Along the busy corridor of Route One from Waldoboro to Rockland, School House Farm has endured selling fresh local product from a one room schoolhouse along the stretch of the St. George River. Now, the farm is protected as a legitimate farm, with a conservation easement held by Georges River Land Trust.

Over a decade ago, Bill Beckwith, the late owner of School House Farm, was determined to see his farmland not get “gobbled up” by development, which he could see happening in the area on open land.

His thinking was that by putting the farm into conservation, others would follow. He understood that access to viable farmland is essential to keep agriculture going, and most of the farms are interdependent by shared support services, leasing additional land and the attraction to farm-friendly consumers.

Now, his widow, Yelena Burdina, with the support of his three children, has conserved the farm. Burdina reflects that Beckwith left her an incredible gift for her child, Sasha, who has the opportunity to live on the land and be part of a farming lifestyle.

“It is a lot of work, “ Burdina said, “but I understand Bill’s vision for why he wanted to conserve the land and I myself loving being able to work in the soil and see the result of that effort.”

This farm abuts another track of conserved farmland along Route One, and several acres of cropland are leased to School House on the adjacent easement property. Together, these adjoining tracks create 120 acres of conserved farmland, 1/2 mile of protected shorefront and 12 acres of marshland, resilient to rising sea levels, along the St. George River.

The story of conservation happens one piece at a time through people like Burdina. The Georges River Land Trust has been working throughout the Georges River watershed to conserve and protect natural resources and traditional character of the 225-square mile Georges River watershed region.

For more information about the Land Trust and its programs to conserve working lands as well as engage people in the value outdoor spaces, check out georgesriver.org or email annette@grlt.org.