The title of this post is also the title of a new book produced by the Trust for Public Land highlighting stories from private landowners around New England who are passionate about wetlands conservation and restoration. I encountered a copy while at a corporate retreat last week and much to my surprise and delight found two of my neighbors featured prominently. Ben and Matthew Freund have a 350 acre dairy farm in East Canaan, CT where they have been conservation innovators and stewards of long standing in a valley where scenic viewsheds, significant water resources, rich agricultural land, rock and gravel mining and mixed residential and commercial development commingle in the shadow of Canaan Mountain. The Freunds have conserved much of their farm and are actively engaged in protecting the Blackberry River, a tributary of the Housatonic that defines their narrow valley.
Shrewd promoters as well as dedicated conservationists, the Freund's website features not only their farm market but projects like CowPots™, made from dehydrated, composted cow manure and scheduled to be featured on Discovery Channel's "DIRTY JOBS" in a program to air early next year. Their neighbors may smile but they take the need to manage agricultural nutrients seriously. According to the Wetlands book; "The Freunds and seven neighboring farms have formed a cooperative to find better ways to manage their manure and to transform the extra nutrients into profit." Given that nutrient loading is a major source of environmental degradation in our sweetwater wetlands and the Blackberry is lined with dairy farms, this is welcome news.