Ephraim Malickson once owned nearly 200 acres in the Schuylkill Highlands region of Berks County. The land is in an area rich in both cultural and natural heritage valued by local residents and environmental organizations alike, and the Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary is no exception. But perhaps no one valued this property more than Mr. Malickson himself. To Mr. Malickson, the land was called “Tekene 2”, the indigenous Lenape word meaning woods or uninhabited place, embodying Mr. Malickson’s vision for the land as a sanctuary: “a place for the birds and deer to go and be safe.” Mr. Malickson worked closely with Berks Nature and estate planning professionals to ensure this special place would never cede to development, even when he was no longer around to steward the land himself. In 2011, following Mr. Malickson’s passing, a conservation easement was placed on the property, permanently restricting the future use of the land, thereby protecting the natural resources thriving there.

At that time, Berks Nature became the stewards of “The Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary (Tekene 2)”. Eleven years later, in 2022, Berks Nature took full ownership of the Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary and has since been making preparations to re-open the preserve for public use. Berks Nature celebrated this transition of ownership and officially re-opened the Ephraim Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary as a public nature preserve for all to enjoy on Friday, March 10th, 2023 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Attendees were invited to explore the Sanctuary on a guided trail walk with Trails and Preserve Specialist, Jeremy Haymaker.

Said Berks Nature President Kim Murphy:

“Mr. Malickson was committed to protecting nature, for wildlife and for his beloved dogs.  He had a reputation for fighting developers, in and out of Berks County, all for his love of open space.

Berks Nature first met Mr. Malickson over 15 years ago to discuss his wishes for this property.  He was an eclectic man that had a vision for this special place.  At age 88 he passed away in 2011 doing what he loved to do: walking the property.

He had a good estate planning team and attorney in place, and already had plans to protect this property with a conservation easement upon his death.  A conservation easement permanently restricts the future use of the land, and thereby protects the resources surrounding us today.  At that time, Berks Nature became stewards of the conservation easement.  More recently, we have gained outright ownership of all of the land so that we can honor Mr. Malickson’s wishes of managing the property for wildlife….forever.

This wildlife sanctuary is home to the headwater streams and springs of the Indian Corn Creek that is an important tributary to the Schuylkill River.  The forest that surrounds us today protects this creek and its watershed.  Thanks to Mr. Malickson’s vision and trust in Berks Nature, the forest will be protecting the water, and much more, in perpetuity.

I think it is safe to say that Mr. Malickson’s dream came true.  This Sanctuary is a place for all wildlife the birds and deer to go and be safe.  We appreciate his action to protect what he loved, and we appreciate you being here with us today to celebrate the Malickson Wildlife Sanctuary.”