(pictured left to right) Catherine Gilreath, Conservation Easement Donor; FLC's Land Director, Meredith Clebsch; and FLC's Executive Director, Bill Clabough

Catherine Gilreath, a longtime Blount County resident and outdoors person/volunteer, recently decided to give back to her community in the form of a conservation easement.  Her wish to preserve a 11 acre tract stemmed from the experiences she had growing up and the desire to preserve the land for others. Gilreath says, “Sports kept me out of trouble. Growing up in Sevier County (Kodak) across the road from Beech Springs School, my sibling and I along with all the neighborhood kids, enjoyed the nearby outdoor recreational facilities. That’s why I wanted to specify that this property could be used for community soccer fields and for other recreational uses.”

The property includes a mix of open space and woodlands as well as a creek – all wonderful attributes for an outdoor sports area.

Picture of Gilreath's Property (Blount County)

Billy Wallace decided to partner with Foothills in 2011 in order to place his 15 acre tract in Halls under conservation easement. This is truly a unique piece of land that includes a blue hole (or underwater sinkhole) that is part cave and part spring. The property’s spring feeds into Beaver Creek that cuts through the Halls community. Adjacent to the blue hole is a bird habitat. Sparrows love the mix of grasses and nearby water source – allowing them a place for nesting and protection. The tree trunk (pictured) is the remanent of an ash tree that likely provides for bird, owl and even raccoon habitat.

 

In early 2010, FLC agreed to hold a conservation easement for the Legacy Parks Foundation on 26 acres in Knox County for the purpose of enlarging the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge (SIWR) property.  Since that time, the Legacy Parks Foundation has given this  tract (that includes the easement) over to Knox County for inclusion in the refuge.  SIWR is a wildlife sanctuary that encompasses 360 acres. It’s available for recreational use by the general public. Management of the SIWR refuge is a joint effort between Knox County Parks & Recreation and the Seven Islands Foundation.  *Note* Seven Islands name was changed when it became part of the TN State Park system. The website for Seven Islands State Birding Park can be viewed here: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/contact/seven-islands.

Foothills receives J.B. Owen award from KTOS!

Foothills Land Conservancy is honored to be the recipient of the J.B. Owen award by the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society (KTOS).

The Award honors the memory of J.B. Owen, longtime Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) member known to thousands in East Tennessee through his columns in Knoxville newspapers.  J.B. Owen was an active member of KTOS from 1947 until his death in 2001.  He was awarded the TOS Distinguished Service Award in 1990.  J.B. Owen Awards provide funds for projects that promote the welfare and conservation of birds in Tennessee.

This Award, in the amount of $300.00, is for support of the Conservancy’s important mission to protect and preserve the natural landscape of East Tennessee.  The Conservancy’s mission has significant benefits for the conservation of birds in Tennessee.

BadPlantsAndWhatToDoAboutThem3 – POWER POINT

Image courtesy of McCarter Auction Company

*Reprinted with permission from Friends of the Smokies.

KODAK, TN - SEPTEMBER 13, 2010- Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the successful bidder in a public auction of 20 acres of land surrounded on three sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The not-for-profit organization bought the two 10-acre tracts on Saturday, September 11, 2010 for $775,000.

Major funding for the land purchase was made possible from proceeds from Friends’ annual Ogle-Fulmer “Picnic in Pittman for the Park” fundraiser over the last ten years.  The Foothills Land Conservancy also partnered with Friends of the Smokies in the purchase.

“In addition to providing this rare opportunity for the Park to add 20 acres of prime property to its holdings, we also fulfilled our annual Needs List commitment of about $1.5 million to the Park this week,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart.

For more information about the Friends of the Smokies, please visit their website at https://friendsofthesmokies.org/ or to learn about their Trails Forever program, visit http://smokiestrailsforever.org/.



by Kristine Johnson, Supervisory Forester – GSMNP

Chinese privet - Shrub that can spread easily into native plant communities and displace native vegetationChinese privet

Invasive exotic plants are among the most serious threats to natural areas and biodiversity worldwide. Foothills Land Conservancy supporters and neighbors find additional cause for concern as exotic plant invasions reduce real estate values, facilitate erosion, alter fire regimes, obscure planned landscapes and change wildlife habitat. Late summer and early autumn provide opportunities to survey and control many species of exotic plants, since seed production can often be prevented and some species are more visible as foliage changes colors. Oriental bittersweet, for example, produces bright orange fruits and yellow leaves while some evergreens such as privet and Japanese honeysuckle show up in contrast to brighter fall colors. Because plants translocate photosynthetic products down to roots for storage in the fall, herbicides also travel more efficiently to root systems when applied late in the growing season either as a foliar application or by cutting and stump treating. Proper plant identification and careful surveys to assess control strategy are important first steps in managing exotic plant infestations.

Preventing exotic plants from becoming established is particularly challenging when neighboring lands supply a continuous seed source. While most invasive exotic plant species thrive in disturbed areas such as roadsides and stream corridors, some can also invade intact plant communities and shaded sites. The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council provides information on native plant alternatives for landscaping and erosion control as well as a prioritized list of invasive plant species to avoid planting. Many weed seeds and viable plant fragments can be transported in straw, wood chip mulch, topsoil and fill, and gravel or sand from quarries. Sources of such materials should be investigated carefully and development sites monitored for new infestations. Coltsfoot, garlic mustard, microstegium and Johnson grass are good examples: fields consisting almost entirely of Johnson grass in seed are often harvested for hay, and fragments of coltsfoot a few inches long can become new, flowering plants growing out of gravel in three weeks.  Seeds can also travel in soil carried along by muddy boots and vehicle tires.

Educating neighbors and working cooperatively to manage infestations helps achieve success as well as building a sense of community and stewardship. Information on plant identification and exotic plant management can be found at websites for the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council (www.tneppc.org) and University of Tennessee Herbarium http://tenn.bio.utk.edu.

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