a chance for $500 million statewide, with your help.
There is a proposal in the Pennsylvania General Assembly called Growing Greener 3. It would invest $500 million in:
- conservation of open space and farmland,
- clean water initiatives,
- upgrades in state parks and forests,
- projects to reduce flooding, and
- trails, greenways, and parks.
There are two pieces of good news, and one problem.
First, there is bipartisan support to use federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for these local investments. Second, Pennsylvania revenues are at all-time highs—we can afford to make this happen.
The problem is this: the representatives and senators who are championing this legislation tell us they are not hearing about it from their constituents.
This is where you can help. Would you please take just a moment to tell your elected officials that this investment is important and urgently needed? The NEXT TWO WEEKS are the most important to get the message out.
Here’s what to do:
- Call or email your representative and senator. You can find your legislators at this link.
- Tell them that the issues listed above are important to you.
- Ask them to support Growing Greener 3.
- Ask them to talk to their leadership in the House/Senate to urge their support of Growing Greener 3.
Please share this message with friends, neighbors, and family who also might be willing to make a call.
Thank you for making your voice heard, and for speaking up for nature!
I’m writing to urge Senator / Representative X to support Growing Greener 3. Our district needs investment in clean water, open space and farm conservation, vibrant parks and trails, outdoor recreation, and projects to reduce flooding. Please tell your leaders in the Senate / House that our district needs this funding. It’s important to me and my family to have safe places to play and explore, clean water to drink and good air to breathe – please make sure that Pennsylvania is investing in those things on our behalf.
Here are just a few of the many conservation success stories that were made possible with state funding. If we are successful in advocating for the passage of Growing Greener III, more projects like this will be possible.
Bryn Coed reforestation project
Natural Lands planted 12,500 native tree seedlings along a 3.5-mile stretch of streams at Bryn Coed Preserve, creating more than 64 forested acres of riparian buffer.
The preserve contains several headwater streams—small tributaries that carry water into Pickering Creek and on to the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. In fact, 17 percent of all the water flowing into Pickering Creek originates at Bryn Coed. The Delaware River Basin provides drinking water for 15 million people, including the communities of New York City, Trenton, Philadelphia, and Wilmington.
The headwater streams are particularly vulnerable to pollution from agricultural runoff. By converting 64 acres of marginal farmland along the streams to forest, Natural Lands hopes to improve water quality. As stormwater flows from the land into the streams, the trees will absorb pollutants, improve infiltration and recharge groundwater, and reduce erosion and flooding.
Funding for the project and other watershed restoration projects was provided by Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection.
Camp Mack preservation
Through funding that included a grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Lands acquired 392 acres of vulnerable property from the Boy Scouts and transferred it to the PA Game Commission.
The open space protected is an important connection between conserved lands in that region, creating a nearly 12,000-acre area of contiguous forest. Connected woodlands provide essential habitat for wildlife including several species of migratory songbirds that are in decline.
The preserved tract also has three small streams that flow to Furnace Run and Hammer Creek. These are both recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for their high-quality water and home to both migratory and cold-water fish species. These streams feed the Conestoga River, which supplies drinking water to the City of Lancaster.
Friends Hospital preservation
Located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, Friends Hospital is made up of historic buildings, lawns, gardens, and a forest through which Tacony Creek meanders.
The greenspace and scenic views are now permanently protected through a conservation easement with Natural Lands. The easement also formalizes public access to the property’s woodlands, which the Tacony Creek Trail traverses.
Gibraltar Hill preservation
Driving on Interstate 176 in Robeson Township, Berks County, Gibraltar Hill rests on the horizon like a sleeping giant. At one time, the fate of this local landmark was grim; an approved subdivision plan would have cleared the dense woodlands and forever altered the skyline. With funding from several sources including the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Lands was able to purchase and transfer ownership of Gibraltar Hill to the state forest system.
The 234-acre hill is situated within the Schuylkill Highlands, a region at the nexus of two landscapes that have been prioritized for protection: the Highlands and the Schuylkill River Watershed. Allegheny Creek—designated a “High Quality” stream by the PA Department of Environmental Protection—winds around the foot of this densely wooded mountain as it makes its way to the Schuylkill River.
Awbury Arboretum conservation
Open to the public free of charge as a public park and arboretum for nearly 100 years, Awbury Arboretum is an open space refuge in a densely populated urban setting. Thanks to a conservation easement with Natural Lands—funded by state grants and other sources—a 38-acre section of the garden is permanently protected.
Awbury Arboretum includes a variety of habitats: wetlands, wooded headwaters, stately trees (including the second-largest river birch in Pennsylvania), wildflower meadows, formal gardens, and community garden plots—all linked by trails.
Bear Creek Preserve addition
Thanks to funding from the state, Natural Lands was able to add a 385-acre property known as Bald Mountain to its Bear Creek Preserve. The rugged terrain is largely forested; dominant species include red oak, white oak, and red maple. Two state-designated “high quality” streams flow through the property, bordered by native hemlocks and aspens.
The property is unique in that it is a transition property between two distinctly different geophysical regions. To the northwest is the Anthracite Valley section of the Valley and Ridge Province and to southeast is Glaciated Pocono Plateau section of the Appalachian Plateau. Also interesting is the fact that the property straddles two massive watersheds. All water to the northwest of the property flows to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, and all the water to the southeast flows to the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay.