Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The final report of the Ad Hoc Crum Woods Stewardship Committee was recently released to the public. The report synthesizes the recommendations of the December 2003 report of two local firms and the input of faculty and students into 5 main recommendations for the future of the Crum Woods.
Like friendly squirrels and long lines at Garnet Gourmet, the specter of the Crum Woods is a Swarthmore mainstay. Along with serving as a place for students to get down with their outdoorsy selves, the woods serve as a place where biology and environmental sciences students can conduct experiments in a natural setting. Wooded areas such as the Crum are in high demand, so there are frequent requests from outside groups to use the woods. In an effort to better maximize the natural and productive value of the Crum, the Ad Hoc Crum Woods Stewardship Committee was formed in September, 2000 by then-Provost Jennie Keith. The committee issued its final report to Provost Hungerford in May and was recently released to the public. It can be found at crumwoods.swarthmore.edu.
The report contains five main recommendations, the first of which has already been acted upon. A permanent committee, known as the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee, has been created. Chairing the committee will be Engineering Professor Arthur McGarity. McGarity previously chaired the Ad Hoc committee. The committee already contains several faculty members and will be augmented by student appointees. According to McGarity, “We will be meeting this year to discuss implementation of the report’s recommendations.”
These recommendations include the creation of the position of Crum Woods Steward. The Steward would be able to devote the time necessary to properly oversee the Crum. The committee will also discuss methods to avoid the fragmentation of the Crum, which would diminish its natural value and appeal to prospective students. To this end, the College should strongly attempt to avoid any net loss of forested areas and even try for a net gain. The committee stressed the need to make the Crum a high priority, noting that conservation of the woods fits in with the mission of the College. A good start towards this end would be to create funding for the Steward position by making it a priority in future fundraising efforts. The committee noted that many former students have fond memories of the Crum, making the project an attractive one for alumni donations.
Even though the local firms’ reports were issued last December, McGarity noted that it would be unreasonable to expect any further progress to have been made at this point, “because [the report] has only just now been presented to the administration. One of the recommendations [continuing the committee] was transmitted to the Provost before completion of the report back in April, and it has already been acted upon.” A resolution to the Crum Woods stewardship issue may not be immediately forthcoming, but progress continues to be made.