TennGreen Land Conservancy Celebrates Protection of 50,000 Acres in Tennessee
In its 25th year of existence, TennGreen Land Conservancy has now protected more than 50,000 acres of land benefitting people and wildlife in Tennessee. Some of TennGreen’s notable achievements over the years include conserving land for public enjoyment at Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Rock Island State Park, South Cumberland State Park, Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, the future Ducks Unlimited Park, and more.
TENNESSEE (June 22, 2023)—TennGreen Land Conservancy, a leading Tennessee environmental nonprofit, announced today that it has reached a historic milestone: protecting over 50,000 acres of land across the state and Mid-South region. The organization’s conservation efforts, both past and future, will benefit Tennesseans and wildlife at a time when Tennessee’s natural world faces unprecedented risks.
TennGreen Land Conservancy is Tennessee’s oldest accredited statewide land conservancy. Since its establishment in 1998, the organization has grown under the leadership of founder Kathleen Williams (Executive Director, 1998-2015), Steve Law (Executive Director, 2015-2022), and Alice Hudson Pell (Executive Director, 2022-present).
Some of Tennessee’s most famous parks and natural areas have been created or expanded by TennGreen Land Conservancy, including Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Rock Island State Park, South Cumberland State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park, and the soon-to-be-open to the public Ducks Unlimited Park. In addition to protecting land for public enjoyment, TennGreen Land Conservancy holds more than 60 conservation easements that perpetually protect over 12,000 acres of privately owned land. Additionally, the organization has been publicly recognized for its innovative annual fundraising event, the Hike-a-Thon, and its workplace culture, a winner of the Nashville Business Journal 2021 Best Places to Work award.
This announcement comes at a time when Tennessee’s rich biodiversity, open spaces, farms, and forests face unprecedented risk. According to the American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat report, Tennessee could lose more than one million acres of high-quality farmland by 2040 if current trends continue.
Loss of farms and forests throughout the state will significantly affect Tennessee’s economy. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture notes the economic impact of forestry in Tennessee totaling more than $21.7 billion annually, and the American Farmland Trust projects a loss of nearly 6,000 jobs in its “best case” 2040 projections.
“We’ve reached this milestone at a crucial time when it’s becoming clear to so many of us in Tennessee just how fragile our ecosystems are—the ones that provide us with food to eat, protect the water we drink, keep our air clean, and leave us in awe of nature’s beauty,” said Alice Hudson Pell, TennGreen Land Conservancy’s Executive Director. “Our state is facing astonishing growth, and many who come here seek a high quality of life that’s dependent on our ability to protect Tennessee’s natural character. We need the help of all Tennesseans to protect our vulnerable lands and waters before it’s too late.”
Guided by its Strategic Land Conservation Plan, TennGreen Land Conservancy directs its resources towards efforts that significantly impact the Tennessee landscape. The organization focuses on four key priorities: Tennessee’s waters (headwaters, land along rivers and streams, and wetlands); connected corridors of open spaces; areas with high biodiversity that face immediate risks from urban and suburban encroachment; and areas in need of publicly accessible nature (e.g., parks, wildlife management areas, state natural areas, etc.).
In total, TennGreen Land Conservancy has completed 153 conservation projects—with more than a third of those projects completed in the past five years. This astonishing pace is reflective of people in communities across Tennessee seeking to protect their natural assets.
“Often, our parks and outdoor areas serve as centers for community, which is essential for a flourishing society,” continued Hudson Pell. “Without these shared natural spaces to convene, we risk losing opportunities to connect with nature and with each other. Also, conserved land can create outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking, fishing, and camping, which drives tourism and enhances the quality of life for all of us living and working here in Tennessee.”
To learn more about TennGreen Land Conservancy’s ongoing conservation efforts and how you can get involved, visit tenngreen.org today!
About TennGreen Land Conservancy
TennGreen Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit and the oldest accredited statewide land conservancy in Tennessee. TennGreen’s mission is to conserve land where people and nature can thrive. Through sound science and partnerships, TennGreen identifies and conserves land across Tennessee for wildlife corridors, critical habitat, and public benefit. TennGreen protects, cares for, and connects people with Tennessee’s natural world by providing meaningful outdoor experiences, establishing conservation easements, supporting restoration efforts, and acquiring (or assisting in the acquisition of) privately held land.
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