Sense of Place (Thanksgiving)

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.

This is a map of the entirety of Bundoran Farm. My house is by the smaller pond on the bottom/ middle left. This shows all 2,300 acers. 

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. 

In this picture the red pin is my house. The mountains on the left are filled with hiking paths and my dogs and I often explore the woods. On the right is the developed land and pastures for the cattle. This is far from the entire 2,300 acers of Bundoran but shows the land directly surrounding me when I go home for break. 

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. 

This is the view as my house was being build and the driveway was under construction. Since then grass and trees have been replanted/ restored.

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.

This is a picture I took of one of my dogs when I went back for break on my front lawn. If you look closely you can see cows in the field behind him!