Heritage Conservancy Presents Awards to Local Individuals & Groups at Annual Members Garden Party

June 13th, 2014



L to R: Jacob Danko, Tammy Schane, Callie Danko

Event celebrates organization’s members and donors

Heritage Conservancy hosted its annual Members Garden Party, a member appreciation and donor recognition event, on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at historic Aldie Mansion in Doylestown, PA. Rain may have prevented guests from partaking in the “garden” part of the celebration, but imperfect weather did not stop nearly 125 people from enjoying an inspiring evening where members of our community were honored with Heritage Partnership Awards for their extraordinary commitment to conservation of our natural and historic heritage.

As guests dined on delicious hors d’oeuvres from Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods & Catering, Heritage Conservancy presented an awards ceremony that paid tribute to individuals and groups that continue to make a significant impact for conservation and the environment.

The first award was presented to the Keller Family. The Land Conservation Award was bestowed upon Jim and Dolores Keller and John and Linda Keller for the difference they’ve made in our community by preserving their properties that total over 400 acres combined. Jim and Dolores own the last remaining dairy farm in Springfield Township, and they had it preserved by the county in 2001. A few years ago, they allowed Heritage Conservancy to begin a habitat restoration project in the middle of one of their pasture areas; in order to do this, Jim and Dolores had to rearrange their pastures and grazing schedules for the cattle. They didn’t have to agree to this project, but they cared so deeply about it that they were willing to disrupt their lives. Thanks to them, the Conservancy was able to enhance and further protect critical wetlands that contain rare and endangered species of plant and wildlife. Environmental conscientiousness runs in the family. John and Linda Keller preserved two farms in 2006 that totaled over 150 acres. With the proceeds they received from the sale of the conservation easement, they purchased a 70-acre property in Richland Township. On this property, they restored the old farmhouse, cleaned it up, and made it an important part of the scenic landscape in the township for everyone to enjoy.

The next award was given to Jacob and Callie Danko. This brother-sister duo has already made a huge difference in our community, and they are just getting started! At 14 and 11 years old, their volunteerism and contributions to conservation earned them the Youth Award. As huge fans of Steve Irwin, the wildlife expert best known as the “The Crocodile Hunter,” Jacob and Callie were motivated to take action after his unfortunate death. They contacted the Australian Zoo, and the zoo encouraged them to become Junior Ambassadors for Wildlife Warriors, a wildlife habitat conservation organization. Together, they have raised over $8,000 for the organization. As Junior Ambassadors, they promote conservation by speaking in front of classmates and holding educational booths at community events. Along with this, they attend many local property cleanups throughout the year to help keep our area beautiful. For historic preservation, an important component of the Conservancy’s mission, they volunteer with the annual Boileau Festival at the last colonial farmstead in Upper Moreland Township, and they helped petition to save the stone barn circa 1802 on Illg’s property in Warrington Township by obtaining over 80 signatures. Jacob and Callie are inspirations, and they are true testaments that you can make a difference at any age.

The Doylestown Food Co-op received the award for Community Leadership/Grassroots Partnership. This group started as a small but mighty group of individuals who believed in the importance of supporting local agriculture. The Co-op began as a pickup and distribution food club in 2009 that provided residents with better access to locally produced foods. After an influx in membership, it was apparent that there was a need for a brick and mortar store. It took years of hard work and dedication to get the Doylestown Food Co-op store up and running, but they persevered, and the community is benefitting as a result. Linda Cacossa, Chief Operating Officer for Heritage Conservancy, described niche roles in our community’s ecosystem. “While Heritage Conservancy works hard to assure that there will be open space for our farmland, it doesn’t end there. It’s a partnership. If you stopped by the Doylestown Food Co-op this month, you would see beautiful strawberries from Manoff Market Gardens. The Manoffs grow their magnificent fruit on preserved land owned by Heritage Conservancy. These are partnerships that enrich our community.”

For a lifetime dedicated to preserving our beautiful open spaces, Bruce McNaught received the Lifetime Achievement in Conservation Award. In 1980, Bruce became Executive Director of Bucks County Audubon Society and Honey Hollow Watershed Association, which also operated the Honey Hollow Environmental Education Center. In 1989, he negotiated the merger of the two organizations into a single entity. Bruce also successfully helped negotiate a real estate transaction with PECO Energy to purchase 70 acres and place conservation easements on an additional 100 acres in the Honey Hollow Watershed National Historic Landmark to raise the total protected acreage to approximately 725 acres. He also coordinated the $1 million renovation of the circa 1936 R. Brognard Okie barn into an education and visitor center that attracts thousands of school children each year to genuinely experience the natural world. Bruce also had a leadership role in Heritage Conservancy’s Significant Natural Area Protection Program (SNAPP). To this day, Bruce continues to leave a legacy through his work with conservation and environmental nonprofit organizations.

“It is with great respect that we honor these individuals for their commitment to making a difference in our community through their volunteerism and contributions to conservation of our natural and historic resources,” said Jeffrey Marshall, President of Heritage Conservancy. “Thank you to all of our members and supporters of our mission. Because you care about your community, you allow our organization to preserve and protect the unique heritage of our area.”

Supporters of the event include the following Business Leaders for Heritage Conservancy: Jeffrey A. Miller Catering, The Thompson Organization, Eiseman Construction Company, Inc., Penn Color, Inc., Cross Keys Place Shopping Center, Univest Bank and Trust Company, AmeriStructure LLC, Brooks & Barber Tree Management, Curtin & Heefner LLP, Dear Garden Associates, Inc., Hill Wallack LLP, Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods & Catering, National Penn Bank, PPL Corporation, and Zaveta Custom Homes, LLC. Sponsors of the Garden Party included QNB Bank, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, and Moore Cleaning, LLC.

To view photos from the event, click HERE

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