WHAT WE DO
PROTECT. RESTORE. ENGAGE.
Founded in the 1970s by a group of concerned citizens, TLC was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1995. TLC hired its first staff person–our retired executive director–in 2004, and has since evolved into a nationally accredited land conservancy with a full time staff of seven, a host of interns and volunteers, and an actively involved all-volunteer Board of Trustees.
Our work focuses on establishing conservation corridors, protecting historic sites, providing walk-able communities through trail linkages, and offering ecological education and outreach programs for professionals, students, and underserved members of the community. We like to think of our combined efforts as providing “TLC” for the environment, as well as for the residents of Southern Chester County. Our goal is to provide meaningful, hands-on interaction with the land, that not only feeds our bodies, but also nourishes our health, our creativity, and our spirits.
Conservation is the main tenet of our work at The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. We have conserved approximately 1500 acres of land to-date, with several easements and acquisitions currently in the pipeline. Our goal is to create conservation corridors, protecting vital contiguously conserved land and heritage sites. Open space and natural resources are vital to our community’s health and well-being, and TLC actively works to protect them in perpetuity.
TLC offers several conservation options for landowners and matches interested buyers with properties that are worthy of protection. In addition to working with landowners to place conservation easements on their properties, TLC also owns five public nature preserves and works with a sixth sister preserve, the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where we host educational programs and assist with land management.
A conservation easement is a landowner’s voluntary agreement restricting the use and development of his or her property. Completing a conservation easement involves a number of specific activities leading from the first meeting to the final recording of the easement in the County’s real estate records. Initially, a representative of TLC seeks to understand a landowner’s objectives and the impact of conservation of the property. This is perhaps the most critical step and can take the longest to accomplish in order to meet the needs of both the landowner and TLC. Other activities include an appraisal of the property and a detailed evaluation to identify the property’s existing conditions and its natural and cultural resources.
The preservation process is the beginning of a long-term relationship between the landowner and TLC. As the options for conservation may not be readily apparent to landowners, we are available to meet with individuals or groups of residents to share ideas and answer questions.
Conservation is a value-added resource in any community. For more information about how open space makes for a good investment, read the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s “Return on Environment”.
We believe that you can’t separate the land from its history, and we strive for the preservation and protection of Southern Chester County’s rich cultural heritage in addition to its diverse natural landscapes. Land conservation and historic preservation often originate from the same desire–to protect a sense of place, community spirit, and integrity of local land and heritage, for generations to come. Our work focuses on the mutual preservation of both natural lands and important historic sites, and we strive to educate and engage the community of Southern Chester County in its remarkable history. It is our hope that this will ensure that this history will be kept alive through preservation for generations to come.
Three of our current conservation easements include historic structures. We partner with local groups such as the Kennett Township Historical Commission, Kennett Underground Railroad Center, S.A.V.E., and the Chester County Historical Society as we carry out historic preservation projects. In 2010, TLC was instrumental in placing the Chandler Mill Bridge, Kennett’s oldest one-lane bridge, on the National Register of Historic Places, and our work takes place inside a larger historic area–the west branch of the Red Clay Creek Conservation District, which has been submitted for designation to the National Register. We continually conduct programming at the Bucktoe Cemetery, which is the final resting place of several African American Civil War soldiers. We also hold historic education workshops, such as our Historic Hike Series, as part of our year-round educational programming.
Preservation of land through conservation easements is an important step towards protecting our natural resources, but the next step, stewarding our land is just as important. You can become a steward whether you own a 1/4 acre lot or a 1,000 acre farm. This can be as simple as planting native plants to attract pollinators or as in depth as creating and implementing a management plan with step by step details of ways to control invasive species and encourage native species. Whether your property is large or small, stewardship of your land is something that each of us can do.
TLC’s nature preserves are managed for their habitat and biodiversity. In addition to providing a place for our two legged and four legged friends to enjoy nature, we also work hard to create habitat for the native flora and fauna. Anytime you visit one of our properties you will see our stewardship efforts at work. Nesting boxes, native plantings, invasive management, and mowing schedules are all ways that we steward our lands to encourage the wildlife that we all enjoy observing. If you see us hard at work on our preserves, feel free to stop to learn about our most recent stewardship projects.
In addition to our stewardship efforts on our own property, TLC realizes that stewardship and proper management of your property is a daunting task, and have developed programs to provide the tools to assist you with that task. Our Conservation Land Improvement Program works to assist landowners in becoming better stewards of their property. Each program can work independently or congruently depending on your needs as a landowner.
We offer a diverse lineup of year-round, nature-based, educational and historical programs for adults and children of all ages — from preschool children to students, future environmental educators, landowners, and everyone in between. Our mini-adventures are designed to encourage interaction with natural habitats while fostering an appreciation and understanding of their importance. Through our programs, it is our hope that we may empower the community, now and through future generations, with the tools and knowledge needed to protect and improve the environment and its delicate ecosystems.