Anton Andrew laughs. “My involvement with The Nature Conservancy grew out of self-interest,” he says. “Preservation of a beautiful area.”
When the township wanted to o replace a historic bridge near his home in Kennett Square, Pa., Anton and his neighbors, with The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, led an effort to preserve it. They succeeded, and in the process, Andrew met Richie Jones, executive director of the Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Familiar with The Nature Conservancy through its publications and a scientist friend who had worked on a Conservancy project in Africa, Anton was impressed by Richie’s “focus on the big picture.” He thus accepted an invitation to join the board in Delaware.
“I’m still learning,” Anton says, “but I like the general idea of being able to move the needle on conservation.”
A lawyer, Anton previously worked with a team of legal and mental health professionals to develop holistic alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders. He later served as chief of staff for the president of historically black Cheyney University. While there, his twin sons, now 16, had been enrolled at Open Connections, an experiential learning-based school housed on a historic 28-acre estate in Delaware County, Pa. Anton often dropped in to see his boys, which led him to serve as a facilitator and as chairman of the board.
“I really want to get a broader population enthused about conservation, preservation and stewardship,” Anton says.
And that starts at home. One of Anton’s favorite activities is foraging with his 8-year-old daughter for such wild foods as the ramps—leeks found in their backyard on Brandywine Creek—which were recently turned into a pesto for dinner.
It also meant seeing his whole family excited and engaged in the effort to establish the 1,100–acre First State Monument on the Brandywine a few years ago—now part of the First State National Historical Park—which contributed to his interest in conservation.
“To see it go from the seed of an idea, just a rumor…” he says. “I just love that place. It so accessible. So many people are welcomed there. I love going and catching a different kind of energy there.”