As a part of The Nature Conservancy, we are committed to treading lightly on the planet through conservation, efficiency and the use of renewable energy. That's why our swimming pool and guest showers are heated with energy from the sun, a wind generator powers up our office and our passive solar greenhouse provides a steady supply fresh vegetables for the kitchen. Even in the winter, it supplies produce to the local grocer in exchange for credit during the busy summer season. Our burly Belgian draft horses, Tony and LA, help us harvest firewood from the ranch for all of the fireplaces.
We are carrying out the vision of long-time ranch manager Lee Barhaugh. Lee began reducing the ranch's carbon footprint back in 2000 -- years before "sustainability" became a common term. Lee retired in 2007, but his dream continues with the help of The Lee Barhaugh Good Energy Fund that was established in his honor. The fund has generated nearly $100,000 to date, underwriting the greenhouse, solar water heaters as well as installation of high efficiency inserts for all of our fireplaces. Still to come: On-demand propane heaters, a water reservoir tank and a 10 kw solar or wind energy generation system.