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About Us

 
 The Farm Park Preservation Association (FPPA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the preservation, protection and promotion of the Norristown Farm Park (NFP) in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

 The Park

             The 690-acre Park is located in the townships of East Norriton, West Norriton and the Borough of Norristown.  It features two branches of Stony Creek, a trout nursery, a working farm, over seven miles of paved multiuse trails as well as several unpaved nature trails, pavilions for picnicking, concerts and shows, and historical structures, some of which date back to the 18th century including a 1764 Springhouse.  A wide range of passive recreational activities are available: walking, hiking, jogging, running, biking, roller skating, skateboarding, dog walking (on leash), fishing (stocked trout stream), birding and other wildlife viewing, nature photography and picnicking.

              The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania owns NFP and leases it to Montgomery County, which operates it as a public, multiuse, passive recreational park.  This arrangement is unique in Pennsylvania.  A NFP Advisory Committee serves in the capacity of reviewer/advisor to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks and the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Parks.  This Committee is responsible for reviewing and advising on organizational issues such as by-laws and meeting schedules; on budgets for maintenance and development; on design, development, and alterations of the adopted master plan, and on the use of the facilities including the farmland lease and coordination with municipal programs.  The Advisory Committee is comprised of a member each from East Norriton, West Norriton and Norristown; elected officials (state representatives and state senator) from the legislative districts in which the Park is located, a member from the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks and a member from the Montgomery County Department of Parks.

 The FPPA

             The FPPA began in the fall of 2000 when a possible alternative use for the Park was made public: a proposal to convert NFP into two PGA golf courses, which are classified as limited use open space.  We were a group of citizens concerned with the prospects of losing free access to the Park’s 690 acres of passive recreational open space and displacement of the wildlife now residing in the Park.  We organized a petition drive, collected approximately 4,000 signatures in favor of retaining the Park and were successful in defeating the golf course proposal.  When the prospect of losing the Park became less threatening, we decided to broaden the purpose of the group to the preservation, protection and promotion of the Park.  We incorporated on December 15, 2000 and became a tax-exempt charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status on February 15, 2001; all contributions to the FPPA are 100% tax deductible.  We are entirely a volunteer organization; we have no paid staff.  All contributions benefit NFP.  We continue to maintain our vigilance against any use not in compliance with the Master Plan of this highly visible and extremely valuable property. 

 Our Motto is Preserve, Protect, and Promote.

 Preserve

We will work to preserve the Park in its present state as a passive multiuse recreational facility containing an operating farm.  This goal will include the preservation of the many historical structures present within the Park boundaries.  Maintaining the diversity of the Park’s wildlife and preserving wildlife habitat is also a primary goal.

 Protect

We will remain vigilant against any threats of development not in keeping with the Master Plan published by the Montgomery County Planning Commission in 1992.

 Promote

We will organize and conduct events to promote public awareness of the Park and the unique opportunities for recreational pursuits it offers.  We will maintain communication with various government agencies – state, county and local – to keep them informed of the importance of the Park and its contribution to the community.

 Membership and Governance

             The founders of the FPPA in 2000 were Karen Burton; John Shaffer; Tina Howell; Mike Howell; Ben Hynes; Jessica Dimuzio, V.M.D.; Tim Halverson, Ph.D.; Bonnie Van Ormer, and Harry Kern.  Some of the founders presently serve on the Board of Directors.  By January 2009, the FPPA membership had increased to approximately 300 memberships.  The actual number of people belonging to the FPPA is much greater since many of these memberships are family memberships.  Several organizations also belong to the FPPA. 

             A Board of Directors, consisting of 9-25 members, governs the FPPA.  The current Board Members are:

 Tina Howell, President

Diana Cassel, Ph.D., Vice President

(vacant), Secretary

Edward Schindler, Ph.D., Treasurer

Jessica Dimuzio, V.M.D.

Benjamin Crowle

Edward Duffy

Timothy Halverson, Ph.D.

Herman Marks

Stanley Robinson

Bonnie Van Ormer

Dawn Wales

Charles Wood, President of the Stony Creek Anglers

 Advisors to the Board:  Concetta Migliarese and Douglas Seiler

 

Activities and Accomplishments

bulletThe FPPA Board of Directors meets monthly to conduct the business of the organization.

 

bullet Representatives of the FPPA Board of Directors attend the quarterly meetings of the NFP Advisory Committee.  The FPPA reports regularly to the Committee at these meetings.

 

bulletSince 2002, the FPPA has been a member of Partners for Land Preservation, a Montgomery County group of 30 (mostly) non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving land, ensuring healthy habitats and waterways and providing opportunities for people to interact with their environment.  Montgomery County Lands Trust founded Partners for Land Preservation in 1997 to improve communication and coordination among the nonprofit groups dedicated to natural resource protection.

 

bulletThe FPPA holds annual Members and Friends Meetings featuring topics of interest to the community such as deer management, which is of great importance to Montgomery County Parks as well as to Valley Forge National Park; proposed NFP Master Plan Revisions; and global warming and land conservation.

                       

bulletThe FPPA publishes The Park Enthusiast, a quarterly newsletter for members that reports on activities of the FPPA and of NFP, that reports on matters of special importance to the members such as Master Plan revisions, and that runs articles on the flora and fauna of  the Park.

 

bulletThe FPPA runs the Bluebird Trail Project, a national research and conservation effort.  By building birdhouses, setting up trails and monitoring the houses from April to August, volunteers participate in a real hands-on research project in the Park.  Results are sent to the National Bluebird Society.

 

bulletThe FPPA runs the Adopt a Tree Program to ensure healthy trees in the Park.  This involves weeding, mulching and watering trees by volunteers.  Previously our volunteers helped plant 1500 trees and 800 shrubs.

 

bulletThe FPPA holds Nature Walks in the Park led by our own knowledgeable members.

 

bulletThe FPPA has established a winter bird-feeding program in the Park by building and maintaining platform bird feeders and stocking them with bird feed.

 

bulletThe FPPA is very active in a project in conjunction with NFP to preserve the Springhouse, a unique 18th century structure in the Park on Lower Farm Road.  We have obtained a grant from the Acadia Foundation that will be used to stabilize the Springhouse until rehabilitation can begin. 

 

bulletThe FPPA has hosted several Nature Art and Craft Shows in conjunction with NFP.  These shows gave local crafters and photographers an opportunity to show and sell their wares.  There were also activities for children such as scarecrow making, birdhouse building and nature quizzes.

 

bulletThe FPPA hosts the Out-of-Nowhere Running Club’s Annual NFP Runs.  The 2008 Run benefitted the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County, whose headquarters will occupy an old farmhouse in the Park. 

 

bulletFPPA volunteers helped Ken Shellenberger, Park Supervisor, establish a Monarch Butterfly Station in the Park.

 

bulletThe FPPA is a financial sponsor of the Stony Creek Anglers Annual Trout Tournament, which takes place in the Park.  FPPA volunteers also help with the race and with parking.

 

bulletThe FPPA achieved its goal to have the Dairy Barn dedicated to the late State Senator Edwin G. Holl, who was instrumental in establishing our unique working farm park.

 

bulletFPPA volunteers are available to help the NFP with maintenance projects such as the “party” we held to apply a sealer coat on the Pavilions.

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