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Slab Cabin Run Initiative Reaches Goal, 300 Acres to Be Conserved

by on September 20, 2017 11:18 AM

Three hundred acres of iconic agricultural land in College and Harris townships will be permanently conserved as ClearWater Conservancy's Slab Cabin Run Initiative has reached its $2.75 million goal.

The largest project in ClearWater Conservancy's 37-year history, fundraising efforts began in October 2016 to conserve farmland that produces dairy goods for Meyer Dairy as well as the Everhart Farm. The 300 acres, located off University Drive across from State College Friends School and immediately outside the State College regional growth boundary, are situated in the Source Water Protection Area for the Harter-Thomas wells, which supply much of the Centre Region's drinking water and are located immediately downhill from the Meyer and Everhart properties. 

The effort aims to protect source water, restore Slab Cabin Run and preserve the Meyer and Everhart lands.

“It’s amazing what our small community has done," said Deb Nardone, ClearWater executive director. "We set out on this journey with the belief that we could achieve this ambitious goal when people are given the opportunity to conserve the places we love most. And together, we did it.”

The farmlands have been owned for more than a century by the Meyer and Everhart families.

Final agreements and settlements for conservation easements are scheduled for next week. Meyer Dairy Partnership will own both properties, while ClearWater will hold perpetual conservation easements on both, ensuring their protection of the land and stream corridor into the future, no matter who owns the land.

Slab Cabin Run, which starts at Tussey Mountain and feeds into Spring Creek, flows through the farms. The stream has been degraded by the growth of land development and accompanying impervious ground cover like parking lots, sidewalks and roads.

“This community had the foresight to proactively conserve an important gem in the heart of this growing region, protecting our drinking water, while stepping up for a wild trout stream and this gorgeous landscape we enjoy every day,” said Andy Warner, conservancy board president.

The project received support from the Hamer Foundation and over the past year received funding commitments from the State College Borough Water Authority, College, Ferguson, Harris, and Patton townships and State College Borough.

Private donations made up 30 percent of the fundraising, and they came in a variety of ways. Otto’s Pub and Brewery used sales of its Slab Cabin Run IPA to raise awareness for the project. A multi-family yard sale in Everhart Village raised $2,500 in one day. Friends School students used "cow cans" to collect donations at local businesses. Artists Jennifer Shuey, Jennifer Kane, Sarah Pollock and Alice Kelsey donated original work to be sold as a benefit. And there were many individual donations, like 7-year-old Georgia Wright, who emptied her piggy bank for the cause.

Charles “Skip” Smith,  Barbara Palmer,  Blake and Linda Gall and David Kurtz were among the "Conservation Heroes" who helped reach the fundraising goal, and Foxdale Village residents dedicated efforts to the fundraising.

“From the very beginning, our goal was to aim for balanced public and private support," said ClearWater volunteer Carolyn Hatley. "We knew we would need municipal decision makers and the water authority to lead the campaign to proactively protect and invest in healthy drinking water and clean streams.  Then community members and local businesses would follow suit.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to understand the project and make an investment in our future we were able to accomplish this remarkable goal.”

The public is invited to the Slab Cabin Celebration & Annual Meeting from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship in State College. The event will include live music by Eric Ian Farmer and others local musicians, children’s activities, local food, and drinks. The event is free, but registration is requested at www.clearwaterconservancy.org.

For more on the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, visit www.slabcabinrun.org 



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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