Coming to our Neighborhood: Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conference

January 16, 2014

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager

This spring the annual Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA: conserveland.org) conference will be held in Reading, Berks County. Natural Lands Trust is a cosponsor, and I am excited to be hosting part of a day long traveling seminar at our Crow’s Nest Preserve.

These conferences help all land trusts—staff, volunteers and board—with the procedures by which we protect and steward open space. There are two days of half- and full-day seminars followed by a Saturday of shorter presentations. Seminar topics include drafting conservation easements, fundraising, requirements for land appraisals, developing trails, marketing and communication, managing deer on land trust and municipal lands, and my personal favorite: Stewardship Challenges in the Schuylkill Highlands Landscape: Invasive plant and deer management (here at Crow’s Nest), forest health and fragmentation in a working forest being timbered (at Birdsboro Water Authority Lands), and storm water and water quality restoration features (at Angelica Park in Reading).

Saturday sessions include drafting baseline documentation for the land being protected, connecting your community to nature, farmland preservation, and working with volunteers. There will also be sessions with issues particularly relevant to Pennsylvania: Protecting conserved lands in the path of proposed gas pipelines and protecting historic resources along with landscapes. There will also be optional field trips to Hawk Mountain and a local farm and wine tour.

Friday’s keynote speaker Jim Finley, PhD will address “Weaving the Tapestry of Forestry Conservation.” I had the privilege of being on a field trip in the Penn State Forest at last year’s PALTA conference with Dr. Finley, Professor of Forest Resource Management at Penn State University. There will also be an address by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti.

Holding the conference in our region is exciting as we get to show off to the rest of the state the conservation we’re doing here. The program is diverse and relevant. The dates are May 1 – 3, 2014. More information can be found at the PALTA link at the top.