Rose Chase

The Goat Hill section of the Serpentine Barrens of Chester County, PA are 300-acres of rare ecosystem featuring numerous unique plants and animals. Yet in 1979, the barrens were at risk from a proposed blasting quarry. Local landowner, Rose Chase, led the charge to protect this special and valuable habitat.

Rose brought together other residents and concerned individuals in the agriculturally-rural township to form a citizens group, Concerned Citizens of West Nottingham Township, on May 22, 1979, just as the proposed developer began making offers on lands adjoining the barrens. The group’s first activity: raising more than $7,000 at a fundraising party at Rose’s home. That money was used to hire a lawyer. But Rose and the others did not rest then; they penned letters to elected officials and called or wrote to any non-profit and agency with “nature” in their name.

Through their actions and Rose’s leadership, the quarry owner retreated. Rose then reached out to The Nature Conservancy to encourage them to acquire the land and protect it in perpetuity. By the end of 1982, approximately 750 acres were on their way to being added to the state’s system of protected wild plant sanctuaries, specifically within the William Penn State Forest District. In 2011, a 1.5-mile long trail at the barrens was named in Rose’s honor.

Ever humble Rose refuses to take credit for the success of protecting the serpentine barrens, but it is clear that her energy, charm, and doggedness rallied others to action in support of conservation.