The Tennessee River Gorge Trust is about more than just taking care of the land in its 27,000-acre trust., according to Rick Huffman, the organization's relatively new director, who, along with Sarah Qattrochi presented an overview of the work of the organization to the January meeting of the Signal Mountain Women's Guild. The task includes protection, education, community engagement and good land stewardship practices for the 27,000 acres it either owns or has under easement. There was a lively question and answer period after his talk, illustrated with photographs.
"There's no place like Signal Mountain," Mr. Huffman said. He brings to his job the experience of 27 years of conservation in government service from Alaska to the Caribbean and enthusiasm for this non-profit work in embracing and expanding the Trust's success. His work is assisted by a 28-member board.
His major concern at the moment is a project funded by a grant from the Benwood Foundation for land protection and a research project in cooperation with UTChattanooga for a bird observatory for the Cerulean Warbler, which he said is facing extinction. It is a long-term project which will provide opportunities for volunteers to assist.
All the efforts of the trust are connected to the health of the forest, he said. The need is to continue to create interest in the work and to engage volunteers. Included in this effort is a walk planned in the spring, a luncheon and learning session in February and a party, Not Just Another Gorgeous Evening, June 5.