H. William Sellers

H. William Sellers, was a leader of efforts to preserve the rolling beauty of rural Chester County.

As director of the Environmental Management Center of the Brandywine Conservancy from 1975 to 1998, Mr. Sellers helped pioneer a movement to ask owners of rural estates to sell or give away development rights - put their land in trust - so property would remain in its natural state.

"He helped to permanently protect 300 properties of over 25,000 acres in Southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware," said Sherri Evans-Stanton, current director of the Environmental Management Center.

He played a key role in preservation of 5,367 acres of cattle land that once belonged to the King Ranch in central Chester County. Route 82, which passes through this land, is considered one of the region's most scenic drives.

State Sen. Andrew Dinniman, a former Chester County commissioner, called Mr. Sellers "the father of the open space movement in Chester County."

He was a founder of the Land Trust Alliance, which Evans-Stanton said is a consortium of 1,700 land-trust groups. "He was a major role model for conservation, not just in this area but across the nation," she said.

For 23 years, he was a Pocopson Township supervisor, at least once nominated by both Republicans and Democrats.

Mr. Sellers developed land preservation projects for the West Pikeland Land Trust and the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. He was on the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for 30 years.

Born in New Orleans, he served in the Army, graduated from Tulane University, and earned a master's degree in planning at Ohio State University.