Exceptional Stewardship

What is Stewardship?

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.

What does being a Land Steward look like from YOUR perspective???

  • Taking care of your favorite recreational areas/nature areas
    • Use trash cans/pick up litter as you see it
    • Hold other patrons accountable
    • Following the posted rules (leash laws, staying on designated trails, etc…)
    • Clean up after your pets
    • Be considerate of other patrons
  • Being courteous to wildlife
    • Keep your pets on a leash
    • Do not touch, feed, or chase wild animals
    • Stay on designated paths
  • Use environmentally sound practices when managing private lands
    • When in doubt consult professionals

Maintenance & Care of Our Public Nature Areas

The Southern Conservation Trust strives to offer park patrons a safe, clean, natural environment to enjoy while protecting natural areas for native plants and wildlife.

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.

Taking care of these areas requires a lot of work: man-made structures must be maintained, trails must be cleared, erosion controlled, invasives removed, litter removed, habitats restored and enhanced for native species.

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.

The Southern Conservation Trust makes every attempt to use native, non-invasive species when developing gardens and other public areas.

Some non-native plant species may be found in pollinator gardens.

Help the Southern Conservation Trust keep these areas beautiful by following all posted rules. Including but not limited to those below.

  • Follow posted rules and warnings.
  • Dogs and pets MUST be on a leash unless otherwise posted.
  • Do not let pets chase or molest wildlife.
  • Remain on marked designated trails.
  • Pick up after yourself. Make a greater impact by using re-useable water bottles and coffee cups.
  • Trails and boardwalks are for foot traffic only unless otherwise posted.
  • Follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.
  • Public Nature Areas are open from sunrise to sunset.
  • If you have to think twice about your action being acceptable it probably isn’t.

You can also help further the Southern Conservation Trust mission by donating and volunteering.

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SCT in the Field

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:

  • Wildlife Species Detected
  • Plant Species Present
  • Habitat Types
  • Water Sources/Hydrology
  • Scenic Character
  • Connectivity/Nearby Conserved Lands
  • Historical/Cultural Significance

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.

  • Baseline Reports and previous Monitoring Reports tell us what the property should look like
  • Drones are used to get a bird’s eye view
  • Problem areas seen from above are then inspected on foot

Some of the disturbances that we look for include: clearcutting, dumping, and unapproved construction.