My interest in conservation of all natural resources began in my childhood in the outback of Australia, where my family saw all the natural vegetation of our sheep station destroyed by a combination of drought and overgrazing by sheep and cattle. By the time I was 10 years old, I saw how quickly land, water resources, and vegetation can be irreversibly destroyed by unwise land use.
So, 30-plus years ago, when my husband and I bought 11 acres of land in the town of Conway, we set about being ecologically sound gardeners—no lawns, no chemicals, no invasive plants, no garden that required heavy watering. But those efforts at resting lightly on the land weren’t enough. Thirty years ago in springtime we were awakened at first light by the glorious chorus of the songbirds. Now the woods are nearly silent, except for the hawks and crows. The loss of the surrounding forest, and the destruction of habitat have already had a striking effect.
This makes me redouble my efforts to preserve the beauty of the woods, streams, fields and forests in Franklin County, before it’s too late and the changes can’t be reversed. There isn’t much time left to secure this priceless heritage. The line of development proceeding up the Connecticut Valley is only about 30 miles away from Franklin County today. With it will come pressure to sell the beautiful farmland for housing development, meaning more wells and lowered water tables, more effluents and polluted streams, more noise, more carbon emissions and forests weakened by polluted air and more erosion of the thin layer of soil left here by the glaciers, so the wild flowers and grasses which support our bees and butterflies will vanish.
But I’m convinced that we can find a better way to live in this beautiful valley. We can support our Land Trust. We can work for better environment regulation. We can try to understand how to live in this beauty without harming it. In all these endeavors we need the knowledge, the professional discipline, and the commitment of the team at the Franklin Land trust. The Land Trust is one of my primary charitable commitments. Please make it yours.
– Jill Kerr Conway