Two sisters have partnered with Otsego Land Trust to protect their 33.3-acre property in honor of their father, Dr. Edmund Kerper.
Mary Clare LaDine and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly donated a conservation easement to Otsego Land Trust, which assures the property’s protection now and for future generations. According to a media release, the Monnelly-LaDine parcel of healthy forests and open fields connects to other protected properties and contains a 20-acre wetlands natural area that acts as an important natural filter for Oaks and Fly creeks.
LaDine and Monnelly committed to permanently protecting their land in order to create a special legacy for their father. They describe Kerper as a “quiet, gentle hero who was always there to listen and not be judgmental.” Assuring the protection of a landscape that he loved and that they’ve always cherished seemed the perfect act to honor his memory and his inspirational life, according to the release.
Kerper was remembered in a Daily Star tribute as “the ‘diagnostic backbone’ of the excellent staff of physicians which made Homer Folks Hospital perhaps the best sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis in the United States” in the years during and after WWII.
“One of the reasons we thought to preserve the land in his memory,” Monnelly said in the release, “is because there are wildflowers there that he loved to see and photograph. He also enjoyed the many birds that came to his feeder and were visible over the fields. They were good company for him.”
Monnelly is acclaimed in her own right as a nature photographer. Her photographs are currently being shown in an exhibit titled “Fragile Waters” along with those of Ansel Adams and Ernest H. Brooks II. She credits her father with nurturing her career.
“He bought me my first camera and taught me to use it,” she remembers.