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MET and Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust Preserve Historic Working Farm in St. Mary’s County

Summerseat Farm

Mechanicsville, Md. (January 19, 2011) ─ Summerseat Farm, Inc. donated a conservation easement on a 120-acre historic farm to the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust that will protect the scenic, natural and historic resources on the land forever.

“A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a nonprofit land trust, not to ever develop the property. It is binding on all future owners,” said Elizabeth Buxton, director of MET. “We are very pleased to be a partner with the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and provide the necessary funding to help make this project possible.”

Historic Summerseat Farm is a beautiful, scenic landmark and the only farm in the region where the public can observe a herd of American Bison. A 19th century Queen Anne-style manor house, a formal garden, and various agricultural structures, including a tobacco barn, smokehouse and dairy cellar are all located on the property.

Since 2001, Summerseat Farm, Inc. has operated as an educational working farm, raising corn, grains, wine grapes and livestock, including bison, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Trails wind through the 45 acres of woods surrounding the 50 acres of farm fields. The woods provide habitat for forest-dwelling birds ─ whose populations are declining throughout Maryland. The farm is adjacent to several other farms preserved through State and county easement programs, which help to develop a “green infrastructure” of protected lands.

“Summerseat Farm is an example of the agricultural and natural heritage of Southern Maryland and we are delighted to be preserving it for future generations,” said John Loftus, president of Summerseat Farm, Inc.

“Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is dedicated to preserving the rural landscape of southern Maryland,” said Susan Charkes, executive director of the Trust. “We’re thrilled to work with Summerseat Farm, Inc. and MET, to preserve this property. It is here that people can get a first-hand look at what a real farm is all about, and at the same time experience the beauty of nature.”

Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is based in Leonardtown and has preserved nearly 4,000 acres of farmland and natural areas in St. Mary’s County since 1998.

“Land preservation is absolutely critical to protecting and improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Charkes.

Summerseat is located at Three Notch Road and Loveville Road in Mechanicsville, Md. It is operated entirely by volunteers and the nonprofit organization is always looking for people who want to contribute their time and talents to this unique cultural institution. The easement was carefully crafted to balance conservation goals with the organization’s multiple goals for the property, including ways to generate funds to support upkeep of the historic buildings (which are not part of the easement).

“The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust mission is to preserve the past for the future, but we all live in the present,” said Charkes. “We work hard to balance conservation goals and the goals of the landowner,”

For more information about Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, visit patuxent-tidewater.org or Summerseat Farm, visit summerseat.org.

The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly as a charitable organization and serves as the statewide land trust. MET currently holds 1038 easements totaling over 128,000 acres in Maryland. Governed by a citizen board of trustees, MET is affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and promotes the permanent protection of land through its Conservation Easement, Stewardship and Land Trust Assistance Programs. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit the website www.dnr.maryland.gov/met.


   January 19, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov