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Open Space Institute teams up with the Center for Discovery to protect Catskills farm

NEW YORK, NY - April 27, 2005 - Today the Open Space Institute announced that its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, had acquired a conservation easement encumbering almost 300 acres of farmland in the southeastern Catskills owned by The Center for Discovery. OSI's acquisition, made possible with funding from the Lila Acheson and Dewitt Wallace Endowment, marks the first time an agricultural conservation easement has been purchased in Sullivan County. In the Catskill region, OSI has conserved thousands of acres through partnerships with private landowners, other non-profit groups, and public agencies. 

The property, known as Stonewall Preserve, is located in the hamlet of Hurleyville. The Center for Discovery is a unique non-profit entity serving children and adults with severe disabilities. As the largest employer in Sullivan County, The Center for Discovery's educational, residential and rehabilitation programs include the operation of the nearby Thanksgiving Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with two-hundred and fifty members. “We are pleased to work with The Center for Discovery in perpetuating its outstanding stewardship of the lands it owns. The expansion of The Center for Discovery is great news for the community, local farmers, and the employees who work for The Center for Discovery and help carry out its strong environmental ethic and commitment to children and adults with severe disabilities,” said Joe Martens, president of the Open Space Institute. “This project presented a unique opportunity to protect farmland and support a charitable cause that is critically important in so many ways,” added Martens. 

According to Patrick H. Dollard, chief executive officer of The Center for Discovery, the non-profit was founded more than fifty years ago. With a staff of 1,000 teachers, aids, nurses, clinicians and many others, The Center for Discovery provides innovative learning programs for children and adults. “The Center for Discovery is a place where people come together and merge community-based traditional farming practices with 21st Century sustainable farming techniques to simply get closer to the food we all eat. We're glad to have a partner in OSI and we're particularly glad to see this beautiful farm, which is integral to the agrarian history of Sullivan County, protected,” said Dollard. 

Jennifer Grossman, OSI's vice president for land acquisition, handled the closing, which took place on March 8th. “Our work in the Catskills is more important now than ever before given the development pressures on fertile farmland. I commend The Center for Discovery for its stewardship and commitment to farmland conservation,” said Grossman.

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