Our Stewardship Work
The rich, fertile soils of our productive Central Pennsylvania farmland are irreplaceable. Conservation easements protect the land from intense development pressure.
While an easement represents a generous donation, much work and a big win for all of us, it is a first step.
“Signing a conservation easement is just the beginning of our role,” says Jennifer Shuey, CCFT Treasurer and past president. “As a land trust, we must then steward the easement on the land.”
That means tending our relationships with the people who now own the land that our conservation easements protect.
As an organization, we are entering a period of greater transition when the lands we protect with conservation easements are changing hands. New landowners are acquiring their farms with conservation restrictions in place.
Our conservation stewardship role becomes much more important as we meet these new farmers, teach them what their conservation easement means, and build important new partnerships with the people who live on the land and will care for it every day.
We become their partner in conservation and serve as a resource for their questions and their concerns. We also have an obligation to monitor the conserved lands each year and take action when the restrictions placed by the original landowner are not being upheld.
Early this year, with the help of our partners ClearWater Conservancy, we completed a guide for volunteers on how to conduct annual visits at preserved properties. We also held a training for our volunteer board me
mbers to properly do this important work.
Access the new Stewardship Primer: How to Monitor a Conservation Easement.
Because of our community of donors and supporters, we can do this mission-critical conservation work.
CCFT Trustee Catherine Smith (pictured) leads our stewardship program. Catherine lives near Spring Mills on land that was farmed for two centuries. She and John Smith manage their 68-acre property, called ChicoryLane (chicorylane.com) for ecology, diversity, habitat protection, waterway protection, and aesthetic appreciation as guided by goals set in a conservation easement held by ClearWater Conservancy.