Stewardship is not a new idea at F&W. In fact, our founders, Ken and Susan Webb, were always committed to stewardship of the area. Their work began with acquiring lands around Woodward Reservoir for the camps and to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

During the 1960s the Webbs and others formed the Wilderness Corporation to acquire lands around Lake Ninevah for a new wilderness outpost camp (now Saltash Mountain Camp). The Wilderness Community on Lake Ninevah was born from this venture. To finance the land acquisitions, small lots with restrictive covenants were sold near the north end of the lake, and the communal property was retained by the Wilderness Corporation for use by the owners of these lots. The effect has been a lake front free of large development unlike what we see in the lower Plymouth Valley. Like F&W, the Wilderness Corporation was initially established as a for-profit business, but in 2000, after amassing a sizable 2,900 acres, it was dissolved and became the non-profit Ninevah Foundation, dedicated to preserving lands in the Ninevah area.

Lake NinevahToday, Farm & Wilderness’s mission includes “creating a community that values long term stewardship of the environment.” Most of Farm & Wilderness Foundation’s and Ninevah Foundation’s lands are subject to conservation easements, protecting them from future development while allowing for recreation and sustainable timber harvesting. Our most recent easement was signed in 2011, protecting the 444-acres of F&W’s ridge-line above the reservoir.

What both Farm & Wilderness and the Ninevah Foundation have been missing is a full-time, dedicated employee who can oversee and advance both organizations’ conservation goals. I am incredibly excited to introduce our first Conservation Director, Kelly Beerman. Kelly has been our Assistant Admissions Director for five years, she holds a Master’s degree in Forestry, and was a Program Manager for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) prior to joining F&W. Kelly will help to ensure the future of all our land and water. Invasive species management will continue to be a focus as invasive plants crowd out native plants, threatening the ecosystem, and this is exacerbated by climate change. The F&W and Ninevah forest lands and waters are managed with ecosystem services and wildlife habitat in mind. Part of this strategy will include incorporating conservation into the summer programming. Kelly will bring a much-needed focus on mobilizing the F&W and Ninevah communities to act on the threats to the water and land.

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