find yourself outside.

October 16, 2020

“First off, thank you for your commitment to preserving green space in our area! My husband and I have lived in Chester County for over 20 years, unaware of the beauty that surrounds us.”

Photo: Cameron Family

The Cameron kiddos at Bryn Coed Preserve

That’s how a letter we received recently from Susan and Colin Cameron began. When school let out in June, the Camerons, like so many others in our area, began to look for safe socially-distanced activities for their three daughters, Charlotte (5), Chelsea (7), and Claire (10). A friend recommended they visit our Binky Lee Preserve, which proved to be a gateway to the more than 25,000 acres of publicly accessible open space under our care. “We saw the ‘Find Yourself Outside Challenge’ flyer on the kiosk and, before we knew it, we had made it our summer mission to visit all of Natural Lands’ preserves.”

Photo: Cameron Family

Claire Cameron traversing a log at Willisbrook Preserve.

What they saw was beauty and wildness aplenty to fill a summer. “We visited and explored every one of the properties, which all had something to offer. We saw myriad wildflowers, mushrooms, and insects and wildlife. We came cross a whole flock of goldfinches at Peacedale Preserve, a box turtle at Harold N. Peek Preserve, a bald eagle at Bryn Coed Preserve, a garter snake at Sadsbury Woods, and even heard the sounds of a bear at Bear Creek Preserve. The pandemic shutdown’s silver lining allowed us the wonderful opportunity to spend our days exploring nature right in our neighborhood and beyond.”

What the Camerons discovered—nature in our own backyards—is the result of decades of conservation effort. In our nearly 70-year history, Natural Lands has saved more than 125,000 acres, making it possible for more than five million people (and 80 percent of the Philadelphia metropolitan area) to live within five miles of open space under our permanent protection. It is immensely gratified to be able to provide moments of escape and exploration in the natural world, free of charge, via 120 miles of trails at 43 nature preserves and one public garden.

Perhaps, when these difficult days are behind us, we will find that we as a society come away with a heightened appreciation for efforts like Natural Lands’ to save open space, care for nature, and connect people to the outdoors. And that many preserve visitors will look back on this time, like the Camerons,

having made memories, discovered something new about their home, and feeling more connected to nature.

If you’ve found time in nature meaningful over the last months, connected with us virtually, or place value in conservation, we invite you to become a member and join our community of friends and supporters who make our work possible.

Photo: Cameron Family

Exploring Bear Creek Preserve

While there is no lack of worthy philanthropic causes these days, there are few with more greater impact—for the environmental integrity of our region; the health and wellbeing of our communities; the future of our suburbs and exurbs; and the lives of children like Charlotte, Chelsea, and Claire—than the permanent protections of conservation. Natural Lands is in the business of forever, and your membership support will have a truly lasting effect by helping us save open space, care for nature, and connect people with the outdoors.