In Their Own Words

Conservation is the choice to protect special places for present and future generations. It is the choice to safeguard our water, care for wildlife, preserve productive farmland and forest, and maintain natural beauty.

Every day across this country, individuals and families make the conservation choice. This collection presents, in their own words, the experiences and reflections of some of these generous, inspired people.

Those who conserve their land create a profound legacy. Whether farm or forest, meadow or mountain, they make a gift that will resonate through time. Here they offer a second gift – a gift of words. They share the considerations, motivations, and inspirations that shaped their conservation decisions.


  • A Quiet Satisfaction

    Jerry Fitzpatrick, who passed away in 2005, and his wife worked with the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy to protect their 77-acre farm in perpetuity for its environmental value.

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  • There Was Really No Other Choice

    After adding acreage piece-by-piece, Jake Lea and his family decided to preserve their land forever by donating a conservation easement to Jake's employer: the Montgomery County Lands Trust.

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  • A Gift to the Community

    The Potter family farm has belonged to a member of the family for more than two centuries! Taylor and Elizabeth Potter decided to protect this legacy by working with the Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board to place a conservation easement on the 198 acre farm.

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  • Keeping Bedminster Clean

    Barbara and Jack Thomas decided to donate the development rights to their property as an easement to the Bedminster Land Conservancy. The couple fell in love with the land and the township and wanted to make sure part of it could be preserved in perpetuity.

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  • The Value of Land Conservation

    Terry Bier and her husband Charles offered to donate their land adjacent to Todd Sanctuary--an Audubon-designated Important Bird Area--but the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania offered to buy the tract, increasing the Sanctuary to 286 acres of precious wildlife habitat.

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  • For Future Generations to Enjoy

    Retired Navy Commanders Jo-Ellen and Michael Greene donated a conservation easement on their 152-acre property to the Countryside Conservancy, preserving the partially wooded, partially farmed plot forever. They encourage other landowners to take the time to do conservation right.

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  • A Permanent Agreement Between Us and Nature

    Stephen Rannels and his wife, Sharon, started with 27 acres of woodland, but have now expanded to a fully protected 91 acre preserve that they gifted to the Lancaster County Conservancy.

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  • Greg's Woods

    Beverly Greening worked with the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy to preserve a forested tract near her family's home in loving memory of their son who passed away in 1993. Greg, her son, loved the woods and advocated for their protection even as a very small boy.

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  • Place in the Country

    With help from the Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy, Faye and Carl Oberheim have completed conservation easements on two parcels of land, including sensitive stream habitat, and have plans to complete a third.

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  • Forever Holding on to Holden Farm

    The Holden family worked hard to preserve areas of the French Creek Watershed both on their own property and in nearby areas. This work led them to spearhead creation of the Allegheny Valley Conservancy, and they're now working with the French Creek Valley Conservancy to preserve more of the watershed.

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  • Saving Our Family Lands

    After seeing a pamphlet from the Land Conservancy of Adams County, Mark Berg and his wife Temma decided to place a conservation easement on their 10 acre lot to help preserve the rural character of Adams County for future generations.

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  • Preserving the Character of York County

    With encouragement from the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, John and Susan Linton decided to join surrounding landowners to help create a large, contiguous area of preserved farmland.

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  • Essentially as We Found It and Loved It

    Working first with the Natural Lands Trust and then with the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, Louis and Wanda Iron placed conservation easements on two different tracts of Pennsylvania land to protect it for wildlife and future generations.

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  • An Amazing Feeling

    Joseph and Ethel Ondra worked with the Natural Lands Trust to protect their beloved land and allow its fields to return to meadows and forest. Now several neighbors are interested in following suit.

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  • Kipp's Fenn

    Gerard Kipp and his family felt strongly about preserving their property for the wildlife it supports, and today North Branch Land Trust holds a conservation easement on 45 acres of the property, including the 2-acre fen: a basin housing mats of sedges dating back over 10,000 years.

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