Nature Conservancy Donates Land to Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity
The Nature Conservancy has recently conserved an additional 25.9 acres at Quarry Hill Natural Area, one of the Conservancy’s 55 natural areas across Vermont, for a total of 105 protected acres at this preserve. The Nature Conservancy is donating a half-acre portion of the property to Bennington County Habitat for Humanity to build an affordable single family home. Quarry Hill is a Vermont rarity. It is one of the most botanically rich sites in all of Vermont. Aside from special natural communities that boast cliffs and mineral rich limestone bedrock, Quarry Hill is home to over 40 rare, threatened or endangered plants – 22 of which can only be found in ten or fewer Vermont locations. “The Nature Conservancy has been assembling this natural area, project by project, parcel by parcel, for almost 15 years. It is testimony to the planning, patience and foresight that successful conservation demands. We are also very pleased that we’re able to identify a building lot that doesn’t harbor any of the botanical rarities that make Quarry Hill so special, and donate it to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a local family,” said Jon Binhammer, director of land protection.
This project was partially funded by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and private donations. VHCB is an independent state agency committed to investing in the dual goals of conserving and protecting Vermont’s farms and special places and creating affordable housing for Vermonters. The Quarry Hill project epitomizes this vision, said VHCB executive director Gus Seelig. “The alliance between The Nature Conservancy and Bennington County Habitat for Humanity is a great example of the partnerships built over many years between housing and conservation groups in Vermont,” he said. “These partnerships multiply the benefits to our communities.”
The future single family home will abut the conserved land and provide forest and field habitats for the family’s children to learn and play in, while serving an important affordable housing need in the community of Pownal. “Bennington County Habitat for Humanity is grateful to The Nature Conservancy for the gift of this incredibly beautiful land,” said Susan Sommer, executive director with the Habitat affiliate. “Not only will Habitat’s future partner homebuyer own an energy-efficient, affordable house, but they also will have the opportunity to call this amazing part of Vermont home.”
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. In Vermont, they have helped conserve over 300,000 acres of land and 1200 miles of shoreline. They own and manage 55 natural areas. To learn more, visit nature.org/vermont.