Sadsbury Woods Preserve. Photo by Michelle Regits.

Acres Added to Sadsbury Preserve

Natural Lands announced recently that it has added three acres of land to its Sadsbury Woods Preserve in Sadsbury Township, Chester County. Many of Natural Lands 43 properties have grown to their present sizes through small additions like this one over many years. The property, once an in-holding on the western boundary of the nature preserve, will be reforested to provide additional habitat for wildlife, particularly migratory songbirds.

Sadsbury Woods Preserve began in 1996 when Natural Lands purchased 177 acres of forested land along the Route 30 corridor, situated squarely in the path of expanding development around Exton. An additional 20+ parcels acquired in succeeding years expanded the preserve to its present size of 511 acres. Like all of Natural Lands’ properties, it is open to the public free of charge, year-round.

The forested land of Sadsbury Woods provides critical habitat for songbirds like Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and several species of warblers that spend winters in warmer climes but use large, connected forests in our region as their breeding grounds. Many of these migrant species have declined because the woods they rely on are disappearing or being subdivided. Forests that are fragmented into smaller plots by roads and developments favor predators that thrive along the edge of the woods, such as raccoons, snakes, Blue Jays, domestic cats, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Located at the headwaters of Buck Run, a major tributary to Brandywine Creek, the preserve also helps to keep the stream clean and clear.

“Just before we purchased this three-acre property, the owners cleared it of all trees and shrubs in to build a house there,” said Sadsbury Woods Preserve Manager Erin Smith. “We will work to reforest the land so that it can provide better ecological services like storing carbon to help cool the climate, absorb rainwater to ease flooding, clean and filter drinking water, and give wildlife food and shelter.”

Sadsbury Woods Preserve. Photo by Michelle Regits.

Since its beginning, Chester County Government has partnered with Natural Lands to create and subsequently expand Sadsbury Woods Preserve, including support for its trail network and the addition of a parking lot. Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline said, “The preservation of any amount of land is meaningful, but what makes this three-acre parcel especially significant is that it becomes part of the larger Sadsbury Woods Preserve, and it encourages ecological benefits that come from replenishing the interior forest, including a critical habitat that attracts many species of birds.”

Crebilly Farm Conservation Easements Finalized

Natural Lands announced today the finalization of four conservation easements on 102 acres at Crebilly Farm in Chester County. These easements—permanent, legal restrictions on development—are one element of a two-part plan to preserve the entirety of the iconic farm, which is one of the largest remaining parcels in Westtown Township and Chester County.

The second piece of the two-part plan is Westtown Township’s purchase of an additional 206 acres of the property for use as a publicly accessible, passive-use park. During November’s election, residents voted overwhelmingly—two votes to one—in favor of the creation of an Open Space Tax, the funds from which will pay for acquisition and maintenance of the township park.

“Following last November’s stunningly successful open space referendum win—which would have not been possible without the extraordinary commitment of the 150 Vote Yes To Save Crebilly volunteers whose efforts were recently recognized with the 2023 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence—the completion of the easement process is the exciting consequential next phase en route to preserving this iconic Township centerpiece for generations to come,” commented Dick Pomerantz, vice chairperson of the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors.

“It took more than a village to get us to this place. A team of individuals worked positively, creatively, and cooperatively to save Crebilly Farm,” said David Robinson, one of the owners of Crebilly Farm. “The family has many to thank, including 150 volunteers who worked toward the ballot referendum, the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors and manager Jon Altshul, and our advisors who provided expertise. Most importantly, we thank Natural Lands.”

Added David, “It truly is an amazing endeavor of which everyone can be very proud. Five generations of Robinsons have lived at the farm and have fond memories made over the past 86 years. Now others will be able to create memories at Crebilly thanks to its permanent protection.”

Chester County Commissioners Moskowitz, Maxwell, and Kichline said, “Every step in the process of preserving Crebilly Farm brings us closer to the time when everyone who lives in Chester County or visits Chester County can enjoy the beauty of this historic pastoral space. Every element of the plan to keep Crebilly as it should be, has been well thought-out, and we thank Natural Lands, Westtown Township, and the Robinson family for working together to make it happen.”

“The development of Crebilly Farm has been looming for many years. Everyone who has worked so hard to preserve this iconic property will sleep easier tonight knowing the conservation easements are in place,” said Jack Stefferud, senior director of land protection for Natural Lands. “The preservation of Crebilly Farm has been a long, complicated process. We just took a major step toward the finish line.”