“Our focus is really ‘land for people.’ […] Everything we do now is done through the lens of access.”
There are numerous other organizations that dedicate their time and resources to local land conservation and education. The following are just a few of the organizations that are instrumental in local land preservation and who work collaboratively for the good of their communities:
The Land Trust for Tennessee is a statewide conservation organization and one of the largest in the area, preserving over 100,000 acres. They protect land through conservation easements (working with owners), land purchases, and land donations to protect space for future generations. Their educational outreach programs help pass on the knowledge essential for continued land preservation.
Chattanooga Audubon Society is the area’s oldest conservation organization. Founded in 1944, this nonprofit organization has been protecting hundreds of acres right here in the Chattanooga area for decades. They currently maintain four separate wildlife sanctuaries with unique features and offer exploratory and educational programming.
Lookout Mountain Conservancy is dedicated to working with land owners to protect important properties across all 93 miles of Lookout Mountain, which spans Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy was formed by a group of friends and community members concerned about the deterioration of North Chickamauga Creek. Since its founding in 1993, the organization has worked to conserve over 14,000 acres in and around the North Chickamauga Creek area through a combination of grants, federal assistance, and the support of individuals, companies, and government entities.
Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center boasts 317 acres of protected land, over 140 identified and labeled varieties of trees, and 15 miles of hiking trails. It qualifies as a level IV arboretum and offers extensive educational programming and community outreach.
The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute works to restore and protect the water systems and natural ecosystems in our area through scientific studies and educational outreach. They contribute millions of dollars and countless hours to everything from species and habitat restoration to conservation planning.
Because of these and countless other individuals and organizations, the landscape of Chattanooga has been forever influenced. The result is more green space, a healthy respect for natural beauty and resources, and the opportunity to continue to learn about our ecosystem and those connected to it. And thanks to the work of these conservationists, future generations of Chattanoogans can enjoy these same connections and traditions for decades to come.
As Huffines explains, the reward is passing on a passion to protect this place. “As I get older, the greatest reward is seeing that spark in someone else when they realize the value of place. Because not everyone appreciates and understands that value, and we, as a people, aren’t truly well if we aren’t connected to our land.” SG