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    Authentic: David & Dawn Cassel

    Like many people, David and Dawn Cassel had driven past Natural Lands’ ChesLen Preserve countless times without realizing what was there. When their daughter ran the ChesLen Chase for Open Space in 2016, they walked the course and learned about the Natural Lands’ Force of Nature volunteer training program. It was exactly what they’d been looking for—something they could enjoy doing together while supporting a cause they care about.

    Natural Lands’ mission is to save and care for open space and connect people to nature.

    The Cassels learned a lot during the six-week course, from how ecology works to what riparian buffers do. “Now we’re more aware of what we’re seeing,” says David. They also met great people who share a common interest.


    David and Dawn have a computer consulting business, and David’s favorite way to de-stress is to hike. The interactive ExploreNLT app, he says, is a great guide for exploring the many different Natural Lands preserves.

    As a birder, Dawn particularly enjoys monitoring progress in the busy nest boxes at Stroud Preserve. She was also inspired to work with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop to put up nest boxes in a park near their Downingtown home and to create a native plant garden in their backyard. “Now we see hummingbirds drinking from flowers, instead of feeders,” she says.


    Natural Lands’ mission is to save and care for open space and connect people to nature. In addition to conserving land, they organize projects like planting trees and pulling invasives so native species can thrive. “But it’s not all physically demanding work,” David says. “There are volunteer opportunities for everyone.” David and Dawn enjoy connecting others to nature through sharing what they’ve learned and encourage people to find out more on the Natural Lands’ website or at


    To learn more about volunteer opportunities visit