Clarence Coffee, 2nd from left, discusses the savanna flora with workshop attendees. Clarence, retired TWRA, was instrumental in promoting the need to restore these landscapes to support threatened wildlife and plant species.

Workshop participants investigate the effects of burning on Catoosa WMA.

On September 5-6 FLC’s Land Director, Meredith Clebsch, attended the Woodland and Savanna Management Workshop in Crossville, TN.  The program was put on by the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture and TWRA to support the restoration of landscapes, especially in the plateau region, to historical woodland/savanna communities that support grassland bird species. Grassland birds are among the most imperiled of all North American birds primarily due to loss of historical habitat.  It is estimated that less than 1% of this habitat remains.  Included in this group of birds are Northern bobwhite quail, a number of sparrow species, Prairie and Blue-winged warblers and yellow breasted chats.

These communities are known to have occurred across large acreages in the middle Tennessee and western Kentucky region priorto human habitation.  Many of thesecommunities have been vastly altered from their original state due to fire reduction practices and agricultural activities and may no longer be readily recognized on the landscape. However the structure and diversity of plants they support are critical to many declining grass and shrub-land species.
The workshop was developed to aid land managers in understanding the components of woodland and savanna communities, the value these vanishing landscapes provide, and how best to restore these critical habitats.  The information presented provided land managers and consultants with resources to better understand savanna and woodland community types and the knowledge to better manage these forgotten ecosystems.
In a nutshell, what has to happen is the reduction of the tree canopy to something less than 50% to allow enough light to the ground for a diverse mix of grasses and other herbaceous species as well and shrubs to flourish.  This means most of the sub canopy is removed.  Much of the discussion focused on the use of fire and what the most effective burning schedule is to establish and maintain these landscapes. We observed the results of various fire management regimes in a tour of Catoosa Wildlife Management Area which has been working to restore these landscapes since the mid-1980s.  Burning in the growing season, August and September, is now being recommended as most effective for reducing the woody cover.
Now that FLC has thousands of acres in easements on the plateau and more to come, we hope this information will be useful to those concerned about wildlife habitat management for this important community.
For more information about this topic visit the Central Hardwood Joint Venture.

FLC Photography Tours

Private Lands Photo Tour with Foothills Land Conservancy

Although this event has already passed, please email if there is any interest in taking photos for FLC!

(Click here to view a short video about FLC - Produced by Doug Mills of the Heartland Series!)

Photographer Mark Lewis and FLC Board Member, Dick Conley, on location at a Rhone County farm (property preserved with an FLC conservation easement agreement). Photoshoot for Sept. 2010 issue of TN Conservationist Magazine.

UPDATED DETAILS: This tour will focus on 3 Sevier County easements and, depending on time, a late afternoon visit to a farm in Blount County. What to expect? Scenic views atop Bluff Mountain, fall leaf color, creeks, woods, wildlife, wide shots of the valley along Walden’s Creek. At one of the properties, farmer, FLC Board Member and Conservation Easement donor, Mike Suttles, will provide background about his family’s farm and can answer any questions about the valley. Foothills Land Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity on privately owned land from the Cumberland Plateau to the Smoky Mountains.  On Saturday, October 13th, FLC staff will lead a photographers’ tour of properties selected from the 90 that have been protected by conservation easements.  Foothills has arranged permissions from land owners for this rare opportunity to scout properties that are usually not available to most photographers.  Bring your gear for a day capturing images that tell the story of farms, open spaces, biodiversity, water quality management and the unique reasons these properties should be preserved. It’s possible that some of these lands could be used for unique workshops or individual photographers may be able to form relationships with land owners for future visits and images few others have chances to capture.  On the tour, talk with the staff about the direction your imagination takes you.

Of course, Foothills Land Conservancy will appreciate any images photographers are willing to share for the purpose of protecting more of our East Tennessee beauty.  Photographer credit will always be included.  Foothills actively seeks publication of its cause in numerous publications.

Additional Tour Details:

Meeting Details: The plan will be to meet at the FLC office at 9:30am on Saturday, October 13, 2012. FLC’s office location is 373 Ellis Avenue, Maryville, TN  37804. You can contact Elise with any questions before the tour via cell phone at 865-201-5806. You may wish to carpool with friends, you can follow the Foothills staff in your own car and there will be some room in the staff cars as well. The tour should conclude at the FLC office around 5:00PM but participants can leave at any time. Tour is subject to cancellation if inclement weather occurs.

Reservation Required: Tour is Limited to 20 Spaces, please contact Elise Eustace with FLC to reserve your spot. She can be reached at (865) 681-8326 or  Box lunches will be provided by Foothills for participants who register before October 5.  There is no fee for this tour.  Foothills wants to expand awareness of its important work.

Level of Difficulty: These will be primarily intermediate walks with a few places that might be difficult to get to. There will always be an option for individuals to decline a portion of the trip if it is not feasible. Please bring water, comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a mile or so at each property (we will visit around 4-5 properties).

