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Friday, February 20, 2015

Envisioning TLC's Newest Nature Preserve

Looking out over the Chandler Mill Bridge to the future preserve
Although we love to get outside in all weather, this frosty winter day has TLC looking ahead to the warmer seasons and the changes they will bring. The biggest of these changes will be turning the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve from vision to reality.

After ten years of advocacy and perseverance by TLC, the Chandler Mill Bridge Consortium, and the community, and thanks to a visionary decision by the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors, the 105-year-old Chandler Mill Bridge is finally safe from demolition. The National Register site will become a pedestrian, bicycle, and emergency vehicle access only bridge, a key link in the Red Clay Greenway Trail System. The surrounding area will become the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, open to the public and preserved in perpetuity. TLC will have a presence at the preserve, both in our daily stewardship of the land, and in the new Headquarters and Interpretive Nature Center. In a few months, the area will be buzzing with life in its woodlands, meadows, and creeks. Eastern bluebirds will begin to nest, wood thrushes will practice their singing, wildflowers will emerge, and TLC will begin the work of making the site safe and accessible, building trails, adding improvements such as bird boxes and signage, and making the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve the best it can be. 

Concept sketch of the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve
We envision people of all ages and experience levels hiking and biking the trails, meandering through the meadows and woodlands, pausing to view the Bucktoe Cemetery and historic mill race, and watching hawks ascending over the trees. The preserve will be a place to teach your children and grandchildren to skip stones, to unwind before the sun goes down after a stressful day at work, and to walk your dogs in the morning. It will serve as an outdoor classroom, with environmental education programs and guided hikes hosted by TLC year-round, as well as the self-guided learning that happens any time you explore the outdoors. This public nature preserve will benefit the community for generations to come, and its land and natural resources will be preserved in perpetuity. TLC's goal is to open the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve, Headquarters, and Interpretive Nature Center to the public within one year.

When the Chandler Mill Bridge was built in 1910, it provided a vital transit link for area farmers to bring their goods to Kennett Square's market center. Over time, our area and its needs have changed. Though we no longer rely on Chandler Mill Road to bring goods from farms to market, our community needs open space, places to enjoy nature, and the ensured protection of our vital natural resources, which cannot be replaced. Now, rather than being demolished and replaced with an oversized highway bridge, the Chandler Mill Bridge will remain standing as a beacon for land conservation, historic preservation, and walkable communities.

We can't wait to see you there!

DONATE NOW to support this project--a donation of any size will bring us closer to the Chandler Mill Nature Preserve's opening day.

A community asset worth celebrating

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