With the engaged and passionate support of the community, ClearWater Conservancy (CWC) has raised 100% of its $2.75 million fundraising goal for the Slab Cabin Run Initiative. The fundraising effort began in October 2016 and now has been achieved due to generous contributions from a variety of public and private donors — individuals, municipalities, school children, local businesses, and social organizations.
“It’s amazing what our small community has done!” said Deb Nardone, CWC executive director. “We set out on this journey with the belief that we could achieve this ambitious goal when people are given the opportunity to conserve the places we love most. And together, we did it!”
“This community had the foresight to proactively conserve an important gem in the heart of this growing region, protecting our drinking water while stepping up for a wild trout stream and this gorgeous landscape we enjoy every day,” said Andy Warner, CWC board president.
The iconic farmland, owned by the Everhart and Meyer families for well over a century, sits just across a busy street from the State College Friends School along University Drive. The land lies in a critically important part of the Spring Creek Watershed, immediately adjacent to region’s most reliable drinking water source, the Harter-Thomas wells, which supply the majority of the drinking water to State College-area residents.
The fundraising effort was collaboration between many groups and individuals. Starting with the generosity of the Hamer Foundation, funding then followed from the State College Borough Water Authority and five local municipalities: College, Ferguson, Harris, and Patton townships, along with State College Borough.
“From the very beginning, our goal was to aim for balanced public and private support,” said Carolyn Hatley, a CWC volunteer. “We knew we would need municipal decision makers and the water authority to lead the campaign to proactively protect and invest in healthy drinking water and clean streams. Then community members and local businesses would follow suit. Thanks to everyone who took the time to understand the project and make an investment in our future, we were able to accomplish this remarkable goal.”
Through an amazing response from the community, private donations make up the remaining 30% needed to fulfill the fundraising goal. There has been an overwhelming number of creative displays of community support for the initiative over the past year, including: support from Otto’s Pub and Brewery, which increased awareness for the project through sales of its Slab Cabin IP; a multi-family yard sale that raised $2,500 in one day in Everhart Village; students at the State College Friends’ School whose “cow cans” collected donations at area businesses; Jennifer Shuey, Jennifer Kane, Sarah Pollock and Alice Kelsey donating artwork; 7 year-old Georgia Wright emptying her piggybank for the cause; and many more.
Additional conservation heroes helped boost the community’s strong support and made it possible for CWC to reach its goal in just under eleven months, including Charles “Skip” Smith, Barbara Palmer, Blake and Linda Gall, and David Kurtz. Foxdale Village and its residents also made a significant impact on the fundraising effort.
“We are humbled and joyful to see such diversified support for local conservation,” added Nardone. “Protecting our drinking water at its source is vital to a healthy, vibrant community. This project proves that we can approach this great responsibility in a cooperative way that benefits everyone. We are so appreciative.”
Settlement on the conservation easements has been scheduled for next week. Once the agreement is finalized, CWC will hold perpetual conservation easements on both farms and Meyer Dairy will take ownership of the Everhart property.
To celebrate this significant achievement, CWC invites the public to attend the Slab Cabin Celebration and Annual Meeting on October 7 from 5:30-9 pm at the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship in State College. The event will feature live music by Eric Ian Farmer and other local musicians, children’s activities, local food, and drinks. The event is free, but registration is requested at www.clearwaterconservancy.org.
For more information about the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, visit www. slabcabinrun.org.