East Bradford lauded for environmental advocacy

Township receives inaugural award from Natural Lands Trust, CCATO

Growing Greener Communities Award 2014

Mandie Cantlin (from left), assistant East Bradford Township manager; Ernie Holling, president of the Chester County Association of Township Officials; Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust; and East Bradford Township Supervisor John Snook celebrate the township’s Growing Greener Communities Award.

East Bradford Township received the first annual Growing Greener Communities Award on Thursday, March 13, from Natural Lands Trust in partnership with the Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO).

East Bradford Township Supervisor John Snook accepted the award on behalf of the township at the CCATO conference, which was held in Malvern.  The award recognizes a Chester County township that has engaged in a dynamic initiative designed to save land, steward natural resources, and connect people to nature, said a news release from Natural Lands Trust.

“Chester County’s communities have been true leaders in open space preservation, smart growth, and sustainable environmental policy,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “We wanted to recognize the excellent work happening at a township level and celebrate the dedicated officials, staff, and volunteers who make it possible.”

Ernie Holling, president of CCATO, said municipalities and conservation-minded organizations submitted six nominations on behalf of five townships. The nominations highlighted initiatives undertaken in 2013, though several nominations noted that the past year’s work was part of larger open-space planning. The review committee – which consisted of representatives from Natural Lands Trust, CCATO, the Chester County Planning Commission, and the Brandywine Conservancy – was unanimous in its decision to select East Bradford Township as this year’s award winner, the release said.

“We are pleased to partner with Natural Lands Trust on this award program, and hope that it serves to encourage and promote continued forward-thinking projects and planning within the county,” said Holling.

East Bradford’s Open Space Initiative – approved by township residents 30 years ago – is designed to protect natural areas and connect them through a trail network. The township has funded its conservation work through grants, fund-raising efforts, and a dedicated tax for open space. Thanks to these efforts, township residents enjoy 6,000 acres of permanently protected land, 16 parks, and 26 miles of trails, the release said.

 To further its conservation initiatives, East Bradford Township has utilized regulatory tools, such as the adoption of Growing Greener: Conservation by Design zoning ordinances, which help to preserve land during the development process. In recent years, the township resolved to place its land under conservation easement, a legally-binding agreement that ensures the land will be protected forever. The township also decided to create and follow a stewardship plan for each of its properties in order to maximize community enjoyment of township parkland, the release said.

 “East Bradford Township’s open space initiative is simply masterful,” said David Ward of the Chester County Planning Commission. “It’s the poster child for thoughtful, proactive conservation and land-use planning.”

In 2013, East Bradford secured county funding for the conservation easement of more than 80 acres of township land, galvanized a volunteer effort to plant 750 trees, commissioned stewardship plans for three of the township’s 16 parks, constructed more than two miles of trails, and harvested about 35 deer as part of the township’s wildlife management plan, the release said.

Trail development continues to be a focus for the township. In June 2013, the township organized its second annual Trail Blazer Race with the support of three local businesses. The township will use proceeds from the event to fund trail construction and maintenance, according to the release.



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