Horsepower Farm
Land Conservation Work
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Paul Birdsall’s work with land conservation is worthy of significant attention.  It was gratifying to see that he received recognition for his conservation efforts by being awarded the 2012 Espy Land Heritage Award by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in May 2012.

Paul had the foresight to realize the importance of preserving farmland way back in the 1970’s.  He believed that the quality of the soil in the Blue Hill area is exceptionally good.  The fine sandy loam on his farm maintains soil moisture and drains well.  The thought of watching the area farmland becoming developed was simply not acceptable to Paul.

Birdsall was one of the founding members of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, which was established in 1985,  to “conserve land and water of special ecological, natural, agricultural, scenic, cultural and recreational significance” in the Blue Hill area.

Paul started the “Farmland Forever” program at the Blue Hill Heritage Trust.  Through this effort, he was responsible for saving over 2000 acres of farmland from being developed.  Paul arranged for a conservation easement to be placed on his 383-acre farm.  Because of this easement, only farming will be allowed to take place on the land.  He also bought two other farms in the area and assured that they too would remain as farms by placing conservation easements on them and linking the two farms so that they could be purchased by two young farming families.  Thanks to the support of Paul and other volunteer members of the area, the Blue Hill Heritage Trust has worked to save over 6,200 acres at this point in time.

Paul has also been committed to the work of Maine Farmland Trust.  He is a founding member of the statewide group and still serves on their Board of Directors.  He was responsible for starting the Forever Farms program at Maine Farmland Trust. Through the “Buy, Protect, Sell” program which was created from the example of Paul’s innovative conservation work, the Maine Farmland Trust has conserved 7,700 acres of farmland in Maine and enabled thirty-four farmers to be given the opportunity to have access to land that they can farm.

Paul Birdsall (on left) received the 2012 Espy Land Heritage Award from Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  Tim Glidden, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust President, (on right) presented him with the award at a Maine Land Trust Conference.  (photo kindly shared with permission of William Helprin of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust)