There is more to land conservancy than what meets the eye. Those clear blue skies, the stars that enhance the nights, and green pastures of serenity that transport you back in time can all vanish for good, if not protected. Imagine no longer being able to take a walk along your local park path, closing your eyes only to hear the song of birds’ chirpings and the trees’ leaves rustling with the wind. Not only does land conservancy preserve scenic lands, farms, and open spaces that have become the home to many native species, but it’s also protecting the quality of life for many generations to come.
The Piedmont Land Conservancy was initiated in 1989, when a small group of individuals met to discuss all the rapid developments happening in the nine northern Piedmont counties. The counties include Alamance, Caswell, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin. Their mission is to spread awareness by connecting people with nature, as well as taking the next steps to protect our beautiful natural areas, farmlands, and water quality for present and future generations. And now, going on their 32nd year, they will have completed over 200 land protection projects, which winds up to be nearly 28,000 acres in total!
But why is land conservancy in North Carolina so important? One of the finest qualities NC has to offer its residents is the luscious greens that’re filled with all sorts of life hidden beneath their leaves. It’s one of the defining measures that offers NC residents such a high “quality of life,” a place to connect with neighbors and share with visitors. It provides NC residents with clean air to breathe, reliable food sources filled with fresh seasonal flavors, clean drinking water, and safe environments to relax in.
It gives the everyday landowner the opportunity to leave a legacy. And for the hardworking farmers, it’s about preserving nutrient-dense soils to support their livelihood. For all the parents, it’s about creating new memories that remind the next generation about the simplicity of life, like skipping pond stones or trying to spot fireflies after dinner. And for a child, it’s one of the best forms of early education—a safe environment to explore, daydream, and to be creative in.
In efforts to increase awareness, you may find a variety of businesses across North Carolina showing their support for conservation on the first Saturday in June, aka Land Trust Day. On this particular Saturday each year, businesses will donate a percentage of their sales to local land trusts. Some of our very own, like the Mast General Store in downtown Winston-Salem, have even participated. According to Lisa Cooper, president of Mast General Store, the Piedmont Land Conservancy had “rediscovered local trails and open spaces” that “helped sustain our mental and physical health” during last year’s pandemic. Their hopes were that Land Trust Day would help their “customers understand and appreciate how these organizations impact our lives every single day.”
How can we support? Since Piedmont Land Conservancy is a non-profit membership organization, it relies heavily on individuals, like you and me, to support their day-to-day operations. And if you prefer to be hands-on instead of making a donation, there are also plenty of outdoor volunteer opportunities, such as maintaining a beautiful 6-acre wildflower garden near Historic Bethabara, which you can find on www.piedmontland.org. You can also contact them by phone at (336) 691-0088.
Look outside at the trees and watch the flowers wave to you in the breeze. But don’t let them pass you by, for time is in short supply!