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Happy to Be Here: All for the watersheds


What hasn’t she done? Marion Kyde has done just about everything related to the environment in the Delaware Valley.

Marion, known as Martie, lives with her husband, Neil, in The Tulgey Wood, a 30-acre protected State Stewardship Forest, also protected by a conservation easement from Heritage Conservancy.

Thirty acres, Martie said, are not nearly enough. “If I had a hundred acres, I’d be planting all over them.”

The Kydes’ woods in Tinicum Township were wonderfully dark and eery when they moved in 30 years ago – a lot of evergreens planted after World War II given away by the state. But the winds of Hurricane Sandy toppled scores of those trees in 2012. And so, they are being replaced, not by shallow-rooted evergreens, except for white pines, but by deciduous hardwoods like maples, oaks, ashes and black cherries.

“We fenced about 10 acres,” Marti said, protecting the young trees from deer, and the trees are thriving. They have grown to four times their original height with trunk caliper 4 to 5 inches. The Kydes treated the ash trees to protect them from the emerald ash borer.

Little Tinicum Creek runs along the back of the property. It has trails among the trees and a waterfall that adds to the scenic area. “This is one of the reasons that I work to protect watersheds,” Martie said. “We are so lucky. We have such good water.”

Before the PennEast pipeline started, she wanted to know just how good the water of Tinicum and Tohickon creeks was and she reported, “Our water is fabulous.” That report was just one of the projects Martie has led or been involved with.

At Delaware Valley University on March 14, Martie was honored for years of her work by Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve at the annual Land Ethics Symposium. She received the Land Ethics Director’s award, which “honors and recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the promotion of native plants and have exhibited a strong land ethic while promoting sustainable designs that protect the environment.”

Martie is a mycologist who did her doctoral dissertation on “The Ecology of Glomelean Fungi in a 45-year-old field on Brunswick Shales in Eastern Pennsylvania.” Those fungi may have had a role in the evolution of plants. Living things are her specialty.

Here are a few of Martie’s contributions to the environment in Tinicum Township and beyond.

She has been on the Tinicum Township Environmental Action Commission more than 20 years; vice chair and chair of the Tinicum Township Open Space Commission; vice chair and chair of the Tinicum Township Land Preservation Committee; primary author of the Tinicum Township Open Space and Multi-Resource Conservation Plan in 2010.

Martie was a founding member of the Tinicum Conservancy Board, which started in 1992. She served as vice chair and Conservation Program chair for 15 years. She has served on the Tinicum Conservancy Land Preservation Committee and is a conservancy monitor.

Former Delaware River Greenway Partnership board member and president, Martie directed over $400,000 in grant projects in the lower Delaware Valley, including restorations, invasives removal and infrastructure upgrades.

Martie directed the Lower Tohickon Creek Watershed Conservation Plan Study, published in 2002, and the Lower Tohickon Greenway Feasibility Study, published a year later.

She directed Tinicum Creek Tributary Revegetation/Education Projects, from 2002 to 2004; one won a statewide EAC award. In 2005, Martie directed the Tinicum Creek Stream Restoration and Revegetation Project. Next, she directed the Tinicum Township Regional Biodiversity Study (Roaring Rocks), Published in 2007.

The Appalachian Highlands Region, funded under the federal Highlands Conservation Act covers the mountainous region from Connecticut to Virginia is an area rich in natural resources, and recreational opportunities covering several hundred thousand acres of public open space with clean drinking water, and forests critical to the survival of wildlife.

The long-range plan is to have trails extending through the Highlands, in historic areas like Philadelphia and Bucks County and natural areas. There’s a link from New Jersey to Pennsylvania at Riegelsville.

Marion is a member of the Pennsylvania Highlands Committee. She is responsible for adding the Roaring Rocks/Swamp Creek Watershed to the official map as a Critical Treasure of the Highlands (one of four in Tinicum, one of fewer than 100 in the entire four-state region), and for the official naming of the regional Highlands Hub – the Welikamike Woods. Martie is the liaison to the Highlands Committee from Tinicum Conservancy.

A member of the Steering Committee for New Jersey’s National Delaware River Scenic Byway, from Trenton to Frenchtown, Marion is also vice chair of the Lower Delaware River Wild and Scenic Steering Committee and was a field scientist, for the 2004 Giving Pond Conservation Resource Study. The 90-acre Giving Pond is a haven for wildlife as part of the Delaware Canal State Park.

For the Little Tinicum Creek Riparian Restoration Project, last year, Martie directed the planting of 15 trees for stream bank stabilization on preserved land.

Martie is a member of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey – Mycological and Protists, state committee. Since 1995, she has lectured to garden clubs, nature clubs, schools and watershed association.

Marion and Neil G. Kyde are parents of two grown children two children, and custodians of one Great Dane, one Havanese and two cats. Two black vultures have befriended them, returning year after year for 14 years to be fed from Martie’s hand.

Martie has been awarded by the Delaware River Greenway Partnership and the National Park Service, but being the Lady High Admiral of the Delaware River Sojourn, for Extraordinary Service and Commitment in Promoting Watershed Conservation is the most unusual.

She’s an all-round Bucks County superstar – a reader, photographer, quilter, tailor, knitter, cook, and identifier of mysterious mushrooms.

And, she’s a coloratura soprano with two choruses, Cordus Mundi and Friends (adding women to the all-male group) and the New Hope and Solebury Community Community Chorus.

Like the rest of us, Martie is looking forward to spring. “There is nothing like the vernal cacophony to lift the winter worn spirit!”