Pennsylvania acquired the 978 acre Strawbridge property in southern Chester County, with funding from Mt. Cuba Center. 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. Our president, Ann Rose, has this to say about the acquisition:
“As pressure from development, climate change, and other threats pose unprecedented risks for biodiversity, one of the most important things we can do to support flora and fauna is to conserve open space and the habitats it comprises. The Strawbridge property extends an important wildlife corridor and provides refuge for a wide array of rare and threatened species. Mt. Cuba Center celebrates this significant conservation achievement and the collaborative work of the partners who made it possible.”
Over 690 separate plant species have been identified on the Strawbridge properties—15 of which are considered endangered or rare in the state of Pennsylvania—including three varieties of orchids and a population of Trillium cernuum var. cernuum. The land’s diverse terrain provides habitat for native wildlife species including deer, rabbits, and birds. Rare species such as the regal fritillary butterfly and the short-eared owl are also known to reside here.
Strawbridge supports roughly 3.5 miles of the Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and Chesapeake Bay, which preserves critical land within the Chesapeake watershed. The land encompasses roughly 190 acres of floodplains, 600 acres of woodlands, 100 acres of native grass meadows, and 800 acres of farmland. Now under Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ownership, the Strawbridge properties will be managed within the White Clay Creek – Elk Creek Unit as part of the Pennsylvania state park system, and open for public recreation.
Read more about this land conservation effort on The Conservation Fund’s site, here.