Susquehanna County

The Tewksbury Wildlife & Butterfly Sanctuary

Brooklyn Township • 40 Acres

This property has been in the Tewksbury family for over one hundred years, having been purchased by Ross and Genevieve (Mackey) Tewksbury in 1908. Prior to 1908, Harman Canfield Fairchild owned this property and built the farm house in 1866. Herman Leroy Fairchild, Harman’s son and a boy at that time, went on to become a well-known geology professor at the University of Rochester, having gotten his start examining the Devonian sandstones on the property.

Marie Tewksbury, one of three children, lived on the property her entire life and maintained it after her parents died in the mid-1960s. Marie died there in 2006 at the age of 80. During the property’s hay day, the family had many farming endeavors, including extensive apple orchards (with heirloom varieties), dairy farming, horses, and raising hounds for hunting. The family had a love and appreciation of nature. They were quite particular about the old growth trees on the land, preserving almost all of them and using only fallen trees for firewood. The property boasts a documented co-state champion shag bark hickory tree along with other county record species. In the years since Marie’s death, the property has sat idle and in 2010 the family members decided to permanently protect 40 acres of the 105-acre farm.

The 40-acre Conservation Area is a mix of habitats: hardwood forest, hedgerows of mature hardwoods, successional fields and wooded areas, old apple orchards, an agricultural field, wetlands, intermittent and permanent streams, and a 1.5 acre pond created by a beaver dam. Numerous species of old growth trees, some of record size, are scattered throughout the property, including several species of hickory, Red Oak, American Beech, White Ash and maples. A number of stonewalls mark former edges of fields and property. Other than mowing of the hayfield (a small portion of which lies within the Conservation Area), there is currently no human activity occurring here. Outside the bounds of the Conservation Area, the rest of the Farm (65 acres) is comprised of mature and successional forests, an agricultural field and a pond of substantial size. Building structures include a historic home, barn and several old outbuildings.

This conservation easement project is the result of a wetland mitigation exchange with Williams Field Services Company LLC, and restitution for an equal acreage of wetlands that will be damaged or destroyed elsewhere in the county. The purpose of this conservation easement is to assure that the Conservation Area will be retained in its open space and natural condition in perpetuity. NBLT is grateful for the opportunity to be part of this historic conservation project and would like to thank the descendants of Ross and Genevieve Tewksbury for their commitment to this special conservation project.

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