The roots of the Ninevah Foundation reach back to the 1930s and the visionary founders of summer camps where children could learn the value of wilderness and the skills needed to live in the woods.
Ken and Susan Webb opened the first three Farm and Wilderness camps in Plymouth, Vermont in 1937. The camps thrived, and by 1960, the Webbs were eager to establish new camps. But finding open land wasn’t easy. Fields and forests were disappearing quickly as development spread through the Route 100 valley. When a 310-acre wooded tract, on the eastern side of Lake Ninevah in nearby Mount Holly, came up for sale, the Webbs and some Farm & Wilderness supporters seized the moment and bought it.
A few years later, this group formed the Wilderness Corporation to focus exclusively on conserving Lake Ninevah and the land around it, which was destined to be the site of two new Farm & Wilderness camps. Initially, the Corporation bought the camp’s holdings and an adjacent land parcel slated for development.
Over the next 30 years, the Wilderness Corporation acquired more land, eventually protecting almost 3,000 acres. In 1995, when the Corporation directors decided that a non-profit conservation organization could advance their purposes more effectively, they disbanded the Corporation and formed the Ninevah Foundation to carry on the work.
Thanks to public grants and private donations, the Ninevah Foundation has maintained and expanded the Corporation’s focus on lake and land conservation, thus preserving wildlife habitat and nature-friendly recreation. For instance, the Ninevah Foundation obtained three large grants under the federal Forest Legacy program, which supports landowners keeping their property “forever wild” while allowing public access for specified recreational use.
As a result of these efforts, the Ninevah Foundation helped complete an environmentally-critical wildlife corridor — sometimes referred to as the “bear corridor” — linking the northern and southern sections of the Green Mountain National Forest. The Ninevah Foundation has also led water quality maintenance and restoration for Lake Ninevah. By hiring scuba divers and training monitors to carry out surveillance and public education, the Ninevah Foundation has successfully contained infestations of Eurasian watermilfoil and maintains a vigil for other aquatic nuisances. The Foundation owns and maintains the dam on Lake Ninevah, and paid for extensive repairs to the dam in 2003.
In addition, The Ninevah Foundation has helped preserve local history by acquiring the historic Townsend Barn in Plymouth in 2015 and restoring the building, with support from private donors and a state historic preservation grant. (You can see a picture of the barn sitting on its new foundation in the photo carousel on the home page.)
In May 2018, the Ninevah Foundation formally affiliated with the Farm & Wilderness Foundation. To learn more about this partnership, go to the “News and Events” section of this website.