The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy reached a milestone with the preservation of its 500th property, a 25-acre farm in Bainbridge Township.Faith Pescatore, an owner…
The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy reached a milestone with the preservation of its 500th property, a 25-acre farm in Bainbridge Township.
Faith Pescatore, an owner of Castlewood Farm on Snyder Road, permanently protected the property with a conservation easement donated to the land conservancy.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement in which a landowner voluntarily agrees not to develop his or her property while retaining ownership.
Pescatore, a lifelong animal lover who lives in Russell Township, was honored by the distinction.
“I love the land, but more importantly I view the land as a home for the animals,” she said. “It disturbs me to see their habitat destroyed. By doing this, I won’t ever have to think about their home being taken away.”
WRLC was formed in 2006 through the merger of eight local land trusts, including the Chagrin River Land Conservancy. Its first protected property was a 14-acre conservation easement donated to the Russell Land Conservancy, which later became part of CRLC, by Don and Janet Peters in 1987. The Peterses were among the guests attending a ceremony celebrating the 500-property milestone.
Pescatore boards two rescued Appaloosa horses — Mombo and Delta –?at Castlewood Farm, but it was her interest in wildlife that helped spur the decision to preserve the land. She said she has spotted quail, wild turkeys, groundhogs, coyotes and even an extraordinarily rare albino whitetail deer roaming the grounds.
“It’s become a haven for wildlife, this huge sanctuary. It is amazing,” Pescatore said.
Brett Rodstrom, vice president of eastern operations for WRLC, praised Pescatore for permanently preserving the farm.
“Faith protected her property for the right reasons,” he said. “It’s landowners like Faith that recharge our passion and inspire us to continue to work as hard as we do.”
In 2004, Castlewood Farm was the site of the first EverGreen EverBlue, the land conservancy’s annual fundraiser. In fact, it was Pescatore who thought up the EverGreen EverBlue name while she was cross country skiing. The hugely successful event, which will next be held on Sept. 6, 2014, now attracts more than 600 people.
“It is really exciting to see how it has grown and to see like-minded people getting together for such a worthy cause,” Pescatore said.
Castlewood Farm is a special place for Pescatore, husband Gary Schambs and daughter Skylar, 17, a senior at Gilmour Academy. It is the setting for “A Bell for Justin,” the children’s book she wrote about the true tales of the real-life horses at the farm.
It is also where she lovingly cares for a perennial garden with 18 varieties of dahlias and plants trees, shrubs and flowers that attract wildlife.
And it is where Pescatore enjoys hearing only the sights and sounds of nature.
“I can observe 50 different things just by sitting still,” she said. “Make yourself get away from the TV and the iPad for a while. Just pay attention to what is around you. You will be amazed at what you can see.”
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