A Message from the President

Thomas D. Saunders

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy protects and restores exceptional places across Western Pennsylvania. An important aspect of that mission is stewardship.

The Conservancy stewards its own properties and land covered by conservation easements; these 183 properties total about 50,000 acres. WPC conducts stewardship work on its properties ranging from maintenance of trails to removal of invasive species. Once a year, Conservancy staff monitor properties protected by conservation easements – or agreements that permanently protect land from development – to make sure terms are being met.

WPC not only manages and looks after its own properties and those protected by conservation easements, but also provides stewardship to many streams, creeks and rivers throughout the region. This issue of Conserve highlights WPC’s watershed conservation program’s stream restoration projects, such as stream bank stabilization and abandoned mine drainage projects. This work involves proactive efforts to correct past damage or minimize future degradation.

The Conservancy’s natural heritage program provides ecological stewardship of the habitats for Pennsylvania’s threatened and endangered species. This stewardship work at times involves removal of invasive, non-native species. This issue describes, as an example, WPC’s effort to track the occurrence of aquatic invasive species through an online reporting and inventory system.

WPC provides stewardship to the trees and gardens planted by our staff and volunteers. TreeVitalize Pittsburgh – which is managed by the Conservancy and coordinated with excellent nonprofit and agency partners – just reached its goal of planting 20,000 trees in the region. Once plantings are done, ongoing maintenance is necessary. This issue of Conserve will look into the work of tree tenders, the volunteers who mulch, water and tend to the newly planted trees in their neighborhood.

And WPC has been caring for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater for more than five decades. This issue describes how WPC’s stewardship of Fallingwater now includes using technology to monitor the structural integrity of the building and its cantilevers.

I hope this quarter’s Conserve will give our members insight into the ongoing and thorough stewardship work to which WPC staff members and volunteers contribute every day. The Conservancy’s board, staff, partners and many volunteers know that as we protect properties for future generations, the stewardship of those properties is necessary for their ongoing and successful conservation.

Thomas D. Saunders
Thomas Saunders
President and CEO