Greenway News:

Spring 2024

Greenway Spotlight: Beaver Creek Trail

The Beaver Creek Trail is envisioned as an approximately three-mile-long community multi-use trail that will help to reduce automobile dependence for Caln Township residents, improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the existing parks and trails, better facilitate pedestrian and bicycle travel between Thorndale and Downingtown, and expand off-road recreational opportunities for the community.

Initially proposed in 2015, Caln Township has since been working closely with partners and has been awarded $77,500 through Pennsylvania DCED and DCNR (Brandywine Creek Greenway Mini Grant) for engineering, design and surveying to implement the trail. The Brandywine Conservancy supports Caln’s efforts to develop the Beaver Creek Trail as a conservation corridor and community resource. The Beaver Creek Trail represents part of the future Chester Valley Trail West, which aims to connect the current Chester Valley Trail with the Enola Low Grade Trail in Lancaster—eventually creating a bikeable route from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.

To learn more about the Beaver Creek Trail, click here.

Throughout the year we will be supporting partnerships in this space. 

If you have projects, meetings, events, or surveys that you’d like us to spotlight in future newsletters, please email ideas for submission to

BCG Strategic Action Plan: Implementation Toolkit

As we update the Brandywine Creek Greenway’s guiding document for the next ten years of implementation, we are reconnecting with our 29 municipal partners. Throughout this updating process, we urge you to access the BCG Strategic Action Plan and download the Implementation Toolkit (PA Strategic Action Plan - Part 3). This toolkit is intended to be used by municipalities and other greenway advocates to explore potentially new approaches to natural and cultural resource conservation. We will be highlighting some of these regulatory and non-regulatory tools to offer more insight into how they can help you reach your goals.

Highlighted Tool: The Official Map 

Found on page 21 of Implementation Toolkit (PA Strategic Action Plan - Part 3).

How it can benefit your work in the Greenway

1. Recreation: The Official Map can be used to prioritize land for acquisition and use as public parks and trails. 

2. Conservation: It can also be used to identify land as a conservation priority. 

3. Water quality: If that land includes riparian areas, conserving it can protect and improve water quality. 

4. Transportation: The Official Map can be used to identify multi-use trail corridors, as well as to improve the street network.

We urge you to take a look through the downloadable link on the website to see how this resource could be helpful for you!

Brandywine Flood Study

The Brandywine Flood Study is actively working with key partners to gather public input on local flooding issues along the Brandywine to formulate implementable structural and non-structural solutions.

We thank all who attended the first three public meetings for the Brandywine Flood Study. The feedback we received during the Q&A sessions and at our public input stations was valuable and appreciated! Please look for additional public meetings by checking for announcements on the website or by signing up for email notifications.

Consider taking the public input survey and engaging with our interactive flood study map. In this map, you can submit photos of flood events or areas of concern. You do not need to live in the Brandywine watershed to provide input on how flooding impacts places you may also work, play, travel through, rely on for services, or support being made more resilient against future flooding.

We encourage you to share information about the Brandywine Flood Study and the public input opportunities with your neighbors, friends and community connections! Click here to access our Flood Study Communications Toolkit for shareable resources about the flood study and public input tools, including printable flyers, digital graphics, promotional copy, and more.

Any questions can be forwarded to and will garner a quick response.

Greenway Heritage Highlight: Downingtown's Hidden Food Forest

Mr. John W. Hershey left a legacy that is all but unknown to many, barring a few locals and impassioned native plant enthusiasts from across the nation. Once dubbed “America’s No. 1 Tree Crop Farm,” John Hershey’s Nut Tree Nursery in Downingtown, PA was established in 1921 on 8 acres, eventually expanding to 75 acres in 1945, with his crew dedicated to the grafting of nut and fruit-bearing trees.

Many of these North American species held strong cultural and nutritional importance for our forebears, yet seldom grace our modern dinner tables today. Practitioners of regenerative agriculture seek to rejuvenate these efforts to develop multistory, mixed species food forests, including both berry-bearing bushes and nut- or fruit-bearing trees.

