Ask The Experts

Ask Questions; Get Solutions! Organized by the Chestnut Hill Conservancy and co-sponsored by the CHCA>

A free program to the community, Ask the Experts is offered quarterly and addresses a featured topic by an expert on prevalent issues relating to historic home and landscape care. 
This series is FREE.

Visit the Chestnut Hill Conservancy Ask the Expert Archive. For more info email

Smart Homes & Utilizing Technology to Manage Risk
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm 

Chestnut Hill resident Allison DeCaro, a principal with the insurance brokerage firm Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, will join expert risk consultant Rick Albers in presenting the latest advances in automated home protections including fire and security systems, water mitigation, personal cyber security, and best practices when renovating or building a home.

Earth Day Every Day: How to Bring Nature Back to the Neighborhood
Thursday, April 22,, 2020 at 7pm – 8pm 

Rob Fleming and Christopher Sohnly will speak about sustainable practices for the home gardener. Rob is an experienced landscape architect and teacher with special expertise in the design, care, and restoration of historic and natural landscapes. Christopher, co-founder of local landscape firm Spruce Hollow Designs LLC, will describe environmentally diverse design, planting, restoration, and maintenance practices to add value and diversity to your yard and garden. Register at: 

Going Solar
Thursday, Feb. 18,, 2020 at 7pm – 8pm 
Micah Gold-Markel, founder of Philadelphia-based Solar States, a solar installer and educator, will discuss residential solar electric systems as a way to invest in clean energy and the local community. His frequent collaborator Chris Kurtz of Kurtz Roofing will join the conversation to answer questions about installations on historic houses.

Ask the Experts: Landscape Tools to Protect Our Watershed
Thursday, June 25th, 2020 at 6pm – 7pm 
How can you help to keep stormwater runoff from polluting our streams? Individual improvements like rain barrels, downspout planters, permeable paving, and rain gardens can all contribute. For inspiration, attend our virtual Zoom presentation of the Philadelphia Water Department's impressive rain garden installation on Norwood Avenue, presented by a 
Philadelphia Water Department landscape architect and an adjacent homeowner.

Energy-Efficient Residential Lighting
Wednesday, June, 2020 at 6pm – 7pm 
This presentation will discuss energy efficient lighting in historic homes. The presenter, Gerry DeSeve, is a lighting efficiency subject matter expert who will share examples from his 1912 Dutch Colonial house. Attendees will learn about how to maintain and enhance homes’ inherent characteristics while lowering energy costs.

Long Live the Raised Bed
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 6pm – 7pm 

The Victory Garden is back, but with a new face. People are turning to the everyday miracle of food gardening for a steady source of clean nutrient-rich food, a sense of empowerment, and a rewarding backyard vocation. Join the founder of Chestnut Hill’s own “Backyard Eats” – a full service food gardening company – to learn how to create an aesthetically pleasing veggie or cut flower garden.
The presentation will include guidance for determining the right location and design for your garden; features and strategies for high yields in small spaces; a pre-recorded video tour of a garden highlighting some of those same features and strategies, and a Q&A with Chris Mattingly, Founder, Backyard Eats

Home Energy Retrofit in a Changing Climate
Saturday, February 8, 2020 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Join Scott Kelly, co-founder of Re:Vision, a local architecture and sustainability consulting studio, to learn how to plan for a home energy retrofit in a changing climate.

Safe Electric for your Historic Home
Saturday, November 2, 2019 1:30pm 

John McGettigan, a local electrician whose family has worked in the Chestnut Hill area since 1949, gave a talk on the practical aspects of maintaining and repairing electrical issues in your historic home, with a special focus on “BX” wiring, which was first installed in 1930. While the dangers of “knob and tube” wiring are well known to most, the problems with “BX” wiring are rarely discussed.

Protecting and Preserving Historic Homes
Saturday, September 7, 2019 1:30pm

Is your property at risk? Experts from USI and PURE Insurance were on hand to offer guidance and answer questions about how to better protect your historic home. Topics included common challenges in historic neighborhoods like knob and tube insurability, understanding replacement costs, claims stories that resonate, and what type of protection you need.

Home Air Conditioning
Saturday, April 6, 2019 1:30pm 

Debbie Lutz, General Manager at GEN3 Electric & HVAC, will be on hand to provide educational information, answer questions and give options for adding energy efficient ductless minisplit and traditional ducted solutions to cool historical homes. Minisplits allow homeowners to add personalized comfort to their homes with the ability to control temperatures room by room. Not a fan of the wall mounted ductless units? They have you covered too with multiple interior unit options including floor units, ceiling cassettes and ducted units capable of cooling several spaces. Feel free to stop by and ask any questions you may have! GEN3 will give each attendee a voucher for $50 off their first HVAC service.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on New York Ironweed
Native Plants
Saturday, March 2, 1:30pm 

Learn about using plant associations like meadows, woodland gardens, rock gardens, and rain gardens when gardening with natives at home from Andrew Kirkpatrick of the Schuylkill Center. Discussion will include planting species that have similar cultural requirements like light, moisture, and soil type.
Andrew Kirkpatrick is the Manager of Land Stewardship at The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, a 340 acre nature preserve in Roxborough, Philadelphia.  He cares for the health of the landscape and also runs the native plant nursery and greenhouse.