Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
BVA, RCVA announce merger
Combined organization will continue efforts to protect resources in region
Both conservation organizations work out of the Myrick Center in Pocopson Township with the same staffing.
KENNETT » The Brandywine Valley Association and Red Clay Valley Association members formally voted to merge the two organizations during the BVA annual meeting at the Mendenhall Inn on Oct. 22.
Agreement had already been reached between the two boards, but the final action came when the members met and cast their votes just prior to dinner.
The BVA was founded in 1945 to protect the water in the Brandywine Valley. It now reaches 12,000 students yearly with programs to promote stream quality and restoration.
The RCVA was founded in 1952 to improve and protect the water in the Red Clay Valley. Like the BVA, it offers programs for all ages and conducts environmental studies and projects. to promote the restoration, preservation, conservation and enjoyment of our region’s natural resources.
Both organizations work out of the Myrick Center in Pocopson Township with the same staffing.
Watershed Conservation Director Bob Struble said the merger does not represent a significant difference involving programs or staff, but it means there will be one budget and only one annual banquet.
The decision to merge was announced in a joint statement from RCVA Board President Lisa Brubaker and her BVA counterpart Jim Nolan after dinner.
“We are inspired and energized about joining these two strong, dynamic organizations and believe our members and the greater community will benefit from our combined forces. The boards of both organizations have recognized a need to increase efficiency and use donor dollars effec- tively to meet the growing needs of Chester County in Pennsylvania and Northern New Castle County in Delaware. The new organization will continue to pioneer innovative programs to improve our regions’ water quality and foster environmental stewardship through education programs for all ages to protect our precious natural resources,” Nolan said in a prepared statement.
Nolan pointed with pride at the recent achievements of the organization, having reached 7,850 students this past year in the outdoor education program and having raised $14,000 in the annual Polar Plunge. Last April’s Point-to-Point race netted $50,000, he said.
Struble gave a report on conservation efforts over the past year.
He hearkened back to 1945 when the Brandywine was “to thick to drink and too thin to plow.”
Through the years the BVA strived to improve the treatement practices of paper companies and steel mills along the way. In 1970, the organization started to promote land application of sewage treatment.
The organization is also involved in stream bank restoration, the planting of riparian buffers and working with farmers to decrease nitrate runoff and cows walking in the water.
“The Brandywine in getting better,” Struble said.
Education Coordinator Sarah Fisher reviewed the year’s activities that included a reading program, Earth Day celebration and Indoor-Outdoor school.
The speaker for the evening was Collin McNeil, master of the Radnor Hunt.
He said the Philadelphia area has the most hunt club of any region in America, and much of the history goes back to the early Quakers who rode out to the country on trains to hunt foxes on Friday after- noons.
He said fox hunting needs country and open land areas, and that is how it relates to land conservation.
“We are an area where more people are born and die than anyplace else. We are also a preserver of open space,” he said.
The Instructor of the Year Award was given to Mary Frank.
The Teacher of the Year was Dottie Atwater.
The Volunteer of the Year was Bruce West.