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A Note From Our Executive Director: Bill Gladden
I am thrilled to share my passion for preservation and over 30 years of public and private sector experience with French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. Like many of you, my connection to French & Pickering started long ago.
The year was 1988, and I was concluding my postgraduate work at the University of Virginia when my advisor suggested I craft an independent study to examine my ideal job. Most of my research consisted of phone calls, researching newspaper articles and receiving written material through the mail. After deciding to study private nonprofit land preservation in southeastern Pennsylvania, it was only a matter of time until I crossed paths with French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and Eleanor Morris, its founder.
The combination of land and water preservation represented in the name and work of French & Pickering captured my imagination. During our phone conversations, I often had the impression that there was a lot happening on the other end of the line. Sometimes the call ended quickly as a new challenge crossed her radar (or I had exhausted her patience) – however, the conversations were often productive and insightful.
After graduating, I spent five years learning the tools of the conservation trade with The Nature Conservancy. From there, I accepted a position with Chester County to help implement a newly minted suite of county-funded preservation programs. Most meetings in my new role were fairly predictable, although that was rarely the case when interacting with Mrs. Morris.
One memorable encounter was a driving tour we began at the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust office at Coventry Hall. It was a warm day and the windows of the dusty old station wagon were rolled down. As we careened down the road, the scenic vistas bounced quickly through my line of sight. Without warning, Mrs. Morris would pull the car off to the side of the narrow cartway – half on the shoulder, half on the road – to emphasize the importance of the property. A stream of family names, acres and historic information about the landscape before us came rushing at me as we lurched to a stop. Then, just as suddenly, we were off to the next site, as if keeping a brisk pace would somehow help keep us one step ahead of the bulldozers’ blades. Sometimes charming, sometimes abrasive, but always passionate, Mrs. Morris and the work of French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust made a lasting impression.
Now, 30 years after my introduction to the work of French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, I remain inspired to pursue our mission of conservation, community, and engagement with the people and places in northern Chester County.
Your support is more important than ever as we continue the work Mrs. Morris started 51 years ago. With your help, we can make a difference and leave a sustainable legacy of permanent preservation. We all have a unique connection to these places we love, and I look forward to hearing about yours.
For information on getting involved or how you might protect your land contact us here.
A letter from our Board President: Penny Hunt
I’m Penny Hunt and I’m the new president of French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust.
My husband, John Hunt, and I moved to our farm in Chester County about 30 years ago and soon after were invited to meet Eleanor Morris, founder of the Trust. I have been involved with French and Pickering ever since, serving on the board for a number of years.
I grew up in Pinehurst, NC, graduated from UNC Greensboro with a BA, and later got my masters in American Studies from Penn. After school I worked in Korea for a year, traveled through the east for six months afterwards, returned to marry John who shares my enthusiasm for the outdoors. Together we made our way to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro, after having climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan and Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo.
John and I moved to Philadelphia where he practiced law and I worked with a wonderful advertising agency for a number of years gaining useful skills. I then became executive director of The Decorative Arts Trust, a national non-profit organization that studies and promotes American decorative arts and material culture. The components of that organization are much like French and Pickering: program planning, websites, newsletter, membership campaigns, etc.
I am retired from that Trust now and have started a new chapter in my life centered around land conservation, agriculture, gardens and the exciting biodiversity of Northern Chester County. Local flora and fauna are my interest and that goes hand in hand with sustainability and protection of our waterways and environment. Always a historian at heart, I’m thrilled with our new Thomas P. Bentley Preserve and especially the important ruins of the 18th century Warwick Furnace. This opens new opportunities for French and Pickering: offering programs for members and Northern Chester County communities.
You can expect to be invited to wonderfully interesting evening lectures on the “Third Thursday” of the month and to fun and instructional experiences on “Second Sundays.” My motto is “Save Open Land, Protect the Water and Enjoy Nature.”
I look forward to getting to know all of you who share the passions of the environment, learning and experiencing.
Please be in touch. Thank you.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board of Directors
Penny M. Hunt, President
Shaun Mannix, Vice President
David E. Resnik, Treasurer
Jennifer Trachtman, Secretary
John Nash, Assistant Secretary
Robert R. Berry
Donna L. Brennan
James R. Fisher
L. Stockton Illoway
Gwen Kelly Klein
Cary F. Leptuck
Ellen Kittredge Scott
Mark Willcox, III
Robert C. F. Willson, Esq.