With deep gratitude, the Board of Directors of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy announced on May 26, 2020 that the Van Scott family has donated a 140-acre property in Berlin Township, Beach Lake, Pennsylvania to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy to develop as an environmental learning center, Conservancy headquarters, and for use as a nature reserve.
The family has provided the following message: “The Van Scott family wishes to join others dedicated to the mission of preserving open spaces for benefit to life on our homeland Planet Earth. We hope to help in discovery of better ways to teach better care of the world so that humankind survives and enjoys life, and that the Delaware Highlands Conservancy will engage an ever enlarging number of brilliant minds so concerned with tomorrow. We appreciate so much the dedication and efforts of the visionaries now involved with the work of the Conservancy. We are pleased and gratified to provide support for the Conservancy in its current and extended mission.”
“The staff and Board of Directors are honored and humbled to receive this incredibly generous gift from the Van Scott family—the largest gift in the Conservancy’s 26-year history,” stated Conservancy Executive Director Diane Rosencrance. “We are inspired by this dedication to environmental education, conservation, and sustainability, and look forward to fully realizing their vision for this special property and welcoming the community to the Conservancy’s new home.”
This special property, the Conservancy’s first nature reserve and headquarters, will be known as the Van Scott Nature Reserve. A former dairy farm, the property incorporates diverse habitats with abundant opportunities for conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation on self-guided trails, including large open meadows, forested areas, two ponds, a tributary to Beach Lake Creek, and wetlands. A well-maintained residence will become a vibrant headquarters for Conservancy staff. Other farm structures will be adapted over time for new and enhanced programs for school children as well as informal educational programming.
“Since the Conservancy was first approached with this offer, the Board of Directors and staff have undertaken an intensive planning process and consulted with members of the community to determine how this significant gift will best serve as an environmental education center to benefit the entire region,” stated Board President Karen Lutz. As part of this planning process, the Conservancy Board of Directors voted to embark on a $2.5 million capital campaign to fully realize the value of this gift and to sustainably support the expanded operations of the organization with an endowment fund.