“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.”
In 2005, Sunfield Education Association, in partnership with Jefferson Land Trust, purchased its current eighty-one-acre property in Port Hadlock, Washington. The property was the former Spalding dairy farm and had been slated for development into sixteen five-acre home sites. Ownership of the land was acquired after an intensive three-year campaign, securing grants and private donations through grant writing and grassroots fundraising.
During Sunfield’s three-year fundraising campaign, awards were received from the USDA Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and the Jefferson County Conservation Futures Fund. These grants ensured the placement of the land – with the exception of five acres for educational facilities – under a conservation easement, preserving the property as a working farm in perpetuity. Our conservation easement is of extreme value in our rural community, where farmland is often lost to housing and commercial development.
The easement protects twenty-six acres of forest, eight acres of wetlands, and forty-two acres of agricultural land in perpetuity. The soil types on the land vary considerably – from shallow soils of twenty inches in depth above hardpans in the forested areas to relatively deep soils, such as Cassolary Sandy Loam, of five feet in depth in the good drainage areas located to either side of the wetlands. Prime agricultural soils are composed of Aguen Silt Loam (AgB) and Belfast Silty Clay Loam, wet variant (Bm). Soil testing has been done on the parcel and an extensive soil log exists. The wetlands bisect the property along a north to south line and some are overgrown with wild roses. Cedar, maple, alder, and fir make up the forests which lie on the western boundary.
Today, Sunfield not only honors the protection terms of the conservation easement, but also improves the soil by practicing biodynamic farming techniques and restores the land by projects such as planting trees in the wetlands.
Our conservation easement, secured in partnership with Jefferson Land Trust, protects twenty-six acres of forest, eight acres of wetlands, and forty-two acres of agricultural land in perpetuity. Sunfield works to restore the land and improve the soil by planting trees in the wetland and implementing biodynamic farming practices.