Delaware Highlands Conservancy Founder (and force of nature) Barbara Yeaman received a Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association for decades of conservation leadership and dedication to conserving the lands and waters of the Upper Delaware River region.
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) presents the Lifetime Conservation Leadership award at its annual conference each year to reward an individual who has distinguished him or herself through a lifetime of effective conservation action and leadership. In 1995, Barbara Yeaman, now 87, (pictured above with daughter Suzanne and son Bill) founded the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, a land trust that works in partnership with landowners and communities to protect the lands, waters, and quality of life of the Upper Delaware River region. At that time, Yeaman understood the growing challenges of development to the region’s clean water, and she knew the best way to protect the water was to protect the land.
Yeaman formed the Delaware Highlands Conservancy as an organization that could work with landowners to protect their lands in ways that worked well for them. Leading by example, she put the newly formed conservancy’s mission into practice by placing a conservation easement on her own 12 acres in Milanville, PA. In 2013, the Conservancy has protected over 13,000 acres throughout Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania and Sullivan and Delaware counties in New York and has become a widely respected conservation organization across the region.
Barbara remains active in the work of the Conservancy, currently serving on the Board of Directors as the Vice President and on the Outreach and Development Committee.
Yeaman maintains a commitment to conservation that would exhaust someone half her age. This work includes educating new generations on the importance of conservation. The Conservancy maintains the Butterfly Barn, a nature center where programs educate children and adults about how to care for the land and waters of the Delaware Highlands. An avid puppeteer, Barbara hosts interactive children’s programs that teach about the region’s flora and fauna. The Conservancy also hosts a whole series of educational programs for communities, landowners and young people and awards two annual college scholarships to local high school students interested in environmental studies.
One of the most satisfying rewards is the sense of awe and gratitude that comes from seeing the natural beauty and unspoiled views that still exist along the Upper Delaware River, but there is still much work that needs to be done to protect the lands and waters of our beautiful region.
– Barbara Yeaman
The Conservancy, with the leadership of Barbara Yeaman and the rest of the Board of Directors, heads into 2012 with tremendous momentum. In the first few months of this year, the Conservancy merged with the tremendously successful Eagle Institute to form a perfect conservation partnership, cut the ribbon on their New York office, and received grant funding from the national Land Trust Alliance for land protection and outreach and development.
“We are blessed to have Barbara’s inspiration,” affirms Executive Director, Sue Currier, “she is a model for the whole organization; the Board and staff along with our members and volunteers are dedicated to continuing to achieve the conservation success that Barbara began with her own land and her vision seventeen years ago.”
In a written summary, PALTA states that the Conservancy’s, “accomplishments under Barbara’s inspiring leadership are significant —a group of volunteers led by an inspiring woman creating a regional land trust from nothing, working to protect thousands of acres, hosting educational programs, assisting in regional planning and increasing awareness about conservation that will protect quality of life throughout the region.”