Phoebe and Lloyd Hopkins and their friend Tess at home.
Phoebe Hopkins will quickly say that she is not a hero. She has cooperated with many good people including her husband Lloyd, and many respected organizations to protect the resources and beauty of the Oley Hills and Valley. She has also worked to protect other parts of Berks County. This work includes conservation easements on farm and forest lands as well as historic designations on buildings and bridges.
Cattle grazing in a field that is protected by a conservation easement
Phoebe Hopkins is our First Hero in the preservation of the Oley Hills and Valley.
In 1978 a new destructive quarry hole was opened in the heart of the
prosperous and productive Oley Valley. A stream and several springs disappeared. This threatened farming in the area. Phoebe Hopkins was among the many local conservation cohorts who successfully organized
to study the effects on ground water and to minimize damage.
The subcommittee, chaired by Hilda Fisher, selected a coordinator after a nation wide search was conducted to find a leader for the project. The subcommittee included teachers, farmers, bankers and other local people. The person selected was Phoebe.
Lloyd Hopkins was on the planning commission of Oley Township at that time and was a strong supporter for the work being done.
Results of the work include the designation of the village and township of Oley on the National Register or Historic Places. This was the first municipality in the United States of America to be so designated. Many conservation easements were placed on valuable farmlands to protect them for future farming. Other structures and farmland in adjacent townships were also protected.