Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve presented the second annual Land Ethics Awards at its Land Ethics Symposium on February 16th. This year’s recipients were Natural Lands Trust’s Willisbrook Preserve Seed Project and Bob Adams of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. The recipients were selected by a jury of experts in preservation and conservation, which reviewed all nominations.
Natural Lands Trust’s (NLT) Willisbrook Preserve Seed Project sought to restore native serpentine barrens in order to improve habitat for grassland birds and other wildlife. The barrens at NLT’s Willisbrook Preserve are among only 18 remaining serpentine grasslands in the eastern U.S. Serpentine barrens derive their name from the presence of serpentinite, a rare greenish bedrock that renders the soil inhospitable to most plants. However, a few tenacious species have adapted to these extreme soil conditions.
According to Kirsten Werner, Director of Communications for NLT, “Many of these plants are rare, threatened, or endangered as are some of the animals that make the grassy habitat their home. Without the barrens, these native plants and animals could be lost.”
The project included the identification of key grassland barrens plant species, the fall harvest of grass and wildflower seeds at the 126-acre Willisbrook Preserve in Malvern, PA, and spring seed planting. Seven acres of grassland have been restored at Willisbrook Preserve using the harvested seeds, and NLT plans to continue this project until the entire grassland area has been planted.
The Land Ethics Award jury chose to recognize this project because it “represents something very rare and relevant today- applied restoration science. Natural Lands Trust identified a real regional need for local seed and developed an innovative program to address it. This effort is breaking new ground and will clearly be influential in our area.”
The Land Ethics Award jury also selected an individual to receive the Award: Bob Adams, the Director of Stewardship at the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA).
Bob received a BA in Geography and Urban Studies with a minor in Environment from Temple University. In 1998, he became WVWA’s first land manager, and WVWA appointed him Director of Stewardship in 2005. He now oversees WVWA’s land management planning and implementation, land monitoring, and also works with landowners to protect and preserve their land.
Anne Standish, Director of Development at WVWA, stated that Bob “has labored tirelessly for over 13 years to protect the wild areas that WVWA controls as well as to enhance natural values on properties owned by local municipalities.”
Bob has spearheaded many projects, including invasive plant removal efforts, wetland restoration work, and a dam removal project. According to the Land Ethics Award jury, the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association “has been a leader in land ethics for decades. Its success is in part due to the caliber of its staff, exemplified by the work of Bob Adams. For 13 years, Bob has initiated ever larger and more comprehensive projects restoring wetlands on old ballfields, orphan dam sites and stormwater basins to help retrofit a watershed. This is what this award is all about.”
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve also recognized four Nominations of Excellence for this year’s Land Ethics Award. These outstanding nominees were Briar Bush Nature Center with ThinkGreen LLC; Dale Frazier of Greenbelt Overhaul Alliance of Levittown; Hunterdon Land Trust with Princeton Hydro; and the Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America.
The Land Ethics Award honors and recognizes individuals, organizations, government agencies, community groups and business professionals who have made significant contributions to the promotion of native plants and have exhibited a strong land ethic while promoting sustainable designs that protect the environment.
The members of the 2012 Land Ethics Award jury were Don Borden, adjunct professor of environmental design at Delaware Valley College; James Bray, Chairman of the Lower Makefield Township Environmental Council; and Leslie Sauer, land conservation advocate and author of The Once and Future Forest: A Guide to Forest Restoration Strategies.
For more information on the Land Ethics Award, Natural Lands Trust, Bob Adams, and the other award nominees, visit the Preserve’s Land Ethics Award webpage at http://www.bhwp.org/education/Land-Ethics-Award.htm, or contact Preserve Education Coordinator Amy Hoffmann at 215-862-2924.
PHOTO CAP: Land Ethics Award recipients Bob Adams of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association and Molly Morrison of the Natural Lands Trust.