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2018 - Solid as Steel: Women as Keystone Contributors to Our Fields

09/16/2019 3:00 PM | Rebecca Buchanan (Administrator)

Lynn W. Williams - Christina Conservancy

Ms. Williams is a champion environmental and civic leader and works with the non-profit Christina Conservancy, whose mission is “Preservation, Restoration and Conservation of Natural and Historical Resources of the Christina River Watershed.”  Ms. Williams has devoted 50 years of her life to protecting and conserving Delaware’s land and water, and to educating and inspiring many others.

Lynn was a founding board member of the Delaware Nature Society, served as its first president from 1964 to 1973, and remains involved as an honorary director. DNS’ mission is to “connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, advocacy and conservation.”

She is also past president and treasurer of the Christina Conservancy, and a mover and shaker in the Christina River Watershed Cleanup, which started in 1992, has grown to hundreds of annual volunteers, and has removed thousands of tons of trash and debris from the watershed, including BIG trash like sunken barges, tugs and boats, and log jams.

For 10 years, Lynn and the Conservancy led a citizens’ advisory committee and made a grant which helped pave the way for the restoration of a wildlife refuge in the City of Wilmington. When Governor Tom Carper supported revitalization of the Wilmington Riverfront, Lynn was appointed as a member of the committee to provide advice on the restoration and interpretation of the marshland that was to become the 212-acre Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. The Riverfront Development Corporation appointed her chair of the committee to establish the wildlife refuge, and Lynn led the committee, ensuring that the funds were raised, the marsh was restored, and the DuPont Environmental Education Center, which is run by the Delaware Nature Society, was constructed.

Lynn has served in many other environmental leadership roles and has provided her signature combination of vision, energy and tenacity, inspiring many others to action over the years:

  • Appointed by Governor Russell Peterson to serve on the Council to administer the Coastal Zone Act, and member of the Delaware Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board.
  • Member of the Governor’s Task Force on the future of the Brandywine and Christina Rivers. Helped develop a cohesive plan for water quality improvement.
  • Chairman of Delaware’s Open Space Council (under three governors) which identified, and purchased environmentally important and sensitive land threatened by development. Under her tenure, thousands of acres of land along Delaware’s rivers and in watersheds were purchased and protected.
  • Member of Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council and Parks and Recreation Council.
  • Board member of the Woodlawn Trustees. Founded by William Bancroft in 1901, Woodlawn Trustees is a not-for-profit real estate company whose mission is to provide affordable housing and develop part of its land holdings, while preserving other portions to enhance the area’s beauty.
  • Board member of the Red Clay Valley Association.
  • Committee member of the Brandywine Conservancy.

As a child, Lynn and her family spent summers in a log cabin in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, where she learned to identify birds, trees and wildflowers. She wanted to be an engineer like her father, but Mt. Holyoke College didn’t offer engineering, so she majored in geology instead.

Lynn joined the Girl Scouts as a Brownie when she was 7 years old, and later volunteered as a Troop Leader when her daughters were young. She moved on to serve as Board President of the Chesapeake Bay Council, and then as project lead and supervisor for building and improving several Girl Scout facilities. The Lynn W. Williams Science and Technology Lodge, completed in 2009 in Hockessin, was the first Delaware and Girl Scout building certified at the platinum level for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Lynn is an enthusiastic, tenacious and very successful protector of the natural environment, and she inspires children and adults to love and preserve natural lands and waters. She is especially devoted to the growth and inspiration of girls through Girl Scouting.

Photo Credit: Don Pearse Photographers, Inc., http://donpearsephotographers.com/

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