Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Preserving farmland for generations to come

NOW: Natalie’s Everyday Heroes: Preserving farmland for generations to come

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Tall Pines Conservancy is dedicated to preserving the farmland and waterways in Lake Country. The non-profit recently received its largest donation ever.

It's a 265-acre farm along the Fox River in Waukesha.

Anita Ransome-Kuchler has lived there since the 1950's. She tells CBS 58 why she made this generous donation and her vision to preserve it for the future.

"I've always loved the country. It's always been my favorite," Ransome-Kuchler explained.

Ransome-Kuchler, 86, has spent decades on the farm her father bought back in 1948, but the land's legacy goes back much farther.

"This is a historic property. The house was built in 1848," she said.

Ransome-Kuchler oversaw the property when it was a dairy farm.

"In the '50's, late 50's, we already had 160 head of cattle," she said.

She is now making sure these acres will look the same for generations to come.

"I never wanted the land built on. I didn't want houses. I didn't want a gold course. I didn't want anything commercial," she said.

Preserving the land is one thing -- her views on saving the planet have also evolved.

"I was sort of scoffing at the whole thing at first. Like many people do. And then I started realizing how important it is," she said.

Not only does she want to see it preserved -- she wants to fight climate change.

"My heart gradually changed, and my desire to do something for humanity grew," she explained.

So, she donated 265 acres of land to Tall Pines Conservancy -- a non-profit dedicated to preserving farmland in Lake Country.

"Conservation is extremely important in this area," said Paul Meuer, land protection manager for Tall Pines.

He's excited by Ransome-Kuchler's vision for the future.

"This is a tremendous donation. This is larger than anything that we've had in the past as far as land that has been donated to us," he said.

Tall Pines will be teaming up with the non-profit Savannah Institute, which specializes in agro-forestry. The idea is to plant trees to store carbon.

"Which is a concept of planting trees and incorporating that in a symbiotic relationship with conventional farming," Meuer said.

"We need, as a society, and as a country, and as a world, to stop deforesting," Ransome-Kuchler added.

Ransome-Kuchler would also like to see the barn renovated into a learning center.

"It's so vital for the children to have an education on it, and to come out to the farm and to see what we're doing," she said.

Preserving a way of life, and helping the planet, too.

"I'm just really excited to be working with Anita on this project. I think it's an amazing vision that she has," Meuer said.

The Savanah Institute plans on starting to plant trees next year. The property will also continue to be a working farm.

"I know that Tall Pines is going to do their best to visualize my goal," Ransome-Kuchler said.

For more information on Tall Pines Conservancy, visit their website.

If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].

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