Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a microcosm of conservation: rural, suburban, urban; water and land; history and new economic development; the intersection between families who have been there for generations and a growing wave of newcomers.
As a small land trust committed to responding to its community and changing people’s lives, the staff at Lookout Mountain Conservancy (TN), an accredited land trust, began asking: What does our community need? How can we respond? What do we know that we can share together? Where are our next conservation leaders? How do we keep growing the conservation movement?
They found their answer in a surprising place – partnering with a local school that was at the bottom of the school system’s priority list as a result of the drug and gang violence that permeated their community. After hearing the students’ plight, the land trust developed a program that enabled them to serve the community by utilizing Lookout Mountain as a place to heal, inspire and grow area youth, as well as connect people to the diversity of the human landscape and the natural landscape.
The Land Trust Alliance is excited to have members of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy and the principal and students from the Howard School Intern and Leadership Program who are participating in this nationally recognized land trust program share with us at the Rally plenary a first-hand account of this inspiring program.