“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
In celebration of Mark Mueller’s passion for conserving wild and special places in his newly adopted home of West Virginia, the Mark Mueller Conservation Fund at the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) is established.
This special Fund works with donations received to protect and restore forests, farms, and wild places in areas of interest to Mark. WVLT uses the tools of voluntary conservation easements and land acquisitions to protect land for its values as wildlife habitat, wilderness, open and scenic space, drinking water production, and agriculture.
Mark’s target areas for the Fund’s work are around his homeplace in Sweedlin Valley, on the Potomac River’s South Fork, located on the West Virginia foothills of the scenic Shenandoah Mountain. Mark’s farm and another property cradling the Potomac’s South Fork are newly entered into conservation easements here. Mark hopes to link these two properties for an amazing stretch of protected wilderness in this valley. Mark loves restoring and expanding wilderness, so he wishes the fund to be tapped when special opportunities arise to secure land adjacent to National Forest or National Park wilderness areas. The fund also hopes to acquire land that will link nearby Shenandoah Mountain National Forest land to the Potomac’s south fork, creating a wildlife corridor.
Mark said, “I went to college for nature conservation and sustainable agriculture but veered off course into clinical research. Although I’m proud of my career, my heart is in conserving & expanding wilderness during this time of mass extinction. For my 50th birthday, my friend Manal took me to a progressive, small business workshop in Utah. I devised a plan to achieve in my 2nd half of life what I hoped to do in the 1st half. It would allow me to purchase land and resell it after putting it into conservation easements. Easement legal fees can be high, so it also aimed to provide financial assistance to local farmers whose children are unlikely to return to protect their family land heritage. I started by buying my own land, with the help of my land mates Avery Ouellette and Dan Glasson, and going through the conservation easement process. Further plans were thwarted by stage IV cancer. My new creative idea is this “Mark Mueller Conservation Fund”. The West Virginia Land Trust worked closely with me to design this unique plan to achieve my objectives now and after my death.”
Please consider a donation in celebration of Mark’s vision.
Together, Avery Ouellette, Dan Glasson and Mark Mueller own a farm in Pendleton County, West Virginia. In December 2020, the farm named “OMG Acres” was placed under a conservation easement by the West Virginia Land Trust to ensure this land is protected forever!
“We call this land OMG Acres. OMG stands for ‘Ouellette, Mueller, Glasson’ – the last names of the three co-owners – and it also stands for ‘Oh My Gawd’ for the sanctuary it offers from society’s craziness that too often carries us away from what is truly important and meaningful. This land is stunning and peaceful in all seasons. Our goal is to protect, preserve and expand this land and its wildlife. As these beautiful lands and wildlife become more threatened by encroaching development, subdivisions and mining, this land should continue to evolve as a place supporting healthy ecosystems, forest land, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat while also allowing sustainable farming when needed now and into the future,” –Mark Mueller, one of the owners of OMG Acres.