Permanent Preservation of 100 Acres of Old-growth Forest

April 1, 2023

MEDIA, Pa., April 1, 2023 – Natural Lands announced today the successful preservation of 100 acres of old-growth forest through a conservation easement. A survey of the property conducted by Natural Lands showed the presence of rabbits, yellow bear, and Barred Owls, which live in large, mature forests and make their homes in tree cavities. Pine, larch, and alder trees dominate the landscape, which also contains wetlands and two headwater streams.  

As development pressures increase in the region, many worry over the fate of pristine old-growth forests like this one. Though private property, the landscape is visited by families who enjoy the trails and natural beauty.

“There is a great deal of sentimental attachment to this place, both from the residents and from friends and neighbors who have been frequent visitors,” said Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands, the region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization. “It took a bit of hand-holding but in the end the landowners trusted us to preserve this beloved woodland.” 

Conserving this property was not an easy process. The 100-acre wood was held in a trust with multiple beneficiaries, but, fortunately, all were dedicated to a conservation solution. 

Speaking on behalf of his extended family, landowner Chris Robin said, “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” A devoted naturalist, Mr. Robin is known for his commitment to the wildlife on the property, especially the rarer species like wild donkey and tiger. “Some people talk to animals,” he said. “Not many listen though.” 

A watercolor and ink illustration of a man in a blue shirt walking through a green forest holding hands with a small bear.

Illustration by Brittni Albright

“We make every effort to work with landowners so that they can feel satisfied with the outcome of the conservation easement,” said Todd Sampsell, vice president of conservation for Natural Lands. “Over many meetings eating bread, honey, and condensed milk, the landowners expressed that they wanted to balance the preservation of the forest with allowances for small-scale farming, modest homes, trails, and fishing. There is primitive signage and a curious collection of honey pots that will remain undisturbed. The community can rest easy knowing that that wherever they go, and whatever they do, this woodland will always be here, just as it is today.” 

“When Natural Lands takes on an easement, we always tour the property and create a report to detail the natural features,” said Robyn Jeney, land protection project manager for Natural Lands. “In this case, the landowners insisted that there was a rare species called a Heffalump on the property. I never saw any animal like the one the residents described, but I did see a kangaroo giving a piglet a bath, which was a new one for me.” 

“While it may seem like a small property in comparison to some of our larger projects, its conservation is quite significant,” said Oliver Bass. “After all, sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” 

Natural Lands is currently working with local officials to conserve the forest of Gugu and several pristine acres known for abundant poppies, two high-priority projects in the Land of Oz. With any luck, we should be able to announce more about that project in April of 2024

Natural Lands is dedicated to preserving and nurturing nature’s wonders while creating opportunities for joy and discovery in the outdoors for everyone.  As the Greater Philadelphia region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization, Natural Lands—which is member supported—has preserved more than 125,000 acres, including 42 nature preserves and one public garden totaling more than 23,000 acres. Nearly five million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. Land for life, nature for all. natlands.org. 

Please note: “Natural Lands” is the organization’s official operating name and should be used instead of its legal designation (Natural Lands Trust, Inc.). 

Please also note today’s date: April 1. Have a great day! 

Media Inquiries:
Mae Axelrod, Media Relations Manager
610-353-5587 ext. 400