A Healthy Habitat Starts Behind the Scenes

Catherine Ruhling at Crossways Preserve in 2022i

Updated March 2023 - A Note from Wissahickon Trails

Catherine passed away on March 17, 2023. At Wissahickon Trails, we remember Catherine fondly and carry a deep respect for her commitment to conservation and open space. Click here to read her obituary and learn a bit more about the life of this remarkable woman. 

Why I Support the Work

A guest blog by Catherine Ruhling


A few years ago, I chose to “adopt” Crossways Preserve with a significant yearly donation after I read in a newsletter that it cost $250/acre per year to maintain and improve habitats. That number struck me because it was verifiable, concrete, and I knew I could make a difference with a gift. I’ve seen improvements over the years and know that my investment is having an impact on the land.


As I find myself in the fortunate position of having resources to share, I thought about the things that matter to me the most and how everything Wissahickon Trails does embraces my values. While climate change is having an impact across the globe, Wissahickon Trails continues to do its part to restore, protect, and preserve our little corner of this world. By stewarding the Wissahickon Creek and its tributaries, and the surrounding open space, a positive effect is being created for the Delaware Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and thus the entire world. This work is important to me.


To sustain this progress requires ongoing maintenance and stewardship, potential further land acquisitions, and easements. Wissahickon Trails has a large base of volunteers that are a wonderful asset that help in all sorts of ways. But to be a stable organization, you need a trained and educated staff to work regular hours of maintenance as well as supervising and teaching volunteers. This all comes with a cost, whether it’s salaries, utilities, transportation, equipment repair and a variety of other expenses. It’s what makes all those tree plantings, trail repairs, water monitoring, and conservation management plans possible.


As someone who normally stays in the background, it may not be a surprise that I find myself drawn to the “behind the scenes” work that makes Wissahickon Trails a high functioning, financially stable, and forward-thinking organization. In this spirit, I am donating $250,000 to launch a Land Stewardship Fund for ongoing maintenance needs of Wissahickon Trails. I will continue to make sizeable gifts each year that will allow us to dedicate a stable source of income to the less obvious, but equally as important, core work of the organization. I want everyone to remember, that I did not start my donations at this point. Every little bit counts and I hope you will join me at whatever level you are comfortable.


Donate to the Land Stewardship Fund


Crossways Preserve in the fall