Thursday, January 7, 2021

Pronio Family, Manada Conservancy Partner To Preserve 12 More Acres Of Farmland In Dauphin County

The Pronio Family and the
Manada Conservancy have partnered to preserve another 12 acres of farmland in Dauphin County.

In 2016, we worked with the Pronio family to take the first step in preserving their farm by placing a conservation easement on 27 acres of land with high conservation value. 

While taking a phased approach, the family’s goal is to protect the entire 145-acre farm. 

The property straddles the East Hanover - West Hanover municipal boundary and is not far from the rapid development taking place along Route 39. 

Preserving this bucolic farm ensures that the land will be available for wildlife habitat and agricultural use into the future, and that the open space and scenic value the farm provides may be appreciated for generations to come.

Both a tributary to the Manada Creek and a portion of the Horse-Shoe Trail traverse the property. Not far from the Kittatinny Ridge (locally known as Blue Mountain) the property is a haven for migrating songbirds and serves as supporting landscape for migrating raptors to rest and feed.

A Preservation Love Story

By Lorna Pronio Thomas 

The history of the Pronio farm is in many ways a love story.

Vince and Ronnie Pronio lived happily in Hershey, raising four children and running the family business. 

But Ronnie’s love of horses, which began at an early age, continued into adulthood. She shared her love of horses with her children, and eventually a pony was purchased and boarded at Cassel’s farm near Hanoverdale. 

When a property nearby became available, Vince and Ronnie both thought it would be a great idea to buy the property but not for the same reason. Vince viewed the 150-acre farm as a good investment while Ronnie envisioned it as the perfect home for a stable full of horses.

Over the next 5 years, the farm was transformed: dilapidated farm buildings were torn down, split rail fencing installed, a horse barn built, and horses acquired. Ronnie’s dreams had come true! 

Though Vince had no desire to leave Hershey and live permanently on the farm, Ronnie and the children eventually wore him down, and the family took up permanent residence in the remodeled farmhouse in 1974.

Over the next several decades, the road from Hershey to the Village of Hanoverdale changed dramatically. Family farms were sold and developments sprang up and included townhouses, strip malls and hotels. 

While at one time there was little traffic and no need for traffic signals, Route 39 eventually became a main road with multiple traffic signals. 

When the Pronios purchased the family farm, it was just one of many in the area, but eventually it became unique in its being untouched by development.

Ironically, Vince, who had purchased the farm as an investment, grew to love the farm and the lifestyle it afforded him. 

The abundance of wildlife and the beauty of the land are just a couple of the reasons he fell in love with the property. 

Many attractive offers to purchase the farm were extended over the years, but Vince and Ronnie adamantly declined. In fact, Vince and Ronnie’s love for the farm motivated them to work with Manada Conservancy in order to protect the farm from future development.

When Ronnie proposed to move back to Hershey in the 1990’s, Vince refused, and he remained on the farm till his dying day. 

Ronnie continues to live on the farm, and she is working with Manada Conservancy to ensure that the farm will be forever protected.

Click Here to watch a short video about what preserving the family farm means to the Pronio family.  

Thanks to Gabe Pyszka, owner of Created on Purpose video productions, for working with us to create this video.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Manada Conservancy website.

(Reprinted from January Manada Conservancy newsletter.   Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

[Posted: January 7, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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