Driving south along Route 26 it’s hard not to notice the Batchelder’s Spring Brook Farm, an oasis of open space surrounded by subdivisions as you enter the City of Rome.
The Batchelder’s can trace the ownership of the farm back to the original land grant that was given by the Queen of England in 1705. It has been in their family since 1925, when Virginia Batchelder’s grandfather farmed the land.
The farmhouse is on the NYS Register of Historic Places and is the second oldest house in Rome still located in the place it was built (sometimes, houses have been relocated, but not in this case).
A special place for hundreds of years
Even with such a storied past, the 137-acre Spring Brook Farm is extraordinary in what it offers today. The property is home to productive fields and rolling pastures, managed woodlands for both maple syrup and timber, and a section of the famed NYS snowmobile corridor.
Yet even while Virginia is passionate about farming, she’s particularly enthusiastic about the wildlife, especially the birds, on her farm. Over the years she’s created gardens that are Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation and has participated for years in the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count.
There’s an abundance of birds and other wildlife, in no small part because her efforts. Virginia and her family recognize that the Wood Creek and several tributaries which flow through the property as well as a large wetland complex and numerous springs that seep out of the ridge are important to wildlife and groundwater protection.
It could be gone in a blink of an eye
The Batchelder’s know that this amazing place is fragile when set against the test of time, and the legacy of this farm and their family, is something that is important for them to conserve.
“I have peace of mind knowing that it will always be free from the surrounding development pressure, and that’s a huge relief,” remarked Virginia, continuing, “For me, this is more than my homestead, this is a wildlife preserve…one of the last places of its kind and that’s why it needs to be protected…partnering with Tug Hill Tomorrow made this dream come true.”