Growing up on a family farm

Ian from Frenchtown, NJ is a college student who wrote to the FERC to tell them about his life growing up on a farm in NJ:

Growing up on my family farm has been one of the most defining aspects of my childhood, and it has played a huge hand in making me who I am today. There has been nothing like being able to walk outside and having the world at my fingertips; whether I hunt, farm, or work in my family’s garden, I was privileged to have this experience as a child.

The experience, and life lessons learned from living where I do, is something that I would have loved to give my future children. Sadly there is something that could stop me from gifting them that experience if the Penn East Pipeline is approved. My family’s farm will not be the same. The pipeline will run directly through the center of my family’s property, which shockingly, would be terrible. For starters the pipeline would destroy farmland and take away a source of income for my parents. Also, it would run directly through the woods, destroying cover and shelter for the deer and other wildlife. Last but not least, it has the potential to not only contaminate the water supply to my house, but also for the nearby town of Frenchtown.

To recap and reinforce, the Penn East Pipeline will destroy everything that I love about where I live. The farming will be compromised along with hunting; most importantly, my family and I could be gone as well and potentially countless other families in my area if our water source is destroyed.

If this did not convince you about how special my home is to me, below is my college essay that I wrote a year ago. It pertains to how defining farms are to those families who own them. (After you read my essay you will understand this comment: “In addition, my favorite and my granddad’s favorite hedgerow is in the direct path of this pipeline and will be demolished.”)

He then goes on to share the essay he wrote for a college class the year before. The topic of the essay was to describe a place “where you are perfectly content”, and to further describe “what do you do or experience there, and why is this meaningful?”.

Opening day of hunting season has arrived and our family tradition remains the same; we get up before dawn and at the kitchen table, over a steaming pot of coffee and my mom’s freshly baked pumpkin bread, we reminisce about opening days in the past, and discuss the new day ahead. My family surrounds me at my kitchen table and I am content.

It is finally time to head outside. Frost crunches under my feet as I begin the walk from my house to my favorite stand. I live on a farm and this long walk goes quickly, or so I think, as my footsteps keep pace with my heart’s deafening beat. I know these woods like the back of my hand as I have walked them since I was a child and yet, in the dark, they look so foreign to me.

I finally come to my stand and settle in to wait. Mother nature is not on anyone’s schedule except her own. It is this unpredictability about my time in the woods that is intriguing and it is the only environment in which I am completely content.

The sport of hunting is important to me on so many levels. It is about spending time with family and being alone. It is about being in a place where tradition holds value, where knowledge and skills are taught and passed down through generations carefully, and where, at my age; I can contribute to providing for my family.

When I am outside in the woods or meadow, I see nature in its most natural state. I sit silently and pay attention to observing animals going about their business without any human interference in their natural habitat. Being in this environment is peaceful and there is a quiet that I experience here that is unique to
all other aspects of my life.

I am a student, soccer and baseball player, golfer, SCUBA diver, fisherman, and coach. I volunteer, travel with my family, bowl with my friends every Monday night, and I am an adrenaline junkie who seeks adventure and excitement in everything that I do.

However, I am fortunate that I understand at such a young age that every once in a while I need to take a break from all the excitement and activity, and take time to be still and think about what ever comes to mind. I was lucky to find hunting as my source of meditation. Sitting in the woods twenty feet in the air with nothing but untamed nature surrounding me is the only place in which I am at peace and completely content.

The most recent proposed route shows the pipeline going right through the middle of the farm Ian so clearly loves.

His submission is available here:

Ian’s submission – FERC Generated PDF

Ian’s submission – FERC Generated PDF Alternate Site

Published by

Mike Spille

I'm a thinker, an analyzer, a synthesizer. Maybe not in that order. I live in West Amwell NJ with my wife Kristina, our two kids Day and Z, our two dogs Fern and Cinna, and three cats Ponce de Leon, Oliver, and Doolittle.

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