In proper Victorian England, one simply did not color outside society’s lines, especially in family matters. Thankfully for the cause of land preservation, Beatrix Potter never gave into society’s demands.
Had she heeded the wishes of her parents, the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit would have either married very young or become their life-long ward and caregiver. Instead, she took all the formative experiences of a young girl and parlayed them into a fabulously successful series of children’s books which financed her adulthood mission to save farmland in England’s Lake District. Before she died in 1943 at the age of 79, Potter had donated 4,000 acres of land with 17 farms to the National Trust of England, greatly advancing the cause of the renowned organization.
Born in London in 1866 to a wealthy manufacturing family that had renounced its middle-class roots in “commerce” in favor of more elevated society, Helen Beatrix Potter learned early on the expectations that came with such a transition. And thus was born a lifetime of independence, or what some might call rebellion. As a child home-schooled by governesses, Potter gravitated to languages and literature (especially the myths and fairytales of the Scottish Highlands). Most importantly for nearly six generations of young readers, she excelled at art and natural history. Family vacations to Scotland and England’s Lake District instilled a love of the outdoors and its many critters, which became the subjects of her water color paintings.
By the 1890s Potter was selling greeting cards and illustrations using models such as her pet rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer. In 1902 The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published after a multi-year search for a publisher that would agree to her reader-friendly format requirements. Twenty-eight years later, Potter had written 23 books that brought her financial independence but not freedom from her family’s filial expectations. Even after she had bought her first landholding in 1905, Hilltop Farm in Sawrey in the Lake District, Potter spent most of her time with her family in London, only occasionally slipping away to her new farm which she meticulously managed from afar.
Eventually, she had to decide between land and family, and her love of land won out. Writing and illustrating also became secondary to Potter’s efforts to improving Hilltop Farm and its house, farm buildings, native Herdwick sheep, dairy cows, and beef cattle. Recognizing the many fates that could befall farms adjacent to Hilltop as they came on the market, Potter and her attorney husband, William Heelis, methodically acquired them – Twillbeck Park Farm, Holme Ground, and 5,000-acre Monk Cranston Park, among others. With the purchase of Monk Cranston with her silent partner, the National Trust of England, Potter and Heelis managed to preserve not just a pristine landscape but a way of life as practiced and lived by farmers, tenants, and cottagers. Even her art had become directly instrumental in preserving the English landscape. In 1927, Potter redrew 50 Peter Rabbit illustrations to raise funds to save frontage on Windermere Lake from development.
Beatrix Potter’s land preservation success was one of the first examples of a new idea – protecting open space in perpetuity, the work that land trusts do here in the United States. In the U.S., land trusts protect more than 56 million acres, according to the Land Trust Alliance. In Southern Maryland, efforts of the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust now account for more than 5,200 acres of land protected in perpetuity. PTLT strives to emulate Beatrix Potter’s model of linking easement purchases and preserving tracts in their original condition at the time of their conveyance.
Look for other Profiles in Land Trust from PTLT in the coming months. For more information on PTLT, visit www.patuxent-tidewater.org.
New Board Member David Moulton led a short discussion about the critical connections between land conservation and the variety of birds still present in St. Mary’s County, particularly open grassland species. Protecting our rural legacy is both a deeply felt human priority but also the foundation for the survival of diverse birdlife. David, and avid birder, is the field trip coordinator for the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and also serves on the board of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
TRIPLE your support with any Amazon purchase in March!
Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible smile.amazon.com purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Patuxent Tidewater Land Tr’s AmazonSmile donations by reminding your supporters to shop at smile.amazon.com. Go to smile.amazon.com/ch/52-2005066 and Amazon donates to Patuxent Tidewater Land Tr.
Five signed copies of Deadly Stroke: A Port City Mystery by St. Mary’s County author Philip Hayward (paperback only). Hayward will also conduct a book club discussion on the writing of his book and mystery writing in general.
In his debut novel, Philip Hayward takes readers into the lively worlds of competitive rowing, archaeology, and community newspaper publishing. Characters abound: the cheerfully struggling staff of the Port City Beacon, its feuding family board of directors, the hard-partying Port City Rowing Club, an eccentric rival publisher, the widowed owner of a most unusual automobile graveyard, and a small-town corporate raider. www.philiphaywardbooks.com
A slide show of (most of) the thousands of stunning **flowers in ONE YEAR in our gardens.** I was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017 but I continued to take photos for the whole year. It was an uplifting method to get through a challenging year. Frank has been a plant collector for over 60 years; Christina has been kitchen gardening for 40 years.
Prepare to be inspired. “A Year in Bloom” will be showing next at:
Calvert Garden Club
at Church of Christ
3100 Broomes Island Road
Port Republic, MD 20676
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Free talk; Donations and Honorarium will go to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT), your local land trust; Protecting open space in perpetuity!
A slideshow and talk by Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust President about how land trusts work, what lands are protected from development in Southern Maryland, and why you should care. Land Trusts protect land forever, and that’s a long time! An informative presentation by a knowledgeable advocate of protecting land for future generations.
To arrange for a convenient time to schedule for your group or organization for any of the above talks, call PTLT at 301-862-3421 OR reply to info@Patuxent-Tidewater.org
A Big Boost for Conservation Easement Purchases in St. Mary’s County
Leonardtown, MD (October 5, 2017) – Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Rural Legacy Program announced the awarding of two grants totaling more than $2 million for the purchase of conservation easements, protecting land from development, in St. Mary’s County.
Of the nearly $2.2 million award from the Rural Legacy Board, $1.4 million will be used by the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) to purchase conservation easements on forested and agricultural land in the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area around New Market and Flora Corner Roads in the northern portion of the county.
In this year’s Rural Legacy application PTLT and the Southern Maryland RC&D Board jointly applied for funding for the Mattapany Rural Legacy Area in southern St. Mary’s County along with a county-endorsed expansion of this area by 6,800 acres to include land in St. Mary’s City, Park Hall, and around the U.S. Navy’s Webster Field. DNR approved the expansion and also awarded $771,543 to purchase easements in this now enlarged Rural legacy area.
“Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proud to be entrusted with these significant grant funds to advance conservation,” said PTLT Executive Director, Andrew Garte. “We wish to thank the St. Mary’s County Commissioners, the Maryland Board of Public Works, and the Rural Legacy Board for giving us this opportunity to continue to protect rural land use and buffer military facilities in St. Mary’s County. The awarding of these grants further cements PTLT’s growing reputation for effectiveness.”
PTLT’s mission is to sustain the region’s biodiversity and water resources through a network of protected landscapes. The organization recognizes that forest and farmland and the region’s unique historic and scenic character are vital to a healthy economy and citizens’ sense of well-being. PTLT acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. The Trust has conserved more than 5,000 acres of land in perpetuity, keeping it as farm and forest to meet today’s needs and those of future generations. For more information or to discuss the sale of an easement of land in either of these two Rural Legacy Areas, contact the Trust at info@patuxent-Tidewater.org. For general information, visit www.patuxent-tidewater.org.
Contact: Andrew Garte
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, Inc.
410-533-0042 / email@example.com