What kind of shots can the photographer expect to make?: A wide variety – the East Tennessee landscape is diverse and so are the properties we will be visiting. We will more than likely visit one to two farms, open spaces/natural areas, rivers/creeks, and a few that offer a scenic views. All images are welcome but we would like to get a few shots of landowners (with their permission) wildlife, native flora and fauna, scenic views and water images. Finalized tour details will be sent to participants in the coming weeks.

2011 Conservation Easement Projects

Now in our 27th year of service as a land trust, FLC has assisted in the preservation of 30,000 acres in 18 Tennessee counties. This past year Foothills partnered with landowners on nineteen land protection projects covering 4400 acres! Recent easements include two Tennessee Century Farms in Monroe County, 120 acres along the French Broad in Knox County, a 364 tract in Blount County (Camp Montvale) and 1700 acres within the Cumberland Plateau (Scott, Overton & Cumberland Counties).

The following links provide an overview of our 2011 easements:

Part 1 - Blount County – Monroe County (2 Century Farms) – Union County

Part 2Cumberland County – Overton County – Scott County

Part 3Blount County – Jackson County – Knox County – Meigs County – Roane County – Williamson County

Part 4Blount County – Bradley County – Knox County

To View FLC’s 2012 Conservation Easement Projects: Click Here

To View FLC’s Publications & eNews Archive: Click Here


Media Article about FLC’s 2011 land projects:

The Daily Times – Camp Montvale Site Preserved

Each year since 1965, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) has honored a select group of leaders in the conservation and stewardship of wildlife and their habitat in Tennessee. This year, East Tennessee’s Foothills Land Conservancy (FLC) was honored with the Conservation Organization of the Year award during the 46th Annual TWF Conservation Achievement Awards. The ceremony was held on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

Foothills Land Conservancy receives TWF’s Conservation Organization of the Year award. (Pictured left to right) Dan Hammond, TWF’s Chairman of the Board; Ernie Blankenship, FLC Board Member; and Elise Eustace, FLC Communication & Development Director.

Foothills Land Conservancy receives TWF’s Conservation Organization of the Year award. (Pictured left to right) Dan Hammond, TWF’s Chairman of the Board; Ernie Blankenship, FLC Board Member; and Elise Eustace, FLC Communication & Development Director.

“These awards recognize those individuals and organizations that have made truly meaningful contributions to conservation in Tennessee and to TWF,” says Michael Butler, TWF’s chief executive officer. “The great work of our past winners lives on today, and the current generation is building upon those successes. Without their willingness to take action, we would have failed in our mission, and we are proud to honor their contributions.”

A selection committee comprised of TWF members, Board representatives, conservation professionals and members of the media reviewed all nominations and decided on the winners.  Foothills Land Conservancy received the Conservation Organization of the Year award for outstanding achievement by an organization for work in some phase of conservation during the contest year.

2010 was a milestone year for Foothills! FLC celebrated the completion of the “25 in 25” campaign – preserving 25,000 East Tennessee acres by the organization’s 25th year of service. Launched in October of 2007, FLC committed to create a regional initiative that would maximize land owner interest while raising awareness of its mission throughout the community.

To date, FLC has:

  • established, assisted or donated over 10,000 acres of land for local parks and recreation areas.
  • conserved over 8900 acres of productive agricultural lands and natural areas between 2006 and 2010.
  • assisted landowners in creating over 70 conservation easement agreements in a total of 13 East Tennessee counties.

The mission of Foothills Land Conservancy is to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural landscape of the East Tennessee region. FLC provides landowners the tools and resources to protect their property from development in perpetuity.  All conservation easement agreements coordinated through Foothills are voluntary, customizable, approved by a Board of Directors and monitored at least once a year. FLC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and does not receive any financial support from federal, state, or local governments.

Media Coverage Article

To learn more about Foothills Land Conservancy, please visit their website at or contact their office at 865-681-8326.

A special thank you to all of our Friends…

For another successful Summer Celebration!


Photo Courtesy: Doug Mills

A special thank you to all of our Friends for helping to make this year’s Celebration one of the most successful to date! Close to 300 guests mingled among the pastures and gardens at Christine Hayworth’s Penrose Farm – a perfect location for FLC’s annual friend and fundraiser.  FLC Board and staff visited with and thanked our individual and corporate Friends while updating them on Foothills’ programs. Despite a few summer showers,  festivities got underway with delicious food from Holly’s Eventful Catering and beverages served by the Pour Guys. A special thank you to Campbell Tent & Party Rental, Stellar Visions & Sound and our many wonderful volunteers!

 This is the fifth year Christine Hayworth has graciously hosted FLC’s annual friend and fundraiser at her 130 acre equestrian center and horse farm. In 2007, Mrs. Hayworth partnered with FLC to place a conservation easement on the property, permanently preserving the natural features of the property, which also boasts outstanding views of the foothills and Great Smoky Mountains.

