Letters to The Land from The Land Trust

At The Land Trust for Tennessee, we are fortunate to partner with landowners and organizations statewide to protect the land that we love. As the February air begins to hint at spring on this Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing a collection of letters of admiration for the land and reflecting upon our past experiences that inspire our work.

“My first feelings of connection to the land came from hikes around my grandparents’ place – exploring creeks, learning about trees by climbing them and finding old stone walls and ruins. The smells, sights and sounds of those days have drawn me to the outdoors ever since – from fishing to hiking to backcountry skiing to trail running and kayaking. As the mother of three sons, one of the best moments was when one of the boys saw the scars on my 20-year old mountain bike and exclaimed, “Wow, Mom, you must have been really brave in the wilderness in the olden days!” Now our family spends days in Leiper’s Creek and we love camping, hiking, horseback riding and tending to our little farm.” – Liz McLaurin 

“I learned to love the land as a child growing up in East Tennessee. I have fond memories of helping my grandmother in the garden, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and swimming in cold mountain streams. I grew up in an area where my ancestors settled several generations ago. To me, that land is sacred and will always be a part of me.” – Brickey Nuchols 

“My love of the land started my first time at summer camp when I was eight and has only grown from there. Hiking in the woods rejuvenates and reenergizes me in a way that nothing else can. Now that I am a mom, I love sharing this experience with my girls. Taking the time to slow down and examine the rocks, bugs and leaves at their pace has given me a whole new appreciation for what nature can teach us.” – Emily Parish

“My love for the land is rooted in the Flatwillow Creek valley in rural central Montana. Its abundant, wide-open spaces could easily be taken for granted, but each and every year I am increasingly reminded of how quickly they could disappear. These places that inspire a sense of infinitude are remarkably finite.” – Luke Iverson

“My love of the land blooms from my Pawpaw’s peony-lined yard in Middle Tennessee. Where most put up chain-link, he lined with beautiful flowers. I love watching the care he puts into each plant in his yard, including his tomato plants that grow as tall as his carport and produce the juiciest tomatoes well into October. My Pawpaw is 93 years old and still has the most immaculate yard. His yard has brought together family, beauty of nature, and the care and respect we must show towards them both.” – Kayla McBride

“My love for the land began in Colorado with the adoption of my first puppy. He needed constant exercise and I was lucky enough to have trail heads practically in my backyard. We hiked Sanitas Valley most days, but his absolute favorite times in that valley were after snowstorms. He smiled every time he got to run, roll, and play snowball fetch in knee-deep powder. He’s an old man these days, and we don’t get too much snow in Tennessee, but he’s still happiest outside on the land and I love the joy that it brings him.” – Emma Davidson

“My love for nature stems from a childhood spent outdoors in the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. There were endless forts to be built, dozens of streams to wade in, trees to climb and caves to explore. Adventures through the woods happened daily and often lasted all day! Even though I currently live in metro Nashville, I still find ways to make it back to the woods to check in with my childhood-self and reconnect with what I love so much.” – Chelsea Wilson

“My love for the land comes from all of my childhood days spent outdoors. I remember all of the seemingly endless summer evenings playing out in my front yard and riding along the hilly bike paths through the woods to the neighborhood swimming pool. I used to plead with the sun to hang on just a little longer so we could keep playing. It’s something I still do.” – Daniel Brown

“My love for the land began with summers on Edisto Island in coastal South Carolina. I learned some of life’s most important lessons on Edisto—how to bike to the Piggly Wiggly alone, how to climb a live oak, how to set a crab trap and perhaps most importantly, how to fish. My parents now live on Edisto, and no visit home is complete without a fishing trip with dad and the hopes of fresh caught fish for dinner.” – Rachael Bergmann

“You will find me outside every weekend – working on another waterfall for my pond, planting flowers and plants or playing with my dog, Bella. When I look forward to spending all day ‘playing’ in the yard, I realize just how much I love nature!” – Alysia Mercer

“My love for the land started in childhood, from exploring bayous and forests in the South to following creeks and trails in the Rockies. As an adult, I feel an even greater sense of awe as I stand atop a bluff or at the edge of the ocean, overcome by the vastness and beauty of this earth we get to call home. My love for the land keeps life in perspective, knowing that I am a part of something bigger, one part connected to many.” – Sharayah Winkler

Why do you love the land? Send us your letter on Facebook and Instagram by tagging us at @LandTrustTn.

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