In early 2022 we announced a major campaign to protect and restore the natural landscape in Lancaster County and along the Susquehanna River in York County.
Over the last few months, many people stepped up and pledged additional support for the Conservancy’s work, and several donors have inspired us with major gifts to this campaign – their commitment to the mission of the Conservancy enables us to do all of the work that you will read about below. “Major donors who believe in conservation have fueled our success as an organization,” says Conservancy CEO & President Phil Wenger. “Without these investors, we simply wouldn’t be successful in protecting our landscapes.” Here, we take a moment to honor a few of our major donors and share the impulses that drove their philanthropic decisions.
The Shaw Family Foundation
“As an avid outdoorsman, our father, Barry Shaw, used to enjoy hunting, but today he prefers a camera to stalk nature—documenting the wildlife we share this planet with,” said daughters Abby Lowry and Jennifer Finch jointly. “Our family believes in protecting our natural landscape. We love the idea of supporting an organization whose mission saves habitat for wildlife.”
To honor the Shaw Family for their $1.5 million gift to the campaign, our new nature preserve along the Conewago Recreation Trail, acquired last year, will be named the Shaw Family Nature Preserve.
Bill and Kitt Gamber
“We’ve been longtime supporters of the Conservancy’s work. We wanted to make an extraordinary gift to the Lancaster Conservancy because their work to protect land is critically important to bees and other pollinators,” said Bill Gamber, Chairman of Dutch Gold Honey. “We’ve lived in Lancaster County our entire lives and we want to ensure that despite all the growth and development, nature is prioritized and preserved,” said Kitt Gamber. “I love making a gift that will have a ‘forever’ impact on keeping Lancaster County a special place to live.”
To thank Bill and Kitt Gamber for their million-dollar gift to the Protect & Restore Campaign, the primary trail at Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve, scheduled to be restored, will be called the Gamber Wildflower Trail in their honor.
The Shenk Foundation
Willis and Elsie Shenk were naturalists long before young people started worrying about habitat loss and climate change. Willis Shenk served as Chairman of the Board of the Steinman Enterprises until his retirement in 2004. Before his death in 2014, Willis set up the Shenk Foundation. “Our natural world needs all the help it can get,” said Shenk Foundation Board Member Mary Louise Shenk. “Investing in acquiring and setting land aside for nature is important to all of our futures.”
To honor Willis and Elsie Shenk’s love of forests, the Shenk Foundation made a remarkable seven figure gift to this Campaign. As a result, our habitat-focused Fishing Creek North Nature Preserve has become the Willis and Elsie Shenk Nature Preserve.
A Time to Act
We believe the time to act is now to ensure the few remaining natural lands that protect our streams, clean our air, and provide us special places to visit are protected forever. Whether you’re inspired by walks next to beautiful streams, watching birds as they migrate along the Susquehanna River, educating our youth, or protecting the beloved landscape of our community, we ask you to join us in support of Saving Nature.