Thomas Dolan IV — scientist, conservationist, and avid outdoorsman — died on December 28, 2021 at the age of 98. He leaves a legacy of watershed advocacy and scholarly accomplishments including the identification of a new species of mayfly named after him.
In addition to his leadership of organizations such as the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (now Wissahickon Trails), Mr. Dolan was an important figure in the founding of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council more than fifty years ago. He explained on a 2020 episode of the Pennsylvania Legacies podcast how the idea to form PEC came out of conversations with fellow Trout Unlimited members in the 1960s:
“We decided that we needed an organization to address the issue of water quality,” Mr. Dolan said. “Curtin Winsor was involved at this time. Curt and Eleanor and I got together, and that was sort of the beginning. We were coming close to feeling that, though still unnamed, PEC was the sort of thing that we needed: a sort of an oversight organization that could see what the state was doing, some of the decisions that were being made, ones that should be made.”
At the suggestion of then-Governor Milton Shapp, the group decided to form two organizations: one to advocate for policy, and one to conduct research and gather information in support of the effort. Mr. Dolan became the first president of the second group, Environmental Planning and Information Center of PA (EPIC), while Mr. Winsor headed up the organization that would become PEC.
“Tom Dolan made a lasting impact not just on Pennsylvania’s environment, but also on the environmental community,” said PEC board chair Carol McCabe. “We’re grateful that PEC is part of that legacy.”