Since its inception in 1939, Open Land Conservancy, With a strong commitment from the community,has protected in perpetuity 470 acres of open space in the Great Valley area.
PRESERVE OPEN SPACE
The Conservancy continually seeks undeveloped land remaining in the Valley Creek watershed. High priority are lands contiguous to existing preserves and easements as well as environmentally sensitive areas. Board members meet regularly with landowners, developers and township officials. Purchases are made possible by contributions from members and corporations; county, state and foundation grants; "bargain" sales; and gifts of land by owners.
MANAGE PRESERVES FOR PASSIVE RECREATION
Maintenance of preserves is our largest budget item. Professionals are hired to mow paths and fields, repair fences, remove dangerous trees and undertake other major projects. Volunteers, including scout groups and neighbors, work many hours in our preserves helping to keep our costs low. Workdays are scheduled as needed and annual inspections of all preserves and easements are performed by Board members.
CONDUCT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
With support from local naturalists, Open Land Conservancy conducts several nature walks every year. Guided walks enable all ages to experience the natural world. Community members are encouraged to join us and learn about plants and animals that call our preserves home.
PROMOTE WATERSHED PROTECTION
The Conservancy collaborates with other local organizations working for the protection of the Valley Creek watershed, its cold water limestone streams and the life these streams support. As a member of the Valley Creek Coalition, the Conservancy promotes improved stormwater management, riparian buffers, and enforcement of regulations in this state designated Exceptional Value watershed. The Conservancy works closely with Valley Forge Trout Unlimited on watershed projects in the Great Valley.
recent volunteer achievements
Removed 2 acres of invasive Phragmites grass along Valley Creek and planted 750 native wetland-appropriate trees, funded by grants from TreeVitalize and the Miller Fund
Removed many large and small Ailanthus trees from Cedar Hollow and George Lorimer Preserves. Important because these trees are both alien invasives and hosts for the invasive Spotted Lanternfly that threatens PA crops
Developed plan, received grants and awarded contract for remediation of the failed Township stormwater device in Airdrie Preserve
Removed vines and invasive shrubs from Cedar Hollow, George Lorimer and Cool Valley Preserves in preparation for TreeVitalize-funded tree planting in Spring 2020
Continually maintained all trails to keep preserves accessible and enjoyable for visitors
In Honor of One of a Kind: Mitsie Toland
Can one person make a difference?
Can one person really have an impact on a specific issue or cause?
You only need to look at the legacy of Mitsie Toland to answer that question . . . it is difficult to gauge the full impact she has had on our community . . .
When she moved to the Township, there was no real voice in Tredyffrin for Open Space— She became a pivotal figure in generating support for environmental issues. She assumed the presidency of The Open Land Conservancy in 1978. Even while the rolling farmland of Great Valley was being gobbled up by industrial parks and corporate campuses, Mitsie guided OLC towards the gifting, purchase and gaining easements of 352 acres adding to the original 75 acres of the Conservancy—-a 500% increase. In addition to her leadership role with OLC, she helped create the Tredyffrin Township Environmental Council, and developed lines of communications with other environmental groups such as Great Valley Association, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Green Valley’s Association and Trout Unlimited.
She also convinced corporate giants and land developers to protect the land and watersheds—-such as the encroachment of the Warner Quarry around St. Peter’s Church, and protecting Crabby Creek, a trout spawning ground and tributary to Valley Creek. She attended countless township meetings, walked construction sites, gave presentations to local groups about environmental activism, and on a broader level, was instrumental in getting the state of Pennsylvania to use BT, a far less damaging spray for gypsy moths that would not destroy a broad spectrum of insects.
“Toland has performed an invaluable service in keeping the township focused on retaining open land in the community. While her work is recognized today, she will not be fully appreciated until the 21st century,” said Steve Aichele, former Tredyffrin Township Supervisor.
One person can make a difference… Mitsie Toland has shown us how…
If you wish to join many other OLC supporters and honor Mitsie’s legacy with a contribution in her memory, please visit our Donations Page.