Piecing together an oasis
In 2001, Chuck and Nancy Cladel donated a 10-acre parcel in East Hanover Township to The Manada Conservancy as a nature preserve, and in 2004 they added another 3 acre parcel to their donation. Before donating the property, the Cladels spent many years enhancing the habitat and removing invasive species, and a long list of migrating birds has been documented as they stop over for a brief rest on their long journeys. This combined preserve offers wildlife habitat for migrating birds, native plants and other wildlife, and is now being managed and enhanced by the Manada Conservancy. Several Eagle Scout projects have improved the property–a reforestation project and a native meadow project, an observation deck and a nature trail. We are working toward the ability to allow public access for passive recreation here. As more subdivisions spring up around it, this natural area becomes more of an oasis.
In 2008, the Cladels placed a conservation easement on their adjoining homestead parcel, bringing the total protected area to just under 20 acres. In this way, they have also protected a “sense of place” for their farmhouse, which is on the National Historic Register. The homestead property also boasts a beautiful pond, which brings a wide variety of bird and animal life to the property, and increases the biodiversity that it supports. The vision that the Cladels had for their property was realized over several years, and has resulted in the perpetual protection of high conservation value, and the realization of their wish for others to be able to enjoy it as well.