Herb Ferris is a sculptor. He holds his land very close to his heart, so much so that he crafted one of his many sculptures as a â€œthank youâ€ present to it. The structure he built is a Japanese Torii – a shinto structure that often marks the entrances to shrines, it symbolizes the transition from the mundane to the sacred.
In the first week of September, Herb and his wife Laurie donated a conservation easement to protect their land forever.
UVLT’s communications with the Ferrisâ€™s began not long after Tropical Storm Irene brought havoc to roads and bridges along Windsorâ€™s Mill Brook. The Town of Windsor sought a resolution for a 5-acre portion of the Ferris property which had become landlocked as a result of flooding. UVLT was asked to consider ownership of the newly landlocked parcel which consisted of floodplain and riparian habitat. During these discussions, the Ferrisâ€™s began to favor the idea of a conservation easement that would protect not only the Brook Road parcel, but a significant amount of their agricultural and forest land along Hewett Road.
The conservation easement covers 146 acres including 45 acres of open meadows. A local farmer tends the hay fields and another farmer pastures cows and sheep on separate pastures. There is a bit of cropland and an old orchard. Bobolink, brown bats, deer, wild turkey, moose, and black bears have all been spotted, and there is a deer yard located on top of a hill that has been extensively studied by the State of Vermont.
Along Mill Brook, the conservation easement provides a stream front buffer that will protect water quality and help the land absorb the energy of high flows during storm events. There will be only minimal human disturbance of soils and vegetation and the stream will be able to move over time.
From Hewett Road, the public enjoys views across the property to Mt Ascutney. The Ferrisâ€™s gift is a wonderful thank you to a treasured place.