Joan Waltermire and John Douglas live in Vershire on land they have owned for many years. Joan is a naturalist and long-time employee of the Montshire Museum, and John is a professional photographer. In June, they donated a conservation easement on 30 acres of forestland surrounding their home. The land is adjacent to 470 acres protected by the New England Forestry Foundation and is in the vicinity of several other conserved parcels.
Joan is on the Board of the Taylor Valley Conservation Project, an initiative to protect an 18,000-acre area in Chelsea, Strafford, Tunbridge, and Vershire. The forest in this area is a high priority for conservation because it is highly productive and includes diverse wildlife habitat. Joan and John have observed bobcat on their land and have had the forest inventoried by Audubon Vermont. Several families with land nearby are considering conservation as well. By piecing together conserved blocks of forested habitat, the current trend of forest fragmentation can be slowed.