Foothills’ annual Celebration is a time to visit with other FLC supporters in a relaxed setting while celebrating the Foothills mission to preserve, protect and enhance the Tennessee landscape. This past year was a third consecutive record-breaking year and a ‘best ever’ record for Foothills Land Conservancy, with well in excess of 11,000 acres protected. To date, we have preserved over 46,000 acres in 26 Tennessee counties!

2014 Celebration Photos

Celebration Write Up in the Knoxville News Sentinel by Megan Venable

Click here to view photos courtesy of Chuck Cooper.

 Photos Below Courtesy of Doug Mills.




The support of our Friends assists us with land preservation projects, community outreach and operating expenses. To make a donation to the Foothills Land Conservancy, please visit our Donate Now page.


FLC’s 2014 Sponsors & Hosts

 2014 Sponsors

*Indicates a returning sponsor!


Pilot Corporation*


Mast General Store*




Baker Donelson, PC*                     
Blount Gastroenterology Assoc.*         
Burley Stabilization Corp.*                 
Chervenak & Associates, PC*       
CH2M HILL*                                    
Duo Fast of Knoxville*                       
Energy Solutions*                         
Furrow Auction Company*        
Gilmartin Engineering Works         
Hines & Company, P.C.                
Information International Assoc.*  
Leidos Engineering*
Little River Trading Company *Indicates a returning sponsor!
Long, Ragsdale & Waters, PC*
Mark Jendrek, PC*
ORNL Federal Credit Union*
Penrose Farm*
Renasant Bank*
Resource Advisory Services*
Restoration Services, Inc.
Retirement Planning Services*
The Trust Company*
UT Battelle*

2014 Hosts

Honey & Sen. Lamar Alexander
Kim & Mike Arms
Angie & Steve Arnett
Lucretia & William Atterson
Bob Baldani
Sheila & Dr. Charlie Barnett
Marjorie & John Beasley
Marty & David Black
Pat & Ernie Blankenship
B.J. & Gerald Boyd
Priscilla & Jim Campbell
Vicki & Jeff Chapman
Terry A. Chervenak
Betsy Child & Paul Barber
Ben C. Clark, Jr.
Jay Clark
Linda & Pete Claussen
Madge & Barry Cleveland
Donna & Bill Cobble
Dr. Mary Cushman
Karen Eberle
Bonita & John Eschenberg
Pat & Homer Fisher
Judi & David Forkner
Jenny Freeman & Bill Allen
Rachel & Dr. Gerald Gibson
Drs. Karen & Barry Goss
Gail P. Harris
Christine ‘Teenie’ Hayworth
Jean Hicks & Addison West
Robin Hill
Jenny Hines & Tom Jester
Frances & Jerry Hodge
Susan & J.T. Howell
Norma & Wes James
Debbie & Dr. Craig Jarvis
Mary & Mark Jendrek
Jamie & Steve Jones
Marilyn & Lewis Kearney
Ann & Mark King
Christie & David Lewis
Susan & David Long
Karen & Billy Minser
Pam & Mike Parton
Drs. Marie & John Peine
Betsy Prine
Kim Raia
Rep. Bob Ramsey 
Sara & Jack Rose
Courtney Russell & David Branton
Darlene & Ed St. Clair
Judy & David Shiflett
Billy Stair
Mary Kay & Bill Sullivan
Nancy & Bob Van Hook
Kathy & David Wallace
Ruth & Steve West
Kathy & John Wilbanks
Karlyn & David Zandstra


2013 Celebration Photos: Randy Purcell Photography & Chuck Cooper Photography

Knoxville News Article – FLC Touts Accomplishments at Annual Celebration

Daily Times Article –   Protecting the Land August 2013



FLC Publications & News Releases

For 2014 & 2015 Publications, click here.

2013 Publications

2012 Publications

  • 2012 Conservation Projects – Click Here

  • FLC’s 2012 Spring Newsletter & 2011 Annual Report – Click Here

  • FLC’s East TN Land Conservation Programs – Brochure

2011 Publications

For additional Foothills publications, click here.

FLC’s Monthly Electronic Newsletter sign up: FLC’s webpage


Media Articles

Daily Times Article (Dec 2012) – FLC Signs 100th Easement
Check out the Tennessee Cooperator Magazine’s (May 2012 Issue) – Foothills Land Conservancy Helps Protect Property for Future Generations
The Daily Times Editorial (May 2012) – FLC Helps Preserve Our Heritage

FLC’s Schedule of Events

Upcoming 2015 Events

For the latest event information, please sign up for FLC’s eNews. It’s located at the bottom of our Foothills’ home page - Foothills Land Conservancy. Please note that FLC will not distribute your email address to any other organizations or businesses.

Sunday, October 18, 2015: Join us for FLC’s Fall Open House at Bluff Mountain (11am-3pm)