Written by: Audra Ladd, Stewardship Manager
Last week was the completion of our three month monitoring period where land staff, Board Members and trained volunteers work as a team to visit EVERY easement property. This year, together we made it to 250 properties from Memphis to Johnson City!
When we protect a piece of land, our job doesn’t stop there. We are connected to this beautiful piece of land forever, and visit it every year. The owner has the rights to sell the property, farm or manage timber, hunt, fish, transfer the land to heirs or others through a will, restrict public access or give public access, maintain and/or build a limited number of homes on the land. We work with the landowner to make sure the conservation values continue to be protected for future generations.
Our landowners are like family to us. While the main point of monitoring is just to check in with the landowners and see how the landscape has changed, it’s usually more than that. A catch up on new grandchildren, spirited updates on the happenings around the county and even a shared meal are quite common.
Each year I find myself in awe of the land itself and the landowners who voluntarily chose to conserve their land forever. It is a special time to put ‘boots on the ground’ and catch up with the lives and plans of our extended landowner family. As the manager of the Stewardship Program, it is my most treasured time of year.
Here are a few pictures from this season’s visits and some of our wonderful landowners… a few of the treasured sites we get to experience and the teams that help protect them. If you have a recent picture of a treasured place in TN- especially of your conserved land please send it to us! –Audra