On Wednesday, November 9th, The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and the Montgomery County Planning Commission designated Paul W. Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania as the 2016 Planning Advocate Award Recipient. This award recognizes citizens, appointed/elected officials or boards, and community organizations that have made significant and sustained contributions to advancing or promoting planning in Montgomery County.

Paul has been an exceptional advocate for the planning, preservation, and stewardship of Montgomery County’s valuable green spaces for more than 35 years. He has dedicated many years of service as a member of the Springfield Township Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Open Space Board. He is passionate about ensuring that future generations have the opportunity to be inspired by the natural world and be connected to nature through greenways and trails, parks, and preserved open areas. “Paul Meyer is a perfect example of how good leaders can inspire and then realize community goals,” said Jody L. Holton, AICP, and Executive Director of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

In accepting the award, Paul graciously thanked others involved in this important effort. “I want to share this recognition with all who work to preserve open space and a sense of place in Montgomery County.

The logistical and financial challenges of saving land are huge, and big successes only happen through collaborations involving the commissioners, citizen boards, planning commission staff, local townships and municipalities and land preservation organizations.”

Since 1993 over 19,000 acres of land have been preserved.  Paul went on to say, “There are few things more important than this work.  I believe one hundred years from now our successors will look back on these team accomplishments with awe, admiration and appreciation.  How many times in life do you have the privilege to protect something that will truly grow in ecological, social and financial value with each passing year?

Paul concluded his remarks with applause for what’s been done, and an eye toward the future, “The accomplishments have been amazing, but much more remains to be done. I appreciate this recognition and I salute the entire Montgomery County Open Space Team."

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum includes numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond, and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America. A new permanent nationally award winning exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure Exhibit adds to Morris Arboretum’s allure by transporting visitors 50 feet up into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing.  The Morris Arboretum’s new Horticulture Center Complex has received Platinum Level LEED® Certification, the highest sustainability rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more information, go here.