Elaine Mansfield of Burdett, Schuyler County, NY.
Why did you choose to conserve your land? What motivated you?
In 2005, my husband Vic and I signed a conservation easement with the Finger Lakes Land Trust. After watching a greedy lumber company decimate a neighboring forest, oak by oak, we wanted to protect our forest from such a fate.
Our property was still privately owned, but would remain undeveloped and undivided with a management plan to keep the fields, forest, and wetlands healthy. The conservation easement allowed us to love each tree and stream, knowing the land would be protected after our deaths.
What makes your land so special to you?
After my husband Vic’s death, I bought a neighboring acre with a trailer on it, had the trailer removed, rejoined the properties, and put the new acre under the conservation easement in honor of Vic.
This land supported my family for 37 years, and it will be here long after I’m gone. Like the first owner, Ebenezer Jewell in 1805, and like Vic, I am only a caretaker. Like everything else in life, that job is temporary. When I walk or am carried away from this place, I will leave knowing the land is whole and the wildlife and forest are safe. I do it for Vic and the land, but also to mend myself.