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RECAP: Annual Celebration 2024

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RECAP: Annual Celebration 2024

On May 9th, landowners, supporters, staff, and Board members gathered near Leiper’s Fork for The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Annual Celebration to reflect on the past 25 years of successes and discuss what’s next.

This year’s celebration felt especially momentous as we marked our 25th anniversary. With over 450 conservation projects spanning 136,000+ protected acres across 76 counties, the organization’s momentum has never been more positive.

Laura and Roy Nichol graciously hosted the celebration at their 152-acre forested property just over the Williamson County line. The evening began with drinks and hors d’oeuvres by Menu Makers catering. As the sun set over the grassy field and new barn, the program commenced. Guests heard remarks from President & CEO Liz McLaurin, Vice President Emily Parish, and event hosts Roy and Laura Nichol, who purchased the property already under conservation easement with The Land Trust. Remarks emphasized the importance of land conservation in Tennessee for future generations, as well as the organization’s successes over the years.

Conservation Highlights

Over the past 25 years, we’ve conserved Century Farms and historic landscapes, prime farmland along the Kentucky/Tennessee line, wildlife habitat in the Sequatchie Valley and along creeks and streams feeding the Duck River, lands on the fringes of our urban core, buffers to beloved State Parks, mountain land in East TN, scenic viewsheds along rivers like the Hiwassee, and tourist routes in Lynchburg, among others.

In the past year alone, The Land Trust for Tennessee closed conservation easements on 10 new properties. The Land Trust closed a conservation easement on a 1,048-acre property in the Smoky Mountain Foothills, opened a 217-acre recreation area named Walden’s Ridge Park for mountain biking, bouldering, and hiking, conserved 253 new acres of prime farmland, and protected 1,330 new acres especially resilient to climate change. Meanwhile, our stewardship team, dedicated to upholding our promise of perpetuity, completed over 420 visits to protected properties across Tennessee in the last year.

Welcoming New Board Members

Our Annual Celebration also welcomed new Board members while recognizing those concluding their formal service. We’re excited to welcome new Board members Patrick Warfield of Claritas Capital, Mandy Haynes Young of Butler Snow LLP, and community volunteer Kristin Paine.

Special Thanks

We extend a special thank you to Laura and Roy Nichol for generously opening their beautiful property, Cardinal Hill Farm, to us. Purchased after it already had a conservation easement, the Nichols’ vision for the land aligns with stewardship for future generations. They currently cultivate tulips and peonies and plan to utilize the space for hosting loved ones and community members in the future.

We owe our success to our community. Thanks to our landowners statewide and all who’ve supported The Land Trust’s journey. We’re grateful for the hard work and partnerships that have fueled our accomplishments over the past 25 years, and we’re eagerly anticipating the next chapter.