Bob Ellis lived simply in a cabin on two acres opposite the main entrance to the Wendell State Forest. He felt a profound connection to the natural world, as shown by his art work, his volunteer work, and his ultimate decision to bequeath his home to Mount Grace to be sold to support land conservation.
“If we don't take active care of our planet and its riches, we shall die—inside first, then physically,” Bob said, in reaching out to the Trust about his land. “Leaving my legacy for conservation is proof positive that I have cured my soul.”
Bob’s passing in 2013 was commemorated by his friends and neighbors with an evening of readings and memories at the Town Library. Dan Leahy, who worked with Bob and Mount Grace to negotiate the terms of the bequest, remembered Bob as wishing “to see every young person in the country learn about and care about land conservation and nature.”
Dan also helped expedite efforts to sell the cabin, bringing Bob’s goal to fruition. The cabin’s new owner, Sara Jenney, an electrician working at Northfield Mount Hermon School, will raise her three-year-old daughter Nolah on the land. An accomplished homesteader, Jenney will be bringing her seventeen chickens, five rabbits, and three hives of bees to Wendell, and plans to add vegetables, fruit trees, and eventually goats and pigs, to create a small organic farm to sustain her and her daughter.
“It’s very important that we raise as much of our food as we can,” says Jenney, a long-time gardener and student of permaculture. “I want Nolah to know where our food comes from.” The Jenneys plan to move in this winter after refurbishing the cabin, and Sara reports that Nolah is “really excited” about her new life in the woods.
(Read Bob's meditation on living amid wildlife below)