Green Mountain Conservation Group announced the donation of two conservation easements in Freedom in 2007. For over a year, GMCG worked with Freedom resident, Penny Vestner to create two separate conservation easements on her beautiful property on Old Portland Road. When Penny first contacted GMCG, she was focused on creating one conservation easement on the lovely 20 acre field in front of her farm. As the process continued she realized that she was also very committed to seeing the 100 acre wood lot behind her home conserved.
According to Penny, Lt. Col. Eliot Vestner and Priscilla came to Freedom in 1955 and purchased the house, surrounding fields and a small shore lot from Dr. Albert Rogers. They bartered with various farmers to put their cattle on the front field in exchange for keeping the fence repaired and the field healthy. Later, the Vestners were thrilled when Arthur Nason of Effingham brought his beautiful retired race horses to foal there – a gorgeous sight.
Next, Alan Fall family brought their sheep to cultivate the field in succession. The Falls’ unique oxen of various colors and sizes did a superior job of bringing the field back. Finally a pair of their huge white oxen appeared in Mel Gibson’s movie ‘Patriot. Under Alan’s tutelage the 4H kids came regularly and learned a lot about farming.
Over the years, Penny has watched vehicles slow down to see what may be in the field: Deer, fox, coyote, bear, the smaller mammals like woodchuck, winter ferret and birds: Marsh hawks, bobolink, bluebirds, turkeys, red-winged blackbirds and above, herons, loons, and owls.
One September day a pair of moose rolled over on the freshly-hayed field, scratching their backs, hoofs in the air taking turns as a look-out near the road. Later, they headed down to Loon Lake. Unbelievable, explained Penny as we signed the easement in June in this very field.
It is never dull living on the edge of this field. The winter sunsets fill the western sky. The lake evaporation rising delineates the pine plantation, and the snow falls on Green Mountain announcing the weather.
In 1998, the Kennett Family offered the Rogers 101-acre woodlot to Penny and she purchased it as a way to preserve it as open space and animal habitat. She was also interested in seeing that sustainable forestry would be practiced on the land. “I wanted to make sure that the land would continue to be a peaceful home for animals and birds. Dr. Rogers oversaw the planting of 6,000 trees in stands of specific species and I wanted to make sure that proper forestry would continue to be practiced on the woodlot” Penny said.
“I am extremely thankful that the Green Mountain Conservation Group will now monitor this land, it will be preserved forever.”
GMCG is very grateful to Penny for her vision of conservation on these lands. GMCG would also like to extend an enormous thank you to Land Conservation Volunteer, Theresa Swanick who spent hundreds of hours working with Penny and GMCG to create these two easements. We would also like to extend a thank you to Sue Hoople for her help at the Registry. Thank you all!