The Courser Farm conservation easement includes 138 acres of farmland, wetland and forestland out of a 276 acre parcel. The family hopes to protect the remaining acres in the future. The Courser Family Phase 2 project goal was to purchase the development rights on the 138 acres including all fields, wetlands and all Schoodac Road frontage from the Courser family. This easement allows for agriculture and forestry, but limits development and prevents subdivision of the land.
The Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust and the Nature Conservancy joined with the Courser siblings, Rebecca, Tim, Jerry and Bill, to seek protection of this working farm, which has allowed the Courser Family to support themselves from the land for over 100 years. Currently Tim and Jerry derive their living from farming and forestry on family lands and Rebecca and her husband run the organic vegetable garden and farm stand.
The Courser family generously donated $116,000 of farm value to the project, leaving conservation easement costs and project expenses of $404,000. The Farm and Ranchland Protection Program granted $232,000 and the Town of Warner Conservation Commission contributed $125,000. Individual pledges, and the donation of the proceeds from the Growers’ Dinner sponsored by Jack’s of New London which totaled $15,000 were raised to complete the project.
Special Features of this project:
· Unique agricultural land used to raise sweet corn, squash, pumpkins, hay and a variety of organic vegetables and berries
· Scenic views from Schoodac Road in Warner
· Important wetland habitat for wildlife of special conservation concern
· Schoodac and Frazier Brooks and associated wetlands provide important natural flood mitigation
· Open to public recreation, including a designated snowmobile trail
· Protects the last traditional family farm in Warner.
· Site of the annual pumpkin festival in Warner