The Conservancy isn't always in the driver's seat. Sometimes we're on the sidelines, supporting others in pursuit of a common goal. That was the case when we facilitated a three-year partnership with the State of Delaware resulting in the preservation of 125 acres in New Castle County.
In 2003, the Conservancy was approached by the estate of the late Eleanor Marshall Reynolds, a woman who wished that her 125-acre property be enjoyed by members of the public interested in the natural world and natural science. The property, called Oversee Farm, contains freshwater marshes, open meadows, agricultural fields, a hardwood forest of white oak, tulip poplar, American beech and hickory, and some breathtaking views of Red Clay Creek. At the center of the property lies a historic farm complex. This spectacular landscape also harbors at least seventeen plant species identified as rare in Delaware.
Oversee Farm also connects with other public and private conservation lands, including those owned by the Red Clay Reservation, the Mt. Cuba Center and the Delaware Nature Society. It represents a hole in the doughnut, as described by Nathan Hayward, a member of the Delaware chapter's Board of Turstees who played a role in securing funds for the conservation of Oversee Farm as the state's former Secretary of Transportation.
The Conservancy jumped at the chance to facilitate this agreement that would conserve an important piece of the state's natural and cultural heritage. Oversee Farm could have been sold to one of the numerous buyers showing an interest in developing all or part of the property over the years. Instead, representatives of the Reynolds estate believed that the Conservancy's mission was more compatible with the wishes of a passionate conservationist who knew every tree and pond on her land. It was partnership at work.
Size: 125 acres
Location: Northern New Castle County, near Hockessin
Habitat destruction and fragmentation due to residential development and invasive exotic weeds.
The Conservancy acquired Oversee Farm and conveyed a conservation easement to the State of Delaware in 2003. The state eventually acquired the property for inclusion in the state parks system.
Oversee Farm has been officially included as part of the state parks system, and will be managed in conjunction with the nearby Auburn Heights Preserve in Yorklyn.
State of Delaware, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, the Department of Transportation, and the Delaware Open Space Council
The state is in the process of planning how this unique property will be shared with the public. Stay tuned for more in the future!