by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager
If you watch television at all you will be bombarded with rewards. You can receive rewards for using a certain credit card, or flying a certain airline. Rewards for you phone, and rewards for your calling plan. But, let me tell you a little something about REWARDS.
I have the greatest job in the world (at least it is for me), and am constantly rewarded by the things that I find, people I meet, and stunning scenery. This winter as I monitored conservation easements I was again humbled by listening to the stories of those who protected their property using a conservation easement as the tool.
Their stories are different, but similar. In most cases, the people setting up the easement discovered something special about their land. It could have been seeing a Pileated Woodpecker, or finding bear tracks in their woods. It could have been a special sunset. It could have been watching native brook trout spawning in their little feeder stream. In many cases, that discovery led to a spiritual connection to the land.
The discovery that they had something special led them to consider options to protect it for future generations. Fortunately, Natural Lands Trust was there to provide the know how to help them through the process. And setting up a conservation easement is a process, but these people were still willing to go through with it. “It was just the right thing to do.” is something I hear over and over again from landowners.
So, if you want to talk about real world rewards, you have to talk about the landowners that set up conservation easements to protect these special places for wildlife. For the creeks that flow through them. For the hillsides that are protected from erosion. And finally for the people that find refuge and solace there – now and in the future.
What is even more inspiring, most of these landowners talk about how rewarding it is for them to have the easement and know that their special place will be special for others as time goes by. Now that is a REWARDS program.