Anya Tikka | Democrat
Taking part in the ribbon cutting in front of the new Delaware Highlands Conservancy New York Office in Bethel are, from left: Farmer Greg Swartz holding Simon Kowalchuck-Swartz, Sullivan County Legislature Chair Scott B. Samuelson, Delaware Conservancy President Greg Belcanino, Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm, Delaware Highlands Conservation Executive Director Sue Currier, and the center's Education and Stewardship Coordinator Amanda Subjin holding her son Zebbin.
Delaware-Highland Conservancy opens new digs
By Anya Tikka
BETHEL Delaware Highlands Conservancy opened a new center in Bethel, on a 120-acre property whose owner, commercial fisherman Lou Barr, lives mainly in Alaska. The center has the full use of the house for office space, and the opportunity to use the property for education and gardening, said Conservancy President Greg Belcanino at the opening. “The whole property is protected by a conservation easement,” he added.
Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm said he welcomed the center in Bethel, saying it was a perfect fit, and County Legislature Chairman Scott B. Samuelson said he was glad to have the conservancy in the district he represents.
Virginia Kennedy, the organization’s Outreach and Development manager, described the center’s plans in detail. “We’re going to have a garden, and an orchard, and a teaching garden,” she said. “As well as the networking and educational programs.”
The Conservancy’s New York branch has been in a shared office in the Government Center in Monticello for the past few years, and its headquarters are in Hawley, PA.
On the day of the Grand Opening, the Land Trust Alliance announced a $236,000 grant to the Conservancy.
Executive Director Sue Currier explained the conservancy works with landowners to protect natural habitat and farmland. Property owners can sign agreements that protect their property’s natural values in the form of easements that go with the property from then on, even if ownership changes. Its website states the Conservancy is “dedicated to conserving the natural heritage and quality of life in the Upper Delaware River region in partnership with the region’s landowners and communities.”