Practical Science Profiles: The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust

The trust is a hidden gem.

After pulling into the main entrance of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, I thought that I stumbled into a dream.

I said to myself, “Wasn’t I just on Huntingdon Pike? How on Earth did I get here?”

A few quick turns of the wheel, and I had discovered a magical realm with pristine woodlands and prairie.

It seemed that civilization was far away.

After I got myself together, we were met by the Executive Director of the Trust, David J. Robertson.

Robertson received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981 and has been employed by the trust since 1988.

The Trust is operated by nine employees, but receives help from over 100 volunteers throughout the year.

About half of the trust’s funding is provided by an endowment.

Robertson said that this money is just about enough to keep the doors open and the lights on. The other 50 percent of the necessary funds are provided by member and nonmember donations. Some 1,200 members, some as far away as California and Oregon, provide a bulk of funds that allow the trust to continue its operation.

Robertson agreed to give us a special tour of the trust and a look at its mission and history.

The trust’s past and future

The trust was started in 1970 and was called the Pennypack Watershed Association at that time. Its prime mission was to improve water quality in the Pennypack Watershed area.

Its mission was a great success, with the Pennypack creek having the best water quality out of all of the other bodies of water in the area that run into the Delaware River.

In 1976, the trust only encompassed 26 acres of land. It has since grown to over 800 acres.

As the trust grew, so did its mission. Now, conservation, preservation and ecological restoration are the goals.

The trust does this with programs that include native plant propagation, invasive plant removal, and control of its large deer population.

Why is conservation important?

Protected lands give us a rare opportunity to experience nature as it was before human interaction.

The trust is home to over 20 species of mammals, many species of birds, and even reptiles and amphibians.

It is a place where forest and grassland ecosystems can thrive.

What’s in it for us?

The trust offers a unique place for recreation. The open space offers visitors a place where they can kick back and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

The trust has trails that allow visitors to hike, bike, run or walk. Multiple-use trails even allow pets and horses on them.

Trails are open to the public seven days a week from 8 a.m. to dusk.

How can I get involved?

One of the best ways to get involved is becoming a member. One can achieve this by donating as little as $35 per year. This money ensures the trust’s continued operation and expansion.

Also, just as important, the trust can always use more volunteers that are willing to help with certain projects like .

If you are not interested in becoming a member or volunteering and would still like to help, a one-time donation to the trust is the route for you.

Still sitting on the fence? Just give it a shot.

Take the family, and head out to the Trust. Experience the true magic that lies there


For more, click on the above video.


The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust
 is located at 2955 Edge Hill Road,
 Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006. Call 215-657-0830 for information.

Beatriz Moisset September 06, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Your feelings when you first visited Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust parallel mine. I thought that I was in heaven. I have visited the place many times since, covered many of the trails and I never get tired of it - a hidden gem amid the suburbs. I am glad that it has expanded its acreage and I support the hard word of restoration and maintenance of such a valuable piece of ecosystem.


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