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Despite pandemic, land conservancy sees a growing number of visitors to preserves in 2021

AVONDALE, Pa. — The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC) experienced a growing number of visitors to its preserves in 2021 and continued building relationships and expanding engagement with schools, community volunteers, prospective and current easement holders, and people interested in protecting, restoring, and preserving land for generations to come.

“After many program changes in 2020, it has been refreshing to restart some of our programs in 2021,” said Abbie Kessler, executive director. “We have high hopes for a complete return to normal in 2022.”

TLC’s mission is to ensure the perpetual preservation and stewardship of open space, natural resources, historic sites, and working agricultural lands throughout Southern Chester County.​​ For over 25 years, TLC has served the Southern Pennsylvania, Northern Delaware, and Northern Maryland regions.

During the pandemic, TLC saw an increase in the number of visitors finding respite in TLC’s preserves. One preserve alone had over 10,000 visitors between spring 2020 and 2021.

2021 Highlights:

  • Fourteen Kennett and Oxford Area high school students completed an eight-week paid STEM internship as Teens Turning Green in summer 2021 with generous support from NBC’s Project Innovation and the ERM Foundation.

Teens Turning Green summer 2021 interns
  • Expanded the New Leaf Sensory Garden in Kennett Township--the only sensory garden in Chester County—with funding from the Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation and the Marshall-Reynolds Foundation.

  • Co-hosted the 14th Wild & Scenic Film Festival presented by Trail Creek Outfitters in September with more than 150 attendees.

  • Reached 1,000 acres in conservation easements alone with the most recent easement in Pocopson Township. TLC has protected over 1,500 acres in total between easements and fee simple acquisitions.

  • Hosted the ninth session of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist training, a statewide initiative that aims to connect people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work. It is a venture directed toward developing a local corps of “master volunteers and service providers” to benefit a wide range of community organizations.

  • With funding from the Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation and the Marshall-Reynolds Foundation, TLC gave almost 4,000 lessons to children through the LEAF (Land, Ecosystems, and Food) program. LEAF bridges the gap between environmental science and healthy dietary choices. Students can experiment and learn about soil health, water quality, natural habitat, seed and plant growth, and more within the program.

Garden beds at Nottingham Elementary in Oxford, PA
  • With funding from the E. Kneale Dockstader Foundation, TLC has installed 12 garden beds for LEAF lessons at Oxford elementary schools: six at Nottingham and six at Jordan Bank. Nottingham’s garden beds were prepared and planted with garlic by the 4th grade. The garden beds previously installed at Greenwood Elementary in Kennett thrived over the summer providing Kennett Area Community Services with 80 lbs of food as of late August 2021. The beds will be used for soil lessons this winter before spring planting.

Free Time Adventures summer camp
  • More than 100 campers attended Free Time Adventures, TLC’s interactive, outdoor summer program focused on creating a common bond with the natural world while building independence, enhancing problem-solving prowess, and teaching stewardship skills.

  • TLC hosted (or trained volunteers who completed) 131 group volunteering days on TLC’s preserves. These included citizen scientist-led days and corporate, community groups, and schools.

  • TLC taught 150 scouts and hosted beekeeping and the invasive spotted lanternfly education events.

Class about beekeeping at New Leaf Sensory Garden
  • TLC planted 1,300 trees and plants across TLC’s preserves and properties we manage.

  • Land management staff maintains over 18 miles of trails for public use, available from dawn to dusk daily.

  • Since the acquisition of 180 acres in Elk Township in 2018, TLC has been hard at work planning access and creating trails at the Little Elk Creek Preserve. This beautiful property contains over 1 mile of the Little Elk Creek and its tributaries, rolling meadows, and various woodlands. A parking lot is in development, with construction expected in 2022, followed by a grand opening.

For questions about TLC’s work or to learn more, please contact Abbie Kessler, executive director, at or 610-347-0347 x102.

About The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County in Avondale, Pennsylvania, is a nationally accredited land conservancy whose mission is to ensure the perpetual preservation and stewardship of open space, natural resources, historic sites, and working agricultural lands throughout Southern Chester County. Founded in the 1970s by a group of concerned citizens, TLC was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 1995 to provide meaningful, hands-on interaction with the land that feeds our bodies and nourishes our health, our creativity, and our spirits. For more information, visit

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