It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our friend Greg Wilson, who died in January at the age of 62. A force for good in the restoration of Lancaster County’s freshwater streams, Wilson had been a volunteer, a leader, and a mobilizer for Donegal Trout Unlimited (DTU) for decades. As such, he teamed up with Bob Kutz and other DTU members to bring trout and other native fish back to cold water streams in the county they all called home.
Lamonte Garber first met Wilson at a Trout Unlimited meeting in the 1990s. Garber, who was then working for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), said, “I gave a presentation that night, and in classic Greg Wilson form, by the end of the evening, he had convinced me that CBF should be helping him restore Lititz Run. His enthusiasm was infectious, and as this was the stream I had grown up fishing and playing in, he made it easy to say yes.”
After that, Wilson and Garber became close friends, sharing strategies to restore local waterways to health and also starting a volunteer-run nursery at Millport Nature Conservancy to grow and repurpose leftover trees and shrubs from other environmental projects.
More recently, the two appeared together in a video about the restoration of Lititz Run as part of a video series produced by friend Bob Walker.
“Greg understood early on the importance of choosing native over exotic species,” said Garber.
Wilson’s tireless efforts to educate residential, local government, and business stakeholders about the benefits of native landscapes led him to seek out one of his heroes, Dr. Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., to present at local speaking engagements.
Tallamy, an entomology professor at the University of Delaware, a conservationist, and an author of several books, said, “The field of conservation is at a crossroads in terms of demands and urgency. Losing Greg Wilson at this time rocks me back on my heels. His on-the-ground action consistently made a critical difference to conservation in the Lancaster community, and to say he will be missed is woefully inadequate.”
Lydia Martin, another friend and partner in conservation, said Wilson would often text or call asking for help with a new idea he’d had for getting homeowners and businesses to use more native plants and ways for farmers to care for their lands and streams. Equally, she said he was always willing to help his friends: “Last year he helped me pull together equipment and one of his contracting friends to plant a dozen bare-root hickory trees at Long’s Park then went to several other friends to help them plant trees on their property. We shared a ton of native plants with each other and exchanged so many good stories and conversations. He had a heart for conservation that will never be forgotten.”
In honor of Greg Wilson and his family and friends, we invite you to learn more about his remarkable work through his own words. Read a post he wrote in 2021 for the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Partners in Action Blog.