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Guided Trail Walk, Aaronsburg, September, 2021

Shari Edelson and Scott Dennison hosted a guided trail walk of their 27 acres of preserved woodland

for Farmland Trust guests in Aaronsburg.

They explained their long-term management strategy for the land, rich with wildflowers, walnut trees, and an 1841 German Bank barn, and hosted guests in their garden.

Nancy Parks and Bill van den Berg donated the conservation easement in 2011. See below for more of the story of this conserved land.

This is the only undeveloped part of Aaron Levy's originals 334-acre land purchase.

Nancy Parks and Bill van den Berg wanted to protect land from an encroaching quarry near their home in the village of Aaronsburg. At a 2000 auction, they bought 16 acres of walnut trees and native wildflowers, and later two adjacent parcels of 11 acres.

Deer, hawks, songbirds, rabbits, barn owls, foxes and turkey are abundant. An intermittent stream flows into Elk Creek.

“I see intrinsic value in all plants and animals,” said Parks. “As human beings, we are stewards of this.”

In 2011, the couple donated a conservation easement through the Centre County Farmland Trust.

“We recognized we couldn’t protect it alone forever,” said Parks, who served on the CCFT board from 2013-2016.

These 27 acres were wilderness in 1779, when Aaron Levy purchased 334 acres and laid out the village. This is the only undeveloped part of Levy’s original tract. Over centuries, people cleared trees, built a barn, farmed crops and planted walnut trees.

By 2019, Parks and van den Berg had divorced, and Parks decided to sell. She asked neighbor Scott Dennison at Dennison Press, to print an advertising flyer.

Instead, Dennison and his wife, Shari Edelson, bought the property.

“We’re looking at it as wildlife habitat and an opportunity for a long-term ecological restoration project,” said Edelson.

This preserved land was featured on the CCFT Ridges & Valleys Farm Route of 18 local food, farmers markets and local beverage stops from Bellefonte to Aaronsburg. All about our three Farm Routes.

Look for the CCFT sign affixed to the c. 1841 German Bank barn at the corner of Apple Tree Alley and Pine Street.

Thank you to Nancy Parks, Bill van den Berg, Scott Dennison and Shari Edelson for stewarding and sharing the gift of good land.


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