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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy



Message from the President

This issue of Conserve highlights the many recreational areas throughout our region that the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has had a hand in conserving. These areas are treasures of our region that residents of Western Pennsylvania and visitors to our area can enjoy, and that future generations will have the opportunity to discover. This issue also illustrates the many ways in which the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy enhances the quality of life for those who live in and visit this special region.

As Pennsylvania’s first conservancy, WPC has a long history of protecting and restoring the best of Western Pennsylvania’s natural resources. Through our conservation planning and science, and through our property acquisitions and voluntary conservation agreements, WPC has conserved and restored lands and waters that have ecological as well as recreational value. The map in the center of this issue indicates places WPC has protected that provide a range of recreational opportunities. At the Conservancy, we appreciate the work of our many partners in helping us conserve these natural places.

The Conservancy also has an impressive legacy of beautifying our Western Pennsylvania communities. WPC’s first major project, shoring up and landscaping an eroding hillside on Pittsburgh’s Bigelow Boulevard, called for planting trees. The resulting improvements not only stabilized the hill, but also provided a welcoming natural corridor to downtown Pittsburgh. Today, our Community Gardens and Greenspace Program continues to find innovative ways to “green” the City of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania communities, from greening Pittsburgh’s downtown, to planting trees in city neighborhoods and in area parks, to beautification in urban and distressed neighborhoods, to planting gardens in communities throughout our region.

Fallingwater is considered by some to be the preeminent treasure of the region. Preserving Fallingwater and sharing it with the public has not only introduced the richness of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterwork and the Laurel Highlands to more than four million visitors, it has brought economic benefits to the region by creating a major tourist destination. Fallingwater has become a cultural centerpiece for the region, including hosting lectures and art exhibitions and providing opportunities for local students and residents to experience the house. And it is fitting that WPC continues to steadily conserve surrounding water and land, adding to the 1,543 acres that the Kaufmann family donated with the house—not only on adjacent properties, but in the surrounding Laurel Highlands as well.

Today, the beauty of Western Pennsylvania is being discovered and appreciated by people from around the country and the world. This September, two major conferences that connect directly to WPC’s mission will take place in our region. The Land Trust Alliance Rally, the largest land conservation training and networking event in America, will welcome more than 2,000 land trust professionals to Western Pennsylvania. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s 2008 annual conference will convene in the Laurel Highlands, hosted by Fallingwater. The Building Conservancy is an international historic preservation organization dedicated to the work of America’s most renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. We are honored to be playing a role in helping to coordinate each of these events. With the essential partnership of our members and like-minded organizations, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will continue its legacy of improving the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania. We hope you enjoy this issue and the information in it about just some of the special places our beautiful region has to offer.

Thomas D. Saunders
President and CEO