“Take the time to do it right. Think carefully about what you wish to accomplish and what your future needs and desires for the land may be.”
In December 2003, we donated a conservation easement on our 152-acre property in Thompson Township, Susquehanna County to the Countryside Conservancy. This beautiful property overlooks The Nature Conservancy’s Florence Shelly Preserve.
The farm was originally purchased by Michael’s parents in 1979 because the area around Audubon, PA was developing quickly and they wanted to retire to an area of farms and open space. When we decided to retire, we knew that we would take over their property. Growing up around New York City and Philadelphia, and, as Naval officers having lived in many different areas of the United States, we have seen firsthand the results of unplanned and unbridled sprawl. Because we have no heirs ourselves, we decided that in order to preserve this beautiful land for future generations to enjoy forever, a conservation easement was the perfect solution.
Half of our property is in pasture and is currently being farmed. The rest is woodland, smaller areas of forested wetland and successional fields to encourage optimum wildlife. A Forest Management Plan is in place to ensure sustainable forestry in its woodlands. We plan to continue to farm the property using environmentally sustainable methods. At the same time, we are committed to maintaining the forest and other habitats on site in a healthy condition as well as protecting the land’s scenic value and those of its surroundings.
Working with the Countryside Conservancy was a delight! The members are absolutely committed to land preservation and donate so much of their free time to mesh the needs of the landowners with the mission of the Conservancy.
We say this to landowners who may be considering conserving their land: Take the time to do it right. Think carefully about what you wish to accomplish and what your future needs and desires for the land may be. Work closely with your land trust organization because you will be amazed at what they have to offer in the way of knowledge and experience. Use them!