Natural Lands has announced the preservation of Great Oak Farm, a 10-acre property in North Coventry Township. The property includes meadows and forest and about 640 feet of Pigeon Creek. The property was named for its magnificent white oak that pre-dates European colonization. Now protected with a conservation easement, the farm will never be developed.
“When we purchased the Great Oak Farm in 2018, my husband and I knew we had come across something very special, so when we were approached with the idea of a conservation easement, we jumped at the opportunity,” said property owner Jessica Neff-Boyd. “After buying the property, we learned about the connections of this land to the Lenape Native American Tribe, how the original deed was held by the Penn family, and all about the oak tree.”
“I hope that conserving our property with Natural Lands will further both historical and open space local preservation efforts,” said Sean Boyd. “Perhaps the biggest benefit of all will be spreading the importance of conserving these natural areas, so that our children and their children will be able to enjoy them.”
Great Oak Farm offers scenic views to travelers along Saint Peters Road, as well as visitors hiking the nearby trails at Coventry Woods Park, a 702-acre, township-owned property immediately adjacent to the farm.
The property includes 640 feet of tributaries to Pigeon Creek, designated by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as a high-quality stream for its cold, clear water. Pigeon Creek is a tributary to the Schuylkill River, which flows to the Delaware River. The Delaware River watershed provides drinking water to 17 million people; protecting land along the watersheds streams is critically important since forested stream edges filter pollutants and reduce runoff.
“Every successful conservation project starts with property owners that make a choice to preserve their land,” said Natural Lands President Oliver Bass. “We are grateful to the Boyd family for making this choice. The conservation easement on Great Oak Farm will ensure this 10-acre property, which connects to a larger network of open space in the region, will remain natural, beautiful, and ecologically beneficial forever.”
A stand-out natural feature of the property is the magnificent white oak tree for which the farm was named. In 1932, during the 250th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s founding, a Philadelphia science teacher set out to identify and document surviving “Penn’s trees,” specimens that were alive when the colony was occupied by European settlers. In 1977, the Penn Tree Committee updated the list, identifying 130 trees they believed were at least 300 years old. The white oak tree on the Boyd’s property is one such survivor, now among only 100 believed to remain.
Funding to purchase the conservation easement was provided by Chester County’s Northern Conservation Initiative Program and North Coventry Township.
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