This is done by calculating the percentage of mites in a hive. Dan's preferred method is the powdered sugar technique, where mites are filtered from a jar of honeybees (~400 honeybees) containing powdered sugar and counted. Dan demonstrated this technique to our sharp-eyed group who were able to spot 20 mites that were filtered from the jar. This number is the indicator for treatment versus no treatment. Dan laid down the light, organic treatment, which should alleviate the mite problem on one of our three hives.

There are many things to learn as a prospective and experienced beekeeper. TLC's Open Hive Days are a great place for beekeepers to share ideas, and for new beekeepers to learn the ins and outs of installing and managing a hive on their own properties!

There are two more Open Hive Days left for the 2014 year: Saturday, September 20th and Saturday, October 18th. Both run from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM and are located at New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348).

Dan Borkoski showing a frame from the hives. In the background are other materials to conduct the mite remediation.

Celebrating the Dog Days of Summer

If you are not aware, TLC's Nature Preserves are a wonderful resource for dog owners.  We ask that you maintain control while walking your dogs on our property, but we do not require leashes, only control.  We held our first ever Dog Days of Summer event last evening at Stateline Woods Preserve.  The weather was unseasonably cool (Dog Days of Summer adage did not apply) but beautiful none the less for a fun evening. 

Event attendees brought out their canine pals to explore our preserve and meet other four-legged friends.   After an introduction to TLC and Stateline Woods, attendees learned about the newest dog friendly addition to Stateline Woods Preserve, our dog compost sites.  We were very thankful for our good friend and TLC supporter Del Bittle & Diesel for bringing out the PA system!

There are three dog compost areas installed throughout the property that allow dog owners to clean the dog waste off of the trail, and dispose of it through the compost site.  It is important to note that ONLY Corn Based Compostable bags should be put into the dog compost sites.  TLC will provide bags at the preserve, but they can also be purchased at Harvest Market Natural Foods.  With the help of all dog users on our preserve, we can help to reduce the Nonpoint Source Pollution caused by dog waste.  In order for our composting sites to work properly, please only place dog poop in CORN BASED COMPOSTABLE bags into the compost.    If you are using recycled plastic bags from the grocery store, you must remove this waste from the property.

GiggyBites was on hand to provide delicious home-baked treats for all of the canines attending the event and Punk'd Pineapple was there to provide the humans with a little ice cream.  Paws for People is a Pet Therapy Volunteer program that was on hand to speak about volunteer options available with your pets.  Nancy Fitzgerald from Positive Results Dog Training spoke about ways to make sure that your dog is "off-leash" ready.  Mary Long, an Animal Communicator spoke to folks about ways to better understand what their dog was trying to tell them.

All attendees (in the four legged variety) received squeaky tennis balls courtesy of Concord Pets in Hockessin and entered to win a raffle for a painting party at Punk'd Pineapple.  The top prize for the Costume Contest was a gift certificate to Half Moon Restaurant, and one new Canine Pal member won a gift certificate for a Family Class with the Dog Training Center of Chester County.  We are thankful to our event sponsor In Home Veterinary Care for all of their support!

If you missed the event--be sure to stop by Stateline Woods for a hike and have your canine sport their own TLC Tags by becoming a Canine Pal Canine Pals and all members help to support TLC and our nature preserves! Click HERE to view all of the photos from the event

Summer Update from TLC

The summer months are flying by here at TLC! We are approaching August, which is filled with several programs for adults, children and families alike. This year, our summer educational programs are made possible in part by a generous grant from CCRES.

As you may have read in our last blog post, we visited the Library & Archives Department at Longwood Gardens. Click here to read more about our private tour. The final tour of Longwood's new meadow garden will be held on September 6th from 2-4pm. If you are a TLC member, you can register  by clicking here. If you are not a member, become one today! Now is a great time to join because we are currently having a Summer of Love raffle: any new members between now and September 1st are entered to win a gift certificate to Foxy Loxy. Yummm!

Sifting through the soil near the Church foundation.
You cannot separate the land from its history. Over the month of July, the Bucktoe Cemetery collaboration (TLC, New Garden UAME Church & Heritage Guild Works) held a five-week history program for students of the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The group met once per week; two of the dates included classroom sessions tying together the Bucktoe Cemetery and historical events taught in the curriculum. Students were even able to connect the cemetery to historical events in their country of origin, which included parts of Mexico and other Central & South American countries.

Sneaking up on frogs at the retention pond.
The other two dates included a field trip to the Bucktoe Cemetery. The thirty or so students uncovered parts of the foundation of the old church and even stumbled across a buried headstone with a name partially engraved. Interesting artifacts such as nails, brick and possibly some pieces of pottery were also discovered by the students. This hands on experience was unique for these students and truly brought history to life. If your class or group is interested in discovering the local history of Chester County through hands-on experience, please contact Paige at or call 610-347-0347 x 104.

