Annie Sanders wanted protect her 140-acre family farm from residential sprawl and non-agriculture uses so she donated a conservation easement to Wood-Land-Lakes in 2003. Land grants go back to the early 1800’s on this LaGrange County land and it has been farmed since the mid 1800’s, with her parents purchasing it in 1940. Irrigation has been used since the 1950’s to grow row crops and vegetables. An advocate for healthy watersheds, Annie is doing her part to protect the watershed along Pigeon River by protecting this farm from development.
With the confidence that Wood-Land-Lakes would be guarding the family farm from development and non-agriculture uses, Annie decided it was time to sell the farm to a local farm family.
Now, Annie still owns a homestead, barn, and nearly 20 acres of woodland adjacent to the 140-acre farm. Most of the woods are designated as a wetland; and wetlands are an irreplaceable component of a healthy watershed. In her lifetime, Annie’s mother was the protector of the wetlands, making sure they were not disturbed . . . . . now it was Annie’s turn.
Fast-forward to 2010 and Annie has decided to once again be a prime example of protecting the Pigeon River watershed by donating a conservation easement on her wooded acreage.
Annie said that the property has great appeal to her, her children, and members of their extended family. “Protecting it permanently will give us a greater peace of mind about its future, and, I believe, be a benefit to the community as well as the neighborhood,” she said.
The house and barn are original and very typical of early farmsteads in the area; at one time, the barn was a “drive-thru” for the horse and wagon. Annie maintains the buildings and hopes to secure a place on the National Register for historic buildings for them one day.
The woods are home to a variety of native wildlife and flora and are a natural backdrop for the nature photographer in Annie’s blood. Since the protected agriculture area and the woodland area are contiguous, they naturally create wildlife habitats and corridors - forever.
Annie Sanders is a modern day steward of the Pigeon Creek watershed.