Open Space Preservation
Mt. Cuba Center is committed to protecting natural lands throughout the region. We focus on large parcels because we understand that conserving this unique landscape that has sustained and inspired generations is essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. From the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley to the sensitive estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, we are conservators of the landscape. To date, Mt. Cuba has protected over 13,000 acres of land in the mid-Atlantic region, including the lands that became Delaware’s First State National Historical Park. Listed here are landmark achievements for Mt. Cuba Center and our partners.
Pennsylvania acquired the 978 acre Strawbridge property in southern Chester County with funding from Mt. Cuba Center, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Chester County Commissioners. This completes over 8,000 acres of contiguous protected habitat in the region. Contiguous habitat–aka properties that touch each other–is essential to conservation because it creates safe passage for animals that live there.Learn More
The Kennett Greenway is a passive recreation area with 10+ miles of trails and open space that connects the Kennett Square community. In the fall of 2018, Mt. Cuba Center provided significant funding for the purchase of the 123-acre Spar Hill Farm and and Muller properties, and which will be held in perpetuity as open space for the community to enjoy, adding another crucial link to the greenway’s progress.Learn More
In September of 2018, Mt. Cuba Center was among several organizations which partnered with Natural Lands to purchase and protect the 88-acre Osborne Hill Farm located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. This property is the site of the Revolutionary War’s longest and largest battle, the Battle of the Brandywine, and features a stone farmhouse built in 1809.Learn More
In 2018, Mt. Cuba Center partnered with a collection of individual donors, community organizations and private foundations to protect Passmore Farm, a 635-acre site in one of the most rapidly developing areas of the state, New Castle County. This property features productive farmland and saltmarsh habitat, upland forest, and freshwater springs and is adjacent to the Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm property, which became a conservation success story in 2015. These land conservation efforts have created more than 10,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat that shelters rare and vulnerable birds and insects like the Sandhill Crane, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Rare Skipper and Four-Spotted Pennant.
A high-profile fight to save this 270-acre parcel from private development ended in success in 2017 when The Conservation Fund, in partnership with Mt. Cuba Center and the Brandywine Conservancy, purchased the historic Beaver Valley property and development rights to conserve it in perpetuity. While relatively small, this property is adjacent to the First State National Historical Park, Delaware’s only national parks site, and plans are in the works to transfer ownership of the property to the National Parks Service. Read more about the property and plans for its future here.Read the Press Release
In 2016, Mt. Cuba Center joined a unique collaboration between The Chesapeake Conservancy, the U.S. Navy, and the State of Delaware to conserve Sussex County’s Nanticoke Wildlife Area, a 48-acre corridor of pristine woodlands along a tributary of the Nanticoke River. This parcel is just the beginning; the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Nanticoke River Conservation Corridor is a landscape-scale preservation initiative that aims to create an 8,500-acre corridor of protected lands that will ultimately sustain the region’s high level of biodiversity. The initiative has become a premier example of large landscape conservation and collaboration on the east coast. In 2016, Mt. Cuba Center Board President, Ann Rose, accepted the Chesapeake Conservancy Philanthropic Champion award on behalf of Mt. Cuba Center.Learn More
In 2015 we provided a grant to The Conservation Fund and Delaware Wild Lands to permanently protect and manage more than 10,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat. Known as the Roberts Farm, the site was one of the largest unprotected tracts remaining in the coastal zone, featuring freshwater tidal wetlands and remnants of forested coastal plain ponds. Delaware Wild Lands will develop a long-term management plan for the property that will include farming, hunting, trapping, wildlife tours, and bird walks. School and university groups will visit the property for research and educational opportunities.Learn More
On March 25, 2013, President Obama designated the First State National Monument in Delaware, which previously was the only state in the country without a national park site. Formerly the Woodlawn property, this 1,100-acre site in the Brandywine Valley—880 acres of which are in Delaware—became a national park, wildlife preserve, and recreation destination accessible to the more than five million people who live within 25 miles of it. Mt. Cuba Center provided generous funding to The Conservation Fund to acquire the property, which was bolstered by strong community support.Learn More
As of March 25, 2021, North American Land Trust (NALT) has acquired a historic Brandywine Battlefield property — located on Oakland Road in Delaware County — with the intent to protect the land forever under conservation easement before ultimately opening its 72 acres to the public as Brinton Run Preserve. Originally considered for development, the property’s diverse array of plant and wildlife species and its historic significance will be forever preserved, and NALT plans to create opportunities for passive public recreation and education for the community.Learn More