First timer on the spotting scope.
Just across the line from the Bucktoe Cemetery is the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where two summer programs were held last week. Tick Tock Early Learning Center joined us on Wednesday to explore natural habitats with their students ages 5 - 13 years-old. Students investigated life in the Red Clay Creek and found a variety of different macroinvertebrates. A crayfish and salamander were among the unqiue discoveries! Another group was exploring two ponds on the preserve for frogs, dragonflies and other pond life. The frogs were quick, but kids were equipped with nets, patience and good reflexes! Just upland from the wetland habitats was the birding group. Environmental educator, Holly Merker, led the group through meadows and woodlands of Bucktoe Creek Preserve listening, calling and spotting different species of sparrows, hawks and other birds. Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch underneath a brand new pavilion recently built on the property, which provides perfect shade for a hot, sunny day. The Bucktoe Creek Preserve provided a great location for Tick Tock students to see the change in habitats from upland to wetland. If your class, organization or group is interested in coming to BCP for a day of exploration, please contact Paige at or 610-347-0347 x 104.

Starting up the bonfire after dinner for a s'mores snack.
The second program was a collaborative effort between The Land Conservancy and the Delaware Nature Society on an overnight in nature campout Saturday night into Sunday morning. Six families joined us at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve for the camping experience. Saturday night we hiked the preserve to familiarize the group to common plants (good and bad ones!) and wildlife species found on the preserve. After roasting marshmallows and enjoying one too many s'mores, we walked down to the woodlands to call for owls. A timid eastern screech owl called back for a few minutes. Luckily he/she was loud enough to hear over the sound of several green frogs croaking in the adjacent pond. The next morning after breakfast was served, we finished up with a hike to the Red Clay Creek checking out life in the creek. We spotted a great blue heron, which was not alarmed by our group of 20 or so. Thanks to all of the participants for a great weekend evening together and we hope to have you join us for another  campout next summer!

So back to the upcoming programs for this August! If you are interested in registering or learning more about these events, please visit our website by clicking here. This is a snapshot of what's going on:

  • Sharing Nature with Children - Saturday, Aug. 2nd from 10am - 11am @ Bucktoe
  • Free Time Adventures in Nature - Tues, Aug. 5th, 12th & 19th AND Thurs, Aug. 7th, 14th & 21st from 10:00am - 2:00pm @ Bucktoe
  • Wild Mushroom Foraging Event - Saturday, Aug. 9th from 9am - 1:30pm. Starting at Bucktoe and ending at the Woodlands at Phillips. Spots limited.
  • Open Hive Day - Saturday, Aug. 16th from 9:00am - 10:30am @ New Leaf Eco Center.
  • Sky Tour - Saturday, Aug. 20th from 8pm - 9:30pm @ Bucktoe. 

A Look Behind the Scenes at Longwood Gardens–Part 2

Saturday July 12th was the second installment of TLC's members-only program How Things Work: Longwood Gardens. Last time, the group took a tour of Longwood's solar field and composting fields, to get a look at their sustainability efforts. This time, we took a tour of the library and historic archives, for a better understanding of the legacy of Longwood.

A brief pause to check out the waterlily display

A unique book with wood-cut illustrations
The group was led by Maureen McCadden, Longwood's Digital Resource Specialist, and Judy Stevenson, Archivist. We were led through the Conservatory, stopping to take a look at the beautiful waterlily display currently in bloom. In the library, we got to look through an extensive collection of historic and rare books on horticulture and botany, some of which came from Pierre S. du Pont's own private collection. We had the chance to look through the same books that most likely inspired the design of the gardens when Mr. du Pont first began cultivating them in the early 1900s.

Part of Longwood's network of underground tunnels
After checking out the library, which many students use each day, we moved on to Longwood's archives. On the way, we passed part of the network of tunnels that run underneath the gardens, designed by Mr. du Pont for more effective maintenance and watering. Once in the archives, we got a look at some of the hundreds of thousands of images in Longwood's possession, which are currently being added to a digital database. We even got to travel through the vault, which houses rare books from Mr. du Pont's collection, blueprints, property maps, recordings, and over 300,000 slides.

TLC's tour highlighted Longwood's immense value as a historic and educational resource, as well as the innovative methods used to manage their unique and expansive collections. After the tour, participants took advantage of the beautiful weather to explore the gardens, now with a new perspective and appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.

If you missed Part 2 of How Things Work: Longwood Gardens, don't fear! There is still time to become a member and register for Part 3, which will explore the new Meadow Garden. The final installment will take place on September 6th from 2pm-4pm, and we hope to see you there. Click here to register!

