From Eleanor Smith Morris: Friends of the Schuylkill Nature Center Newsletter

Eleanor Smith Morris is the daughter of the donor of the majority of the Nature Center’s land.

 Click here to read her side of the story, including these excerpts:

” Although I am pleased that the Board has finally adopted some measures to preserve the land, the Board are not the angels they are pretending to be. My petition had already prevented them from selling any of the 345 acres.”   

“Worrying is the 84 acres of SPA (Standard Protection Areas) and MPA (Minimum Protection Areas) eased property. Although they cannot be sold without permission from the Orphans Court, it is our understanding that the SCEE Board wish to use these acres for urban farming and other uses such as the recently proposed commercial composting facility.”

“This was not the intention of the major donor, my mother, Eleanor Houston Smith who gave most of the existing SCEE land. The majority of the land given by her sister Mrs. Meigs, commonly referred to as Manatawna Farm, was sold to the Fairmount Park Commission decades ago. Only one field given by Mrs. Meigs remains as SCEE property, and it was the only parcel that had been farmed previously. (See the 20.51 acre SPA site identified on attached map.) The majority of the 84 acres belonged to Eleanor Houston Smith who did not give the land for urban farming or other uses destroying wildlife habitat… Her desire was to protect it for wildlife.”

“This has been rightly pointed out by Christina Kobland, President of the native landscaping company, Native Return, LLC ( and founder of the organization (, who claims that all of the land not already built upon should have been put under the highest level of protection as anything else is detrimental to the wildlife on the site.”

V. Summary

“We, the Friends of the Schuylkill Nature Center, would like to see the highest protection applied to ALL the land to protect the wildlife.

We also decry any attempt at urban farming as SCEE was not founded for farming but rather for protecting the native habitat.

We also want protection for both First Order streams, Smith Run and Meigs Run, in the new zoning code for Philadelphia. ”

  Eleanor (Houston) Smith Morris FOSNAC, Co-Chairman

  Nancy Johnston, FOSNAC Board Member

About Christina Kobland

Founder,; President and Founder, Native Return, LLC
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