While Marilyn Barnum always felt a strong desire to conserve her land and leave it as a lasting legacy to nature and its inhabitants, she was not able to complete her dream of placing her land under easement.

However, her daughter was able to follow through with her mother’s intentions, and as the executor of her mother’s estate donated an easement on 19 acres along the St. George River in Cushing this past August. Emily Barnum felt this was an easy decision to make. “My mother truly loved this land and wanted nothing more than to have it continue as is, open and available for wildlife,” she said in a press release.

With a principal eye toward creating habitat for wildlife, Marilyn took great care of the property where she lived since the mid-1970s. She had a great passion for trees, both native and those less common to Maine. Her love for this place is evident in a letter she wrote to her daughter: “Yesterday, I took a long walk with my dog Jasper. We walked by the river, through the fields and woods. I watched the wild turkey flock search for food and safety. While I am living alone without my family, I do not feel entrapped or isolated. The river has not forsaken me; the pine trees are alive and smell good. The sun rises and sets every day.”

The property protects 500 feet of shoreline on the river that provides waterfowl and wading bird habitat. Stream corridors traverse the land and feed into the river and Hyler Cove — the site of a heron rookery. Portions of the open land have highly valuable farm soils that will now be protected from development and available for future agricultural use. The easement abuts land already under conservation owned by Tony Antolini.

The land trust said it is pleased to hold both of these easements, creating contiguous protected lands at the end of McCarter Point Road in Cushing.

For more information about the conservation work and programs of the Georges River Land Trust, call 594-5166 or visit grlt.org.