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Chester County Press

Two area conservation groups to form merger

03/29/2022 03:23PM ● By Richard Gaw

Courtesy image             The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance are finalizing a plan that will merge the two organizations under the name Brandywine Red Clay Alliance by the end of April.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, two regional leaders in land and water conservation, are in the final stages of a plan that will soon connect a combined century of preservation, stewardship and education into a unified partnership.

The merger is expected to be finalized before the end of April 2022 and the new alignment will operate under the name Brandywine Red Clay Alliance (BRC). The new organization will assume all obligations and commitments that The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) has with landowners and municipalities pertaining to land protection, educational programming, and stewardship work.

“The merger brings together a land-based entity that works with water conservation with a water-based entity that works to preserve the land, so we’re putting water and land organizations together to move forward as a stronger entity, with the ability to do more projects – more than what we have already worked on,” said TLC Executive Director Abbie Kessler.

“This is truly an example of one plus one equaling three,” said TLC Board Chairman Ed Camelli. “Collectively, BRC and TLC have over 100 years of environmental protection experience, have preserved thousands of acres of open space and established miles of trails, cleaned and maintained miles of streams, and educated thousands of young people to be stewards of the land. By combining resources, more land will be preserved, more waterways protected, and more children educated.”

Founded as the Kennett Township Land Trust in 1995, TLC initially focused on preserving open space in Kennett Township, but as it became more involved in preserving lands in other townships, it has expanded its reach and currently works with landowners, municipalities, and other non-profits throughout Southern Chester County.

Headquartered at the 45-acre Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, TLC operates five public preserves in Kennett and Elk townships totaling more than 500 acres. TLC currently holds 35 conservation easements on 1000 acres across seven townships.

TLC operates five public preserves in Kennett and Elk townships totaling more than 500 acres, and holds 35 conservation easements on 1000 acres across seven townships.

As part of its widening portfolio, TLC has established conservation corridors, protects historic sites, provides walkable communities through trail linkages, and offers ecological education and outreach programs for professionals, students, and underserved community members.

Founded in 1945, the BRC’s mission is to promote the restoration, conservation and enjoyment of the natural resources of the Brandywine and Red Clay watersheds through education, scientific activities, environmental stewardship and advocacy. Headquartered

at the 318-acre Myrick Conservation Center in Pocopson, the BRC is home to equestrian trails, nine miles of hiking trails, and the 19th century Browning Barn, which hosts more than 13,000 students a year as part of BRC’s environmental education school programs and the ever-popular summer camp.

BRC has also been a partner on many land preservation projects and owns 542 acres and seven conservation easements on 210 acres in Pocopson Township, whose plans include soil conservation practices, meadow plantings, riparian buffer tree plantings and the management of invasive plants.

Watershed Conservation programs protect and improve water quality throughout the Brandywine and Red Clay Watersheds in Chester County and New Castle County, Delaware. Through its Red Streams Blue program, BRC focuses on sub-watersheds with an aggregated approach to address pollution from sediment and nutrients in the streams. In 2010, BRC initiated eight watershed restoration plans and completed 26 projects on over six miles of streams.

“TLC and BRC are natural collaborators with a shared vision for our region,” said Andrew Homsey, president of the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance Board of Directors. “We look forward to joining forces to create an even more robust organization with strong environmental education and stewardship programs.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].