Night Out With Meaning: Protecting the Land & Environment

Night Out With Meaning

November 10, 2011 | Protecting the Land & Environment

Storyteller:  Phoebe Driscoll


Described as “a dreamer and a doer” Phoebe Driscoll’s hard work, lasting resolve and inspiring dedication to land conservation has benefited us all. She attributes who she is today to growing up on a farm, having a woman’s education in the forties and fifties, a supportive husband and luck!

The fourth Night Out With Meaning was held on November 10, 2011 and featured Phoebe Driscoll. The topic was “Protecting the Land & Environment.”

On a personal, community and national level Phoebe Driscoll has committed her married life — what’s left after family affairs —to volunteer activism in protecting the land and environment. Phoebe began what would be her lifelong passion for protecting the environment in 1954 when she went to work for the Governor’s Committee to Keep Maryland Beautiful.  When she left it was said Phoebe is Keep Maryland Beautiful.

Since then, she has dedicated her energy to volunteer efforts that protect land and the environment.  For thirty-six years she has served on the board of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA). Demonstrating her spirit and vitality, Phoebe was one of the leaders on the watershed campaign in the mid 1980’s to preserve a 77-acre parcel of wetlands and forest known as Penllyn Woods. Organized much like a political campaign, this movement was successful in preserving this important tract as a publicly owned nature preserve and park.

Phoebe is a founding board member of the Montgomery  County Lands Trust, which over the past 17 years has been involved in saving over 2,100 acres in a county under intense development pressure.   In 1993 she was appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners to the newly formed Montgomery County Open Space Board which oversaw the innovative 10 year  $100 million dollar open Space  program.  Now as chair of the Board she oversees its  sequel  — the-nationally recognized  $150 million dollar Green Fields/Green Towns initiative.

While most of Phoebe’s environmental activism has been focused on the local and county level, she has played an role on the national level as well.  A long time member of the Garden Club of America (GCA), she served as chairwoman for the GCA’s National Affairs and Legislation Committee  which lobbies on environment issues related to plants

In  December  2008, Phoebe’s commitment to the land was expressed in a very personal way. She and her husband, Lee, gave the Natural Lands Trust 49 acres (6 acres was a bargain sale) It is now known as Tunnel Farm Woods. The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association holds a conservation easement over the Woods and her remaining 24 acres. In making the donation Phoebe remarked, “We have loved this land and it has loved us back. We want future generations to enjoy it as we have”.