When Nancy Clark’s father, Arthur Perry, inherited a hill farm in Topsham from his parents he set about growing trees. A horticulturist by training, Arthur planted 45 different tree species, memorialized on a hand-drawn map showing property boundaries, stone walls, and fences, and detailing the individual tree species—from birch to ash, magnolias to apples, bristlecone pines, firs, and hemlocks.

Nancy and her husband, Jim, bought the property in the early ’80s. They later bought VLT-conserved forestland nearby. As they came to know VLT, conservation, and environmental stewardship, they began to think about what would happen to the land in the long term. In November, they donated a conservation easement on 94 wooded acres that were part of the original hill farm.

Apple orchard in Topsham, Vermont where the Clarks conserved their family land.

Nancy Clark’s father, horticulturist Arthur Perry, planted 45 different species, from apples to birch to ash, magnolias, bristlecone pines, firs, and hemlocks.

 

Honoring a Legacy

“This land is a legacy from my grandfather, James Frank Perry and my father, Arthur H. Perry,” said Nancy. “By conserving this land, we have passed this legacy on to our children, grandchildren and for generations to come. My father and grandfather honored this land, they honored the trees, they honored the plants, they honored the wildlife and I feel that by conserving the property, we are honoring them.”

The newly conserved Topsham land includes a rich fen, a peaty wetland supplied by groundwater, as well as a long segment of Perry Brook and other tributaries of the Waits River, which eventually joins the Connecticut River. Forested areas along the edges will protect these streams into the future. The entire property is valuable habitat for wildlife; field staff found signs of black bear, deer, and grouse on a recent visit.

 

An opening in the woods on the Clark property in Topsham, Vermont - they conserved their land with the Vermont Land Trust.

“My father and grandfather honored this land,” says Nancy Clark, “they honored the trees, they honored the plants, they honored the wildlife and I feel that by conserving the property, we are honoring them.”

A rich fen on woods conserved by the Clarks in Topsham, Vermont

Among the property’s interesting natural features is this rich fen, a peaty wetland supplied by groundwater.

 

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