At Conserving Carolina, we work hard to be good stewards of the land entrusted to us. The work is ongoing but the rewards are so worth it. Like watching spring wildflowers emerge in the woods. Or finding a glinting monarch cocoon on a milkweed stem. Or watching waterfowl rest from their migrations at a restored wetland.
What does stewardship mean to you? It could mean planting a garden for pollinators or putting up bluebird boxes in your yard. It could mean letting plants grow along a creek to prevent erosion. It could mean managing a farm to support wildlife. Or, it could mean volunteering with Conserving Carolina to restore habitat at one of our nature preserves.
We practice stewardship in three main ways. On properties that we own, we manage the land to enhance wildlife habitat and other natural resources. On properties where we hold conservation easements, we partner with landowners to support their good stewardship. We extend our impact beyond conserved properties by engaging local residents with what they can do to care for the nature around them.
Stewardship on Conserving Carolina Preserves
Conserving Carolina owns a number of nature preserves, including popular hiking spots like Florence Nature Preserve and rare habitats like the bog at Lewis Creek Nature Preserve. Our stewardship activities are tailored to each property’s unique natural resources. We remove kudzu that’s encroaching on forests, pull cattails out of bogs, treat hemlock trees to protect them from woolly adelgids, and much more. We’re grateful for the dedicated volunteers who help us restore healthy and beautiful natural habitats. Want to get outside and make a difference? Volunteer with us!
Conservation Easement Stewardship
When Conserving Carolina places land under conservation easement, the work of protecting that land isn’t over. It’s only just beginning! By accepting an easement, we assume the legal responsibility to ensure that the terms of the easement are upheld, forever. With the support of our volunteers, we monitor every property where we hold an easement at least once a year—over 200 properties in all.
We also partner with the landowners who hold those properties to support their land management. We offer personalized advice and support to conservation landowners as they work to leave the land better than they found it. We help landowners plan and carry out stewardship activities such as invasive plant removal, forest management, habitat restoration, bog restoration, and controlled burns.
When we protect land, we need to be ready to take care of it for the long term. Our stewardship responsibilities include land management, conservation easement monitoring, and, when necessary, legal defense of a conservation easement. Our Stewardship Fund helps ensure that we are prepared to meet these obligations. Gifts to the Stewardship Fund are an investment in lasting land conservation.
Transylvania French Broad River Stewards
We help engage the local community in Transylvania County with stewardship of the French Broad River. Conserving Carolina has long been active with Transylvania French Broad River Stewards, a grassroots coalition of local citizens and nonprofits. In 2018, we went a step further, adopting this group as one of our programs.
The Transylvania French Broad River Stewards holds the annual River Fest in Rosman. They also help to improve public access to the river through greenways, put-ins, and a paddle trail. They put out alerts for paddlers when there are logjams or downed trees. They organize volunteer water quality monitoring. And, they make sure public officials know how vital the French Broad is to the local economy.
Good Stewardship at Home
If enough of us manage our city gardens or suburban lots or small farms for healthy habitat, we’ll see a dramatic revitalization of the nature around us. Conserving Carolina runs active education programs for children and adults, which increase people’s appreciation for the nature in our backyards and show them how they can take care of it. Through our monthly Habitat at Home feature, we share seasonal tip for improving habitat where you live.