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Message from the President/CEO

Posted Jun 01, 2017

The mission of the Asbury Woods Partnership is to preserve this vital green space and provide all members of the community with meaningful educational and recreational experiences that inspire a greater sense of environmental awareness, stewardship, and sustainability. Encompassing 205 acres of forests, watersheds, fields, wetlands, pathways, and historic buildings, Asbury Woods has been a jewel in the crown of Erie for more than 50 years. With an estimated 130,000 annual visitors participating in outdoor recreational opportunities,classes, programs, events and simply enjoying unspoiled surroundings, Asbury Woods is an oasis in Millcreek Township, one of the Erie region’s fastest-growing residential areas. This past year alone, 475 community programs and events were attended by more than 12,000 participants, and 9,445 students took part in our award-winning E-STEM curriculum. Last year also marked a milestone as we purchased the Nature Center, Brown’s Farm Barn and adjacent lands from the Millcreek Township School District and immediately placed deed restrictions on these parcels preventing future development. As the guardians of the “Woods” we are proud to say that it is now preserved forever!

We knew early on that purchasing the property was a priority, but we also understood that with ownership comes the added responsibility of maintaining it. To this end, we launched our Preserving a Legacy Capital Campaign. The campaign, which has been officially endorsed by the Erie Community Fund Drives Committee, has a goal of raising $4.5 million. The capital campaign will ensure the success of the land acquisition and maintain the property now and into the future. Since the majority of the funds used to purchase the property came from government grants, the goal of the local community campaign is to establish a $1.5 million endowment. This will absorb maintenance and program costs, and provide $1.4 million for capital improvements, including a major renovation of the boardwalk and the creation of a significant marketing campaign. This effort will start with new signage, both at our entrance and corners of our property, planned to be installed this summer. The new signage will help visitors appreciate the full extent of our property and encourage use of our 4.5 miles of trails that are free and open to the public.

The campaign benefits from the leadership of two long-time community leaders and supporters. Nancy Kern is serving as Honorary Campaign Chair, continuing her years of volunteer service, including tenure as a Board member. Mark Shaw is serving as the Campaign Chair, and has already proved invaluable to Asbury Woods as former Chair of the Board of Directors. Mark is an experienced attorney who is a Partner at MacDonald Illig Attorneys where he is the Chairman of the firm’s environmental group. We are very fortunate to have both Nancy and Mark volunteering their time to help lead this effort.

To date we have raised just over $3.5 million and now we are turning to our neighbors, patrons, supporters and the local community to help raise the final amount needed to reach our goal. In the coming months you may receive a phone call or mailing from us asking for your support as we would like to ensure everyone in the community has an opportunity to participate in the campaign. I want to thank everyone who has supported us in the past and I hope we can count on your participation in the campaign to ensure the future of Asbury Woods and preserve our legacy.

From the Woods,

Larry Berrin