During the winter, Radnor shows us her structural foundation. For those visitors who look out across the hills and ridges, the shape of the land is revealed, allowing us to better understand what my wife, the garden designer, would call the “bones of the garden.” Focusing on Radnor Lake State Natural Area’s “bones” helps us understand the reason we have worked so hard to preserve viewshed and watershed around its borders. These are the natural boundaries that help assure that all of us can enjoy the peace we need from the Radnor experience and that the water quality, every ecosystem’s lifeblood, is protected. The viewshed and watershed boundaries are the minimum extent of land we need to protect to give the ecosystem a chance to fulfill its natural potential. As the board president of friends of Radnor Lake, I’d like to share some of what we are doing to make sure Radnor and the Friends organization both have strong “bones” to thrive in the foreseeable future.
Recent accomplishments include:
- adding the Harris Ridge property to the park to include important view and watershed acres
- constructing three beautiful new bridges to assure safe footing and better trail maintenance access
- opening the new Valve House educational trail
- expanding the invasive plant control, which allows native wildflowers to thrive and helps endangered plant species.
Visitor security is another part of the foundation of Radnor’s success. In support of strengthening safety and the sense of comfort so many find at Radnor, we are installing new surveillance equipment this spring to be used by Radnor’s rangers. We would rather not dwell on the need for law enforcement as part of the necessary foundation of a thriving natural area, but the peace of mind that a walk at Radnor provides is only available when our visitors feel secure. The new equipment will help the rangers leverage their time within the park. Our mutual goal is to achieve higher safety with less time on “parking lot duty” and more time on the trails providing the education we all love.
Regarding the Friends of Radnor Lake organization, our most important foundation for success is a great partnership with the park staff and management team. The full-timers and seasonal employees of the state park bless us all by going above and beyond the “job” to help us in our shared mission to protect, preserve and promote Radnor. Along with nurturing the critical element of great park relations, the organization has taken three distinct steps to assure we have strong “bones” to keep our successful momentum. First, I am pleased to announce that Gretchen Pritchett is our new full-time operations manager.
The other two steps we have taken to strengthen the organization are to establish a solid financial footing and develop working committees. Our financial health depends on continued support from park visitors who contribute directly in the contribution box, through membership dues, by buying Radnor license plates and by attending fundraising events. Grants from philanthropic foundations and supportive businesses are also essential to cover expenses and to accomplish the park support and land projects we still need to get done. The direct boots-on-the-ground volunteer work that Lyndy Manness coordinates has been the focus of our past volunteer approach, but we have a growing need for volunteers to help make events and projects successful. The working committees we have formed are fundamental to getting it all done.
Engaging with other volunteers for Radnor behind the scenes to help with an event or a project is likely to expose you to the “bones” of our organization. Like the winter time view of Radnor’s hills and ridges, it may not be the prettiest, but working together is the fundamental strength that establishes our strong foundation for protecting, preserving and promoting Radnor Lake. If you’re willing to get more actively involved, please contact us at (615) 251-1471 or visit the website at