During Thanksgiving this year I stayed at my house in North Garden Virginia. It is 15-20 minutes South of Charlottesville Virginia. My house is part of Bundoran Farm which is a 2,300-acre working farm with cows, sheep, donkeys, and horses. Of those 2,300 acres, 2,000 are protected in perpetuity by conservation easements. There are approximately 1,100 acres of pasture and 1,000 acres of managed forest and there are a handful of families who own lots on the farm and have houses. Bundoran is considered a conservation-based community, so there are regulations on the building allowed on the property to maintain and even enhance the natural beauty. For example, houses are not allowed to have upwards facing lights outside to prevent and minimize light pollution. This adds to my sense of place at my house because I love seeing all of the stars at night and it gives a sense of privacy in the community.
My family personally has contributed to the preservation of the natural landscape, and consequently my sense of place on the land. We own roughly 60 acres of land and 50 of those are in a conservation easement. We invested power in the surrounding county to ensure that the land is not clear cut for timber or significantly altered in any way. This ensures the land is preserved for generations to come and allows me and my kids to enjoy nature that is close to home.
The emphasis put on conservation in the community of Bundoran farm and my family has given me a unique perspective on land conservation. While I understand many people do not live in a rural area or farms this community has shown me steps that can be taken to conserve wildlife and maintain the integrity of the natural land. There is a respect people have to show for others and nature, whether that be making sure you don’t leave all the lights on or limiting where you build your house.
Additionally, the plethora of nature surrounding my house on the farm gives me many opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. There are so many fun and easily accessible ways to get outside on a sunny day. I am always outside and have had many meaningful conversations with family members as I walk my dogs. I deeply appreciate the conservation efforts that go into the farm and always try to take advantage of the opportunities that have been created.