On a personal, community and national level Phoebe Driscoll has committed her adult life to volunteer activism in protecting the land and environment. Tenacious commitment, unquestioned sincerity, boundless energy, and insightful leadership characterize her efforts as keystone board member or commission appointee. Described as “a dreamer and a doer”, no challenge is too tough for this inspirational leader.
Phoebe began what would be her lifelong passion for protecting the environment in 1954 when she went to work for the Governor’s Committee to Keep Maryland Beautiful. Her role was pivotal and when she left it was said Phoebe is Keep Maryland Beautiful.
Since then, she has dedicated her energy to volunteer efforts that protect land and the environment. For thirty-six years she has served on the board of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA). Demonstrating her spirit and vitality, Phoebe was one of the leaders on the watershed campaign in the mid 1980’s to preserve a 77-acre parcel of wetlands, forest and meadows known as Penllyn Woods. Organized much like a political campaign, this movement was successful in preserving this important tract as a publicly owned nature preserve and park.
Phoebe is a founding board member and current Chair of the Land Preservation Committee of the Montgomery County Lands Trust, which over the past 12 years has been involved in saving over 2,100 acres in a county under intense development pressure. She was named to the Montgomery County Open Space Task Force, which shaped a $100 million county bond issue. Her insights and experience gained her the Vice Chair of the county’s Open Space Board. She continues to serve on this board, which oversees the nationally recognized Green Fields/Green Towns initiative, which disseminates $150 million worth of open space grants for acquisition and planning.
While the bulk of Phoebe’s environmental activism has been focused on the local and county level, she has played an important role on the national level as well. A long time member of the Garden Club of America (GCA), she served as chairwoman for the GCA’s National Affairs and Legislation Committee. Winsome McIntosh, who preceded Phoebe as Committee Chairwoman, complimented her work. McIntosh said that during Phoebe’s tenure “Congress’ image of the GCA women was changed, from little ladies in tennis shoes to women who were well educated, intelligent, and spoke well. GCA gained a reputation in Congress for consistency, dependability, volunteers who were purely grass roots”.
In March 2000, Phoebe’s commitment to the land was expressed in a very personal way. She and her husband, Lee, donated to the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association a sixty-six acre conservation easement on their property in Lower Gwynedd Township. In making the donation Phoebe remarked, “We have loved this land and it has loved us back. We want future generations to have the same opportunity”.
Phoebe Driscoll’s hard work, lasting resolve and inspiring dedication to land conservation was acknowledged by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association as she was presented with the 2006 Lifetime Leadership Award.
The award was presented by Dulcie Flaharty, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Lands Trust, and David Froehlich, President of the Wissahickon Watershed Association.
“Phoebe is truly a pollinator for land preservation”, Flaharty explained during the award ceremony, “and we have all benefited from the fruits of her labor”.
On behalf of WeConservePA and the land trust community, we thank Phoebe for her remarkable life of service to the environment and for being an exemplary contributor to land preservation efforts in Pennsylvania.