Stewardship is the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property. Our job as Land Stewards is to take care of and conserve land for generations to come. As an organization, this means responsibly managing our public and private nature preserves and protecting thousands of acres through Conservation Easements.
The six public nature areas in Fayette County, totaling over 1000 acres, differ in hydrology, topography, recreational opportunities, and facilities. This requires each public area to have a unique management plan. Public areas contain pollinator gardens, trails, creeks, wetlands, buildings, gazebos, observation decks, boardwalks, parking areas, and bridges.
We leave areas as natural as possible; this includes leaving fallen trees and brush piles that provide habitat for native species. Maintenance is performed by Southern Conservation Trust staff and volunteers.
Some non-native plant species may be found in pollinator gardens.
When it comes to natural resource protection, the SCT has two different types of field work that are incorporated into conservation easements. Before an easement is written, initial site visits take place to document the current state of the property. Things to take into consideration are:
Once the site visit is complete, these site characteristics are documented through a “Baseline Documentation Report”.
It is then our job as the easement holder to monitor the easement property annually for the perpetual life of the easement. We use a variety of methods to check a property and make sure that all stipulations of the conservation easement are being upheld.
Some of the disturbances that we look for include: clearcutting, dumping, and unapproved construction.