Bill Kilbride Donates Riverfront Preserve To Tennessee Wesleyan College

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tennessee Wesleyan College students Shaikaree Scaife and Tamara Martin conduct their science studies at the Kilbride Nature Sanctuary
Tennessee Wesleyan College students Shaikaree Scaife and Tamara Martin conduct their science studies at the Kilbride Nature Sanctuary

He knows which trees the bluebirds nest in and at what times a trail of deer can be seen making their way across the open meadow of the property. There isn’t a square inch of the nearly 92 acres of Dayton, Tn., land owned by Bill Kilbride that he hasn’t explored, harvested, or rehabilitated. After a decade of rehabilitating the 92 acres of land that he has loved and nurtured, the former president of Mohawk Home and Chief Sustainability Officer of Mohawk Industries is now donating that land to his alma mater, Tennessee Wesleyan College.

With the hope that the college can use the land for scholastic research in its science and art programs, as well as the possibility of being used as a sanctuary for the college’s religious studies program, Mr. Kilbride chose to donate the land that he loves so much to the school that has given him so much.

Nestled along the banks of the Tennessee River, the Dayton, Tn., property was originally purchased by Mr. Kilbride in 2004 when he bought it from a seller who had been trying to turn it into lots for hundreds of future homes to be built on. Mr. Kilbride’s intent for the property was that it become an environmental reserve.

“I wanted the land to be returned to its natural state,” said Mr. Kilbride, now the president-elect for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bringing in groups such as Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Kilbride talked with dozens of experts in the wildlife and agricultural fields to come up with a plan to rehabilitate the land to its natural state.

Ridding the property of overgrowth, bringing in crops, and planting trees soon became Mr. Kilbride’s weekend projects. With many of the trees being planted by Mr. Kilbride himself, the property holds a special place in his heart, which is why he took great care in his decision to donate the property to Tennessee Wesleyan.

“Just as I set about to find the best restoration plan for the land all those years ago, I recently set about finding the best plan for what to do with the land now,” said Mr. Kilbride. “I talked to several non-profits and groups about the land and finally came around to the idea of donating the property to TWC.

“I began to think about how our generation needs to take the students of today, the leaders of tomorrow, and in some shape or form, introduce them to the importance of environmental sustainability.”

Mr. Kilbride’s hope for donating his land to TWC was that the property would attract different types of science and liberal arts students as well as add value to the Tennessee Wesleyan education. TWC has embraced Kilbride’s land and have chosen to call it “The Kilbride Nature