More than forty years ago, community members put pencil to paper to say yes to a future for their beloved South Mountain.
While perhaps unfamiliar with its exact ecological importance, they solidly knew it mattered and were inspired to protect it – forever.
With the committed support of Robert “Bob” Rodale, a local champion of organic farming and then chairman and chief of Rodale Press, these neighbors formed the Lehigh Valley Conservancy, a land-protection focused organization based in Bethlehem, Pa.
In 1975, Air Products founder Leonard Parker Pool, an earnest caretaker of the local natural environment and skeet-shooting friend to Rodale, bequeathed his 72-acre wildlife sanctuary to the Conservancy to preserve it “in its natural state for its open space, aesthetic and wildlife values and the enjoyment of those values by the public.” The Conservancy soon moved its main office and education headquarters to today’s location, known as the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary property in Emmaus, Pa.
In the late 1980s, the organization further developed its education offerings, emphasizing more than ever the need to engage and nurture future environmental stewards. To better reflect the broadened scope of its mission, the name was formally changed to Wildlands Conservancy.