Shade, not shady behavior, inspires this group

A remote location – accessible only by entering a rutted, stone roadway and ignoring “Keep Out” signs. A group of individuals wearing gloves and wielding shovels.

More than 40 staffers from the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art gather for a tree-planting outing.

More than 40 staffers from the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art gather for tree planting along Harvey Run in Chadds Ford.

Days before Halloween, such a scene might have aroused suspicions, but the posse of more than 40 staffers from the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art did not have mischief in mind. Rather than qualifying as shady characters, these individuals were committed to providing shade.

On the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 27, the environmentally-minded troupe had traveled to an area called Potts Meadow between Ring Road and the museum complex. The property, which the conservancy was founded to protect in 1967, abuts Harvey Run, an impaired tributary of the Brandywine.

Thomas Padon, checks the protective plastic sleeve that will prevent damage to the sapling from rodents and deer.

Thomas Padon, checks the protective plastic sleeve that will prevent damage to the sapling from rodents and deer.

The group’s mission: planting 600 native hardwood trees, a process that involved digging the hole, breaking up the soil, positioning the sapling, and tamping the dirt back down. Once the fledgling tree was secured, the staffers placed a plastic tube over it to prevent damage from deer and field mice.

The outing was part of “50 by 50,” an initiative to add 50,000 trees to the Brandywine Watershed by the conservancy’s 50th anniversary in 2017. Tuesday’s efforts reached No. 35,000, a milestone that merited special attention.

Excavation honors for the 35,000 hole went to Morris Stroud II, co-chairman of the board of trustees, and Virginia A. Logan, the conservancy’s executive director. When they finished, members of the Municipal Assistance Program – Beth Burnam, Rob Daniels, and Meredith Mayer – positioned the black gum and tapped the dirt back into place.

Members of the Brandywine Conservancy &l Museum of Art spread out to demonstrate their tree-planting prowess at Potts Meadow in Chadds Ford.

Members of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art spread out to demonstrate their tree-planting prowess at Potts Meadow in Chadds Ford.

Daniels said about a dozen native species such as oaks, maples, birch and hackberry, were purchased from the Octoraro Native Plant Nursery in Kirkwood, which donated the black gum. He said the protective sleeves would remain on the trees until they reached about 2 ½ inches in diameter.

Mayer said the tract was once a hayfield and the soil has ample nutrients so that amending it with compost or fertilizer wasn’t needed. Adding more trees, especially along stream beds, prevents erosion and improves water quality, she said.

Conservancy officials said the project, which received a state grant, is particularly important to area residents.

“Once established, these trees will contribute to the health of this watershed, which provides drinking water to more than 500,000 people in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware,” said Sherri-Evans Stanton, director of the Brandywine Conservancy.

John Snook,

John D. Snook, a senior advisor for the conservancy, says he was grateful he was able to complete a report the day before so he could participate in the tree planting.

Eventually, trails and bridges will be constructed on the property so that area residents will be able to traverse the scenic landscape by foot – a vista that now includes 600 more trees.

Members of the public interested in volunteering for an upcoming tree planting in Downingtown on Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon should contact Mayer at 610-388-8351 or mmayer@brandywine.org. For more information, visit http://www.brandywine.org/conservancy/events/tree-planting-1.

The Brandywine Conservancy protects water, conserves land, and engages communities. The conservancy uses a multi-faceted approach to conservation, working with private landowners who wish to see their lands protected forever, and providing innovative community planning services to municipalities and other governmental agencies, a press release said.

The conservancy currently holds 460 conservation and agricultural easements and has facilitated the permanent preservation of more than 62,000 acres of land, the release said.

The Brandywine Conservancy is a program of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, which protects art and the environment in the Philadelphia region. The Brandywine River Museum of Art presents Wyeth and American art in a setting that inspired N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth, along with other renowned artists.

 

 

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