James A. Miller wanted to protect his land in memory of his late wife. On November 15th, 2016, Natural Lands Trust helped him achieve his vision with a conservation easement on his 25-acre property on Lenni Road in Chester Heights. The easement, announced in January, will permanently protect the natural features of the landscape and preserve critical open space in highly developed Delaware County.

“Conservation begins in the heart of a willing landowner,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “Mr. Miller’s decision to forever preserve his beautiful property is a testament to his love of nature and his generosity towards his community. In an area that’s being swiftly developed, his choice to make nature a priority will have impact for generations to come.”

Miller’s land is largely forested, but also includes a meadow and several streams that feed into Chester Creek. With an expanding population in Chester Heights, forest areas such as this provide vital contributions to clean water, healthy wildlife, and the scenic character of the region. In addition, forests help to prevent erosion and flooding by absorbing and filtering rainfall.

Forested streams like those on the Miller property are particularly valuable for wildlife both as habitat and a source of food. Leaves that fall from trees into the stream provide food for aquatic insects that are, in turn, food for larger aquatic species. Miller’s forest, streams, and meadow are home to many native species of mammals and birds.

The Miller conservation easement is located nearby Natural Lands Trust’s Wawa Preserve, which is a 98-acre nature preserve owned by Natural Lands Trust and operated in partnership with Middletown Township. The Miller property is also within view of the proposed Chester Creek Trail Greenway; the easement will preserve the scenic views along that future trail.

Under the conservation easement, the property will remain in private ownership but is protected from future development forever. This easement was made possible due to the generous support of James A. Miller, Richard D. Wood Jr., Frederick Wood, Richard Wood, and Lisa and Christopher Wright.