The edges of Mary and Claude Cuchna’s fields, like many across the region, are lined with mature Osage Orange trees. Sometimes called hedge apples, these trees are commonly used as fence rows in rural areas and seen across Northern Ohio. What’s not as common about these trees: the land on which they grow has been permanently preserved.
The Cuchnas recently granted a conservation easement to Western Reserve Land Conservancy on their 20-acre property in southwest Medina County. This is the first easement the Land Conservancy has recorded in Homer Township.
Prime agricultural land makes up approximately 11 acres of the property where hay has been actively produced for the past several years. The property also contains an approximately 7 acres of a former orchard that is now managed as wildlife habitat by the landowners. A small wetland also located on the property helps feed the headwater streams of the Black River’s East Branch.
“There’s nothing quite like walking under the old apple and pear trees when they’re flowering in the springtime,” shared Mary Cuchna. “There’s a constant buzz of bees, though it’s not quite as loud as it used to be. It’s important to preserve special places like this on our earth before they’re gone … that’s why we decided to put a conservation easement on our property.”
A conservation easement preserves land by prohibiting or severely limiting future development. While it is voluntarily granted by the landowner, the easement is permanent and runs with the land. The Land Conservancy will monitor the property and enforce the easement in perpetuity.
“By granting a conservation easement on their land, the Cuchnas have ensured this prime farmland, woodland and wetland will forever be preserved,” shared Andy McDowell, vice president for western field operations for Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Landowners interested in granting conservation easements on their property are encouraged to contact McDowell at 440-774-4226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.