"Celebrating Volunteers"

Message from the President

Thomas D. Saunders

This issue of Conserve is devoted to the people who make it possible for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to accomplish large-scale outcomes in land conservation, watershed protection, greening our communities and schools, and preserving and sharing Fallingwater. They are the Conservancy’s volunteers — volunteers by the thousands, each year.

The Conservancy could not do what we do without the voluntary efforts of so many. We are not a small organization, but each of our programs is lean, and as our members know, our work to enhance the Western Pennsylvania region takes place on numerous fronts. Our gardens program alone — with a staff of ten — has 10,000 volunteers helping to plant and sustain the gardens. It’s amazing, and heartwarming, to know that so many people work together to plant flowers and landscaping at our community gardens; improve our communities with new street trees; and brighten our schools with new, sustainable landscaping.

Fallingwater appears to be a low-key and calm operation. But in reality, tours go through every six minutes, the collections and grounds are meticulously preserved, and the larger Bear Run landscape surrounding the house is carefully maintained. Our staff couldn’t do that work without the help of dedicated volunteers.

Photograph of Prince Gallitzen State Park by Dan Pompa —
first place winner of WPC’s 2009 Photo Contest.

Our Watershed Conservation staff works to clean up our rivers and streams, reduce erosion, address abandoned mine drainage, stabilize stream banks, and plant trees along our stream corridors. Countless volunteer hours from local watershed organizations supplement this work and allow us to achieve these outcomes in partnership.

As I write this letter, a volunteer sits a couple of offices from mine assisting our land conservation and stewardship staff with paperwork and documentation that is a part of land protection work. And three properties that were protected permanently in the last ten days of 2009 in the Laurel Highlands were all the result of landowners who voluntarily donated permanent conservation easements over their properties — ensuring that they will maintain their natural beauty and ecological value.

The only way to close this column is to say thank you to all the many, many volunteers who contribute their time, efforts and talent at the Conservancy.

Thomas Saunders
Thomas Saunders

2010 Members’ Day and
Annual Meeting

Bring your family and friends and join us for WPC’s 2010 Members’ Day and Annual Meeting on May 1 at The Barn at Fallingwater, located on the spectacular Bear Run Nature Reserve in Mill Run, PA.

Click here to learn more