Tales on the Trail: Pandemic rekindles a relationship with nature

Written by: Lara Thrapp
September 27th, 2021

Valerie Kinney grew up in Northeastern PA where she spent her weekends outside. There she developed a special connection to the outdoors using the wilderness as her classroom and playground. She expressed that this early relationship built awareness of open space and an appreciation for its preservation.

Kinney in her happy place on the trail.

Like many, during the pandemic, Kinney sought peace amidst the fresh air at the Pennypack Trust. She says, “For me, I found time with nature to be one of the best ways to reset myself and quiet my mind.” When her normal routine was interrupted by the virus, she recreated one outside along the creek by hiking, biking, walking, and even running an unofficial half marathon with her friends.

Kinney completing an unofficial half marathon with her friends.

The pandemic spotlighted society’s persistent obsession with growth and development which Kinney notes is a double-edged sword. Without diligent watchdogs, often expansion projects come at the expense of quality habitat. “If we don’t protect it, we’re not going to have anything left,” she says. So, when Kinney’s employer, CertaPro Painters, distributed funds for each employee to make a charitable donation to their organization of choice, she knew she had to support the Trust.

“I felt passionate that the Pennypack gave me so much that I needed to give back”

It is true that local ecosystems are being neglected and sacrificed, however, it is a collective of people like Kinney that are changing the narrative. She pivoted her idea of growth to be that of a legacy in the natural world, and in that commitment, she has found a community of stewards at the Pennypack Trust.

If you are interested in employer-supported charity, please reach out to your employer’s human resource department or the Pennypack Trust’s development team, contact@pennypacktrust.org.

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust