Wonderhaven in Boulder Permanently Protected

Wonderhaven is a 5-acre parcel in Boulder.

Wonderhaven in Boulder Permanently Protected

Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT) is pleased to announce the closing of a voluntary Conservation Easement on a unique property in a densely populated community within the Rural NorthOwners of Wonderhaven place a Conserved sign onto a fence post. Boulder neighborhood in the City of Boulder.

The owners, Tim and Kerry Francis, founded Wonderhaven in 2014 establishing a half-acre garden on their 5-acre parcel. Over the last 9 years, they have grown the garden into a center of social connection for the community. The property is known by many locals as Dharma’s Garden. Dharma was the name given to a baby deer born on the land in 2011, to the wonderment of the kindergarten students next door and is a constant reminder of the beauty of the meadow grasses around the garden.

During the growing season, Tim and Kerry run an onsite market, host school field trips, volunteer opportunities and hands-on educational workshops that highlight the property’s natural resources. Wonderhaven’s scenic wildland meadow is further characterized by Wonderland Creek, which bisects the entire property, providing crucial riparian habitat.

“Wonderhaven is truly a special place, as it is located in the heart of a highly developed area. Large swaths of land like this are rare within Boulder’s city limits. MALT is honored to work with Tim and Kerry…their stewardship of this beautiful community garden, education center and haven for wildlife, as a lasting legacy for future generations, is a testament to their strong commitment for land and water conservation,” says MALT Executive Director Lynn Caligiuri.

Together, we’re saving the land…and leaving a legacy.

After officially conserving Wonderhaven, the Francis’ shared this beautiful statement. 

We are thrilled and relieved to have just closed on our conservation easement, protecting in perpetuity an incredible parcel of land—a living homestead and working farm in the middle of Boulder—that was otherwise destined to become yet another luxury housing development. MALT was the perfect partner for us in this conservation effort; from your very first visit to our land, you saw immediately the preciousness of this place, and understood clearly our vision for protecting it. At just 5 acres, ours is a unique conservation project that is easy to overlook and undervalue, and indeed it is one of the smallest conservation easements that MALT now holds. But to us, this small working farm, surrounded by city, is about the most important thing there is. Not only is this place beloved by many—and indeed has tremendous value to the surrounding community—but we feel it is our profound responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to love this place, too. I am reminded of that wonderful quote from Wendell Berry’s essay, The Gift of Good Land:

“For the land is described as an “inheritance”; the community is understood to exist not just in space, but also in time. One lives in the neighborhood, not just of those who now live “next door,” but of the dead who have bequeathed the land to the living, and of the unborn to whom the living will in turn bequeath it. But we can have no direct behavioral connection to those who are not yet alive. The only neighborly thing we can do for them is to preserve their inheritance: we must take care, among other things, of the land, which is never a possession, but an inheritance to the living, as it will be to the unborn.”

What a tragedy it would have been to lose this place! I find great joy in imagining, 200 years from now, the laughter of children running gleefully through the meadow, just as they do now. I imagine those future harvests and markets and festivals, and I am filled with hope. I can’t think of anything we need more right now than hope for the future. And to me, more than anything, that’s what our partnership with MALT represents—hope for the future, solidified through our actions now.

I can’t express enough how grateful we are to each and every one of the people at MALT who helped us to achieve this shared success. Every step of the way, MALT’s staff has been deeply supportive and engaged in the process with us, wonderfully patient with us when we needed extra time, and quickly responsive when things needed to move quickly. We started out knowing next to nothing about conservation easements, but through MALT’s expert guidance, I feel that we now have a deep understanding; and I am confident that our efforts to protect this land for future generations will be a resounding success.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Timothy Francis … aka “Farmer Tim”