Species that are still present in Downingtown from Hershey’s Food Forest include hybrid poplars, redbud, silver bell, blueberries, mulberries, highbush cranberry viburnum, coral berry, mountain ash, Washington hawthorn, blackberries, sugar maple, Pecan, Hickory, Hican, crabapple, beech, walnut, chestnut, honey locust, oak and persimmon, providing food sources for wildlife, livestock and people.

The original eight-acre parcel is now the location of the Downingtown United Methodist Church, the Downingtown Academy Learning Center, and various apartment complexes. Some of the original trees have been preserved and property owners have been gracious hosts to those interested in viewing them. The Downingtown Friends Meeting House hosts Hershey’s original homestead in the area.

To learn more about the ecological and cultural benefits, as well as the history of John Hershey's Nut Tree Nursery, check out Max Paschall’s 2018 article, “Exploring North America's Oldest Food Forest," Sandy Hingston’s 2018 Philadelphia Magazine article "The (Very Gentle) Fight to Save a Downingtown 'Food Forest'" featuring local steward Dale Hendricks, or by visiting local native plant advocate group Restore Our Roots’ website, Hershey Trees.

BCG Mini-Grant Program

After successfully awarding funds in Round 4 for park enhancements, ecological restoration and recreation opportunities, we are excited to continue the Brandywine Creek Greenway’s Mini Grant Program this spring. This funding, provided through PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, grants awards from $2,000 to $25,000 for projects that support and advance the goals and objectives of the BCG’s Strategic Action Plan (2014)


Information on the Brandywine Creek Greenway’s (BCG) Mini-Grant Program and previously funded projects can be found on the Mini-Grant Program website. Eligible applicants include Pennsylvania non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties and some educational institutions.

Brandywine Museum of Art's Free First Sunday

During the Brandywine Museum of Art's Free First Sunday in February, Campbell Thomas and Co.—hired consultants for the Brandywine Trail Feasibility Study (Milestone 2)—sought public input on the proposed trail from the Conservancy's campus to Brinton's Bridge Road in Birmingham Township. Robust attendance at the First Sunday event resulted in many conversations about the proposed trail and the broader Circuit Trail network. Further opportunities for public engagement will come later this spring with a hosted walk along the proposed trail corridor. Be on the lookout for future announcements!

Open Funding Opportunities

Pedestrian and Bicycle Funding Opportunities: U.S. Department of Transportation Highway, Transit, and Safety Funds

For a comprehensive table on eligible pedestrian and bicycle activities and projects under U.S. Department of Transportation surface transportation funding programs, click here.

Rails to Trails Federal Funding Tool

With many federal program application deadlines having closed at the end of February, we urge you to learn more about future opportunities by signing up for alerts and using the excellent Rails to Trails Federal Funding Tool.

Inflation Reduction Act Community Change Grants Program

Rolling application, to close November 21, 2024

Learn more about the IRA Community Change Grants Program

Technical Assistance: Community Change Grants Program

There are two TA programs for the Community Change Grants:

  • Community Change Technical Assistance (CCTA)
  • Community Change Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance (CCER TA)

Learn more about TA for the Community Change Grants

DVRPC Transportation and Community Development Funding 

Open through March 27, 2024

More information and program guidelines can be found here.

Chester County 2024 Vision Partnership Program- Cash Grant

  • Round 1 now open, closes March 22, 2024
  • Round 2 opens August 5, 2024, closes September 30, 2024

More information and program guidelines can be found here.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Opens April 16, two year cycle

Learn more here or contact Trish Hennessey at Chester County at 

DCNR: Community Conservation Partnership Program

Open through April 3, 2024

More information and program guidelines can be found here.

DCED Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program

Open through May 31, 2024

Learn more here.

American Trails: The Trails Capacity Program

Closed January 15th, but will reopen November or December 2024

More information and program guidelines can be found here.

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On our website, you can find a library of social media videos focused on the benefits of clean water, healthy communities, local economies, and the quality of life that the Greenway supports in the region. Feel free to use these resources for promoting the Greenway, in addition to your own needs and enjoyment! You can utilize the Social Media Video Toolkits to better leverage visibility and access the full library.

View the Brandywine Creek Greenway Videos


Header Image: Photo by Eric Loken