The evening included a keynote address from Bill Holman of the Conservation Fund, who spoke about the importance of land conservation to support a vibrant and healthy future for Chatham County. Holman emphasized the State’s role in continuing to fund conservation work by continuing to contribute to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which supports projects that protect North Carolina’s water resources by protecting the land around streams and rivers.
Allison Weakley, a CCP steering committee member, has been involved with the partnership from the very beginning. She shared details of the group’s history, beginning with the signing of the group’s charter, which established the group as a form for sharing information and raising awareness around conservation issues. Since that time the group has contributed to numerous reports and planning efforts, including some that have been adopted by local governments.
The “Greatest Hits” portion of the night was a true testament to the breadth of topics the CCP has addressed throughout its 10 year history. Attendees learned about all of the reptiles and amphibians they might come across while hiking the back woods of Chatham County from Jeff Beane and Jeff Hall, heard about the importance of pollinators from Debbie Roos, saw the challenges of working a small organic farm from Meredith Leight, learned about CCP’s broad planning impact in Chatham County, and heard about long term efforts to restore Cape Fear Shiner habitat from Sarah McRae. The short, 5 minute presentations offered a quick an engaging look into a topic, which was especially interesting when Phil Bradley covered millions of years of geologic history in just 20 short slides!
TLC is a charter member of the Chatham Conservation Partnership and was instrumental in the creation of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Chatham County. This report has been a guiding document for conservation and open space planning at the municipal and county level. The plan focused on the protection of forest lands, water, agriculture, and biodiversity and wildlife. TLC continues to be a proud member of the Chatham Conservation Partnership by supporting their efforts to spread awareness of conservation issues to the Chatham County community.