A Word on Behalf of Honey Bees

Visitors young and old can learn from the bees at TLC's apiary
At TLC, one of our favorite things to hear is that someone has come away from one of our programs and decided to plant pollinator-friendly flowers and plants on their property. On our own properties as well as those we serve with our stewardship outreach programs, we advocate for native plantings that attract honey bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. This practice is mutually beneficial for you, the environment, and local honey bee swarms, which have been in decline for years due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). 

Unfortunately, it seems that many plants purchased specifically for their honey bee-friendly nature may, in fact, be contributing to CCD, if purchased from certain retail stores. A recent report published by Friends of the Earth found that over 50% of "honey bee-friendly" plants purchased from Home Depot and Lowe's stores had been treated with neonicotinoid insecticide. This type of insecticide is widely believed to be a significant contributing factor in CCD and the overall decline of pollinators. Not only does it kill bees in large quantities, exposure to even small amounts can cause disruption in bees' perceptions, immune systems, and navigational abilities, making them vulnerable to disease. Retailers are not required to disclose which pesticides have been used to treat their plants, making it even more difficult for consumers to protect themselves--and the pollinators that visit their gardens--from exposure to harmful chemicals. 

Because of this, the study concludes that "The high percentage of contaminated plants and their neonicotinoid concentrations suggest that this problem is widespread, and that many home gardens have likely become a source of exposure for bees."

The last thing TLC wants to do is discourage anyone from making their yard more of a haven for honey bees. Even one native, pollinator-friendly garden can make a difference in the health of local honey bees, and many such gardens can have an exponentially greater effect! Furthermore, there are many additional benefits to planting native species, removing invasives, and conducting environmentally-conscious stewardship on your property. (Contact our Landscape Visionaries team to find out more.) But when choosing what to plant, it's important to learn as much as possible about where your plants come from and what they have been exposed to. 

This information also serves as a reminder of the many powerful forces at play that combine to cause widespread decline of vital pollinators. This makes it more important than ever for each of us to be aware and conscious of the things we can do every day to make a positive difference.

What You Can Do: 
  • Attend TLC's Open Hive Days to learn all about honey bees, the role they play in local and global ecosystems, and how to begin your own apiary.
  • Share what you learn with others. Spread the word about how important honey bees and other pollinators are to our world.
  • When building your bee-friendly garden or backyard, buy organic plant starts, or start your own plants from (non-treated) seeds. 
  • Avoid using insecticides that contain neonicotinoids. (A list of common products to avoid can be found here.)
  • Ask the managers of your local nurseries to stop using these harmful pesticides or using suppliers that pre-treat with neonicotinoids. Let them know you will not buy these products. 
  • Visit BeeAction to learn more and sign a petition urging retail garden stores to stop using neonicotinoid-based insecticides. 
  • Urge your Congressional representative to support the Save America's Pollinators Act.
TLC strives to do all we can to protect our neighborhood pollinators. Stay tuned for more events, updates, and opportunities to make a difference for these vital creatures.

Honey bees are abuzz at our new observation hive

Outdoor Alternatives

April introducing medicinal properties of mugwort.

There is an overwhelming world of medicinal plants it seems. However, April Coburn, of Nettlejuice Herbcraft, is able to pull it all together and focus on the common species of Chester County on a three hour guided hike of the medicinal plants of Bucktoe Creek Preserve.

On the list are several species you may recognize the name of, but not the medicinal properties associated.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) - The root of the plant has been used as a means to boost energy and assist with mental illnesses, while the rest of the plant is used for stomach and intestinal aliments.

Red Clover  (Trifolium praetense) - The perennial plant with a purple/red flower has several medicinal purposes due to the high level of nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. This plant has an overall positive effect, and with continued use will rid your body of toxins by helping to clear the lungs and liver, and improve circulation.

Red Clover and Common Milkweed.
Common Milkweed (Asclepians syriaca) - There are a few reasons why monarch butterflies love to feed on this plant, but an interesting reason is the uptake of toxins into their body to make them distasteful to predators. The milky sap contains a mild poison that may be toxic when taken internally without preparation. The sap can be externally used to remove warts, for ringworm, and for bee stings. The buds can be consumed to alleviate chest discomfort.

April speaking about Shepherd's Purse (ground plant)

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) - This plant is used for heart and circulatory problems, and also for minor uses for headaches.
Giant Ragweed. 

Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) - For external assistance, ragweed leaves can be used to sooth insect bites and poison ivy rashes. As for external use, the roots can be blended as a tea to calm nausea and fever, and Native Americans used it as a laxative.

