“Focus Keith!” I’m on the move, always another challenge to distract me and learn! So how do I succinctly tie in all the ideas filling my mind for Earth Day #51 in 2021?
I’m staying close to home, minimizing my use of hydrocarbons, savoring the power produced by our farm’s 1,489 solar panels as well as the 39 panels on my own home. I recently went to check on our peach trees which are now in full bloom, as well as the apple trees which are currently at the ‘green tip stage.’ I brought along our new Beagle rescue, Nettie, who loves roaming the orchards, sniffing around, but unaware of the beauty above. Heavily weighing on my mind is the hope that no late spring freezes devastate the buds or the blossoms in the next month. As I look at the view from the orchard ~300 feet above Long Island Sound, I can make out the Long Island shoreline “cliffs” at Suffolk 25 miles away to the south, Bluff Head 6 miles away to the North… and thousands of acres in between. I’ve hiked most of the trails in Guilford, and am thankful for those that make this access possible, especially the Guilford Land Conservation Trust.
As our family celebrates 150 years of ‘growing’ in Guilford on the same home farm, and 14 generations later since 1639 when John Bishop signed the Guilford Covenant with other families who fled from the Church of England, I reflect upon a similar stewardship to land and our town bestowed by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust. GLCT has had a warm spot in the Bishop family ever since its inception in 1965. Albert Bishop was on the first Board of Directors and Gene Bishop was instrumental as a member of the Conservation Commission in starting GLCT.
The first property acquired and preserved by GLCT was donated by the Bishop family: 3rd generation members Arthur and Charles, along with Albert and Gene of the 4th generation. The 2.2 acre salt marsh donated had been in the family since 1871. Historically almost every farm had a portion of salt meadow that came with the original division of land in the 1600’s. This was because of the high value of weed-free salt marsh hay that was harvested from the marshes within the estuaries that were used on the farms. A history of local salt marsh usage and their importance is another involved topic for another time.
Past GLCT Presidents (left to right): Richard Curtiss, Clark Binkley, Carolie Evans, Ben Bullard, Dick Whitehead and Keith Bishop. Photo taken 1989
In October 28, 1965, the Shore Line Times front page lead article proclaimed the family donation to the newly formed GLCT. I confess I was only 10 years old when GLCT was formed and I didn’t learn or grasp the significance till my teenage years. …