February 3, 2015

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager

Paul and luke (2)

Paul and Luke at Saunder’s Woods

I want to send hearty congratulations to two people in Natural Lands Trust’s Stewardship department.  Paul Claypoole recently retired as Preserve Manager at Idlewild Farm and Saunder’s Woods.  Paul worked as the Farm Manager at Idlewild for 20-some years before it became a Natural Lands Trust Preserve.  Paul then signed on with NLT to manage those preserves for another 20+ years.  Besides managing his preserves, Paul also served as the Safety and Equipment Coordinator for NLT.  In this role he researched most of the equipment that you see on our preserves (from weed whips to farm tractors and pick-up trucks).  It will be a long time before I replace all the equipment that Paul spec’d out, so his presence will be around Mariton for many years to come.  He also improved the safety record for our department (it was pretty good before he took the reigns).  Considering the equipment and environments that we work with, this has been an important task as the Stewardship department has grown over the years.  Paul was a great component of the Stewardship staff, and I will sorely miss him.

Luke Hamilton is taking Paul’s position as Preserve Manager at Idlewild and Saunder’s Woods.  Luke started as a natural resource intern at Crow’s Nest Preserve.  From that position, he became a Stewardship Assistant.  Stewardship Assistant’s are full time employees, but their week is divided between several preserves.  On average, Luke spent two days in Bucks County at Paunacussing and Diabase.   He spent another day in Montgomery County at Gwynedd, D’Lauro, or Fulshaw Craeg.  And he spent two days at Mariton.

Luke became my “right-hand man” at Mariton.  I could count on his work ethic, and appreciated his opinions.  He was a natural for a Preserve Manager position.  I think everyone, including Paul, believes that Idlewild and Saunder’s Woods is in good hands with Luke overseeing operations.

Happy retirement Paul.  Congratulations Luke.   Good luck to you both, and enjoy your new roles.