Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art's Climate Resiliency Plan — Executive Summary

Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art's Climate Resiliency Plan — Executive Summary


According to 2017’s Climate Science Special Report, “sixteen of the warmest years on record for the globe occurred in the last 17 years (1998 was the exception).” The historical scientific evidence shows a change in climate for the Greater Philadelphia Region with a shift to concentrated extreme heat waves as well as heavy rain and snow events. Broadly, the Greater Philadelphia Region will see impacts of sea level rise in tidal areas, warmer conditions, more intense precipitation and severe storm events, and longer periods of drought. It is difficult to respond to these slow, incremental changes in climate, but organizations that plan for future climate conditions and extreme weather events will be better prepared to safely serve their community.  

Vision Statement  

Focused on communities throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, as well as internally across the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art as a whole, the Conservancy’s Climate Resiliency Initiative formalizes and advances the climate-aligned work the organization has undertaken for years. The Initiative targets two types of actions: climate mitigation (direct, tangible efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) and climate adaptation (planning for resilience against the impacts of climate change and taking action to temper the impacts occurring now by providing technical assistance, grant funding, education, planning, and project implementation directly to property-owners and municipal governments). 

Goal I: Education and Outreach 

Engage with and educate constituents (municipal clients, landowners, Brandywine members and public) on the importance of climate resiliency and planning for current and future conditions.  

Goal II: Cultivating Partnerships  

Collaborate with local land trusts, nonprofit organizations, government entities, educational institutions and local businesses to identify projects and other opportunities to address climate change in the region.

Goal III: Foster Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Equity  

Focus efforts on environmental justice in and around overburdened communities so that climate resiliency is not a function of privilege. The Brandywine’s climate resiliency work is an extension of its ongoing organizational commitment to advance diversity, inclusion, accessibility and equity in all levels and functions of the organization.  

Goal IV: Financial Assistance  

Seek funding from diverse sources to advance strategic partnerships and enable continued innovation, expansion of services, and the implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Goal V: Land Conservation 

Ensure that conservation easement terms enable permitted activities and uses on the eased land to successfully adapt to climate change. In particular, the Conservancy should incorporate climate change into the easement purposes; provide for biophysical monitoring; allow adequate authority to manage for climate risks and stresses; provide for changed conditions; and authorize needed amendments consistent with the Conservancy’s amendment policy. Management plans may provide an especially useful means of providing flexibility over time. 

Goal VI: Land Stewardship 

Explore opportunities to educate and partner with landowners on climate-resilient land stewardship techniques and pursue innovative projects that build climate resiliency and can serve as demonstrations to educate Brandywine constituents.  

Goal VII: Community Services & Municipal Assistance 

Work with local communities and partners to explore innovative and inclusive approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and plan and adapt to future conditions.  

Goal VIII: Internal Policies and Operations  

Work closely with and across Brandywine departments, executive leadership, and Trustees, to position the Brandywine as a regional, statewide and national leader in an integrated approach to climate resiliency work. Evaluate, promote and facilitate appropriate steps to mitigate the impact of the Brandywine’s campus and other owned properties on climate, increase its resilience to regional climate change, and—where feasible—showcase practical applications that mitigate and/or adapt. 


This plan was created to provide actionable steps that connect staff and local communities around shared values, concerns, priorities and creative problem-solving. Research has documented that successful climate change action necessitates building and maintaining trust around the desired outcomes; communicating and engaging in a manner that focuses on different audiences and their shared values while elevating trusted peer-level messengers; leveraging multiple benefits to recipients and continued listening to both opportunities and constraints.  

Although this plan focuses on the work of the Brandywine Conservancy, this process was used to outline future opportunities with Brandywine as a whole as the organization develops a Master Plan to guide future capital plans for the physical footprint of its Chadds Ford campus. Due to this, certain decisions and corrective measures are indeterminant at this time, however, an initial framework of ideas for other Brandywine departments is detailed in the Appendix of this plan to provide guidance and considerations for future opportunities.