Lancaster County, PA – Lancaster Conservancy [the Conservancy] has announced a $21 million campaign to “Protect & Restore” natural lands in Lancaster County and the Susquehanna Riverlands. The campaign aims to raise the private funds needed to meet three key objectives: 1) acquire and protect over 10,000 acres, 2) restore and steward the Conservancy’s nature preserves for both wildlife and community recreation, and 3) grow Climbers Run Nature Center into a hub for environmental education.
Lancaster County has the lowest percentage of forested acres in the state of Pennsylvania. This campaign, which is a first in the Conservancy’s 50-year history, will ensure that the few remaining woodlands, wetlands, and meadows of this community’s natural landscape are protected forever. “It is time to act,” said Phil Wenger, the Conservancy’s President. “The landscape we love, the air we breathe, the water we play in and drink is being compromised by unsustainable development and our way of life disappearing. By raising private funds, we can leverage those monies with public funds to improve habitat, clean our waterways, and protect more open space.”
An accredited land trust, founded in 1969, the Conservancy has worked for over 50 years to acquire and permanently protect natural lands. The Conservancy currently stewards and manages over 8,000 acres in Lancaster County and along the Susquehanna River in York County for the community to enjoy free of charge for public recreation like hiking, hunting, fishing, and bird watching. These nature preserves function as lungs for the community and give humans a chance to escape into wild undeveloped places.
As of the end of May 2022, over 80 donors have contributed and pledged leadership gifts of $17,065,155 million towards the Conservancy’s $21 million goal. “The urgency of this moment is not lost on our community,” said campaign co-chair Gene Clark, CEO of the Clark Associates. “It’s been remarkable to see the number of people who value saving open space and restoring habitat. Once our wild and natural areas are lost, we don’t get a second chance. Protecting land is the forever business. These nature preserves will be here for our grandchildren and our employees who value outdoor recreation.”
Interested donors are encouraged to visit the Conservancy’s website at www.lancasterconservancy.org/protect-and-restore/ or to call (717) 392-7891 to get more information on the Protect & Restore Campaign. The campaign will also host a series of public meetings and gatherings later this year to invite potential donors to learn more.
“We are so grateful that people are waking up and making investments in our community’s future,” said Fritz Schroeder, the Conservancy’s Senior VP of Community Impact. “Our beautiful natural landscape is disappearing before our eyes. We need to come together as a community and be proactive in shaping our shared future.”