If you enjoy wild foraging walks, TLC has two more in 2014. Wild Mushroom Forage will be held August 9th from 9am - 1:30pm with a special cooking demonstration at The Woodlands at Phillips, and the Wild Edible Foragewill be held September 27th from 3pm - 6pm with Lee Peterson, author of the Peterson Field Guides to Wild Edible Plants. Both located at Bucktoe Creek Preserve!

Be sure to join TLC for our upcoming Cool Season Grass walkon Thursday, June 19th from 9:00am - 12:00pm with local botanist, Janet Ebert, as we identify and learn about common grasses (and other plants we may see!) of eastern Pennsylvania. Click here to register! 

Save the Chandler Mill Bridge, Create a Nature Preserve, and Leave a Legacy!

The beautiful Chandler Mill Bridge in summer!
The Chandler Mill Bridge’s future has been in limbo for over 9 years. Finally, a forward-thinking decision is right around the corner! The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County has led the charge on behalf of the Chandler Mill Bridge Consortium to convert the CMB to pedestrian-only. Now, with the decision in its twilight hours, we need your help! Sign this petition and read on below to learn about the CMB and why your opinion matters.

Located between Kaolin Road and Hillendale Road, the Chandler Mill Bridge is a historic, steel-plate through girder bridge. Built in 1910, the CMB is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sits above the rural, scenic Red Clay Creek.

The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in May of 2011, after a routine inspection declared it unsafe. Originally, TLC advocated for rehabilitation of the bridge. Over the past 9 years, the CMB issue has evolved and the TLC’s stance has evolved with it. The bridge used to be a farm-to-market relic. Times have changed, and now we have the opportunity to create a public nature preserve with extensive trail linkages. Even within the last week, exciting new opportunities have developed!

Site of proposed Chandler Mill Nature Preserve
If the CMB is converted to pedestrian-only, a private landowner has pledged land to create a Chandler Mill Nature Preserve and Interpretive Center! The Preserve will contain 50 acres of public-access open land, connecting people to nature and recreation. Interior and perimeter trails will traverse the preserve, and the preserve will host a nature interpretation center. TLC and bridge neighbors submitted a formal proposal on May 19th to the Kennett Township. The proposal is a blueprint for all trail networks plans involving the CMB-- from the Red Clay Greenway to the Nature Preserve.

Sketch of the pedestrian-only CMB
Currently, Chester County owns the Chandler Mill Bridge. The County is interested in demolishing the bridge and replacing it with a two-lane bridge. In practical terms, a two-lane bridge means no Nature Preserve and no Red Clay Greenway. Fortunately for CMB supporters, the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This means that Chester County must exhaust all alternatives to demolition, as required by federal law.  Therefore, if Kennett Township accepts ownership of the bridge-- the County will convert the CMB to pedestrian-only! As clarified at the CMB Kennett Township meeting on April 30th, there are federal, state, and local funds available to convert the bridge. 

We all moved to Kennett Township to enjoy the rural, scenic community. As Kennett Township develops, our back roads are becoming heavily trafficked, open land is converted to housing developments, and historic bridges are demolished. The Chandler Mill Bridge represents a piece of history and beauty. Kennett Township will likely hold a vote in June about the CMB’s future. In the meantime, sign this petition to convince the Kennett Supervisors to Save the Chandler Mill Bridge, Create a Nature Preserve, and Leave a Legacy!  Keep an eye out for more information about the ongoing efforts to preserve the Chandler Mill Bridge and safeguard our quickly-disappearing quality of life. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to save a historic bridge from demolition-- while creating an amazing community resource, enhancing our township, and protecting our quality of life for generations to come.  

Sustainability Saturday

Top Bar Hive @ TLC apiary
This past weekend The Land Conservancy kicked-off our monthly Open Hive Days AND our new members-only series called How Things Work at Longwood Gardens.

A big thanks to the large group of beekeepers, both current and potential, for joining us for the opening month! TLC's beekeeper, Dan Borkoski, was able to show the new Top Bar Hive we received over the winter. This new type of hive is beneficial because it is portable, easier to observe and access, and some say that it is a more natural way to manage honeybees. TLC's Open Hive Days occur once per month from May - October every year. Click here to register for an Open Hive Day!

Solar Fields @ Longwood Gardens
The beautiful Saturday afternoon continued on with a behind-the-scenes tour of Longwood Garden's sustainability efforts in the solar & compost field. Ed Lloyd, Matt Taylor and Dave Fraczkowski gave TLC members a unique tour of the solar fields followed by a tour of the composting fields. How Things Work: Longwood Gardens is a three-part series. Part II will take place on Saturday, July 12th and will explore the library and historical archives of Longwood. Part III will be held Saturday, September 6th and will be a private tour of the new meadow garden. Click here to register for parts II and III!

Don't worry if you were unavailable last weekend to attend either event -- both are reoccurring and we welcome you to join us next time! Visit our website to see more education programs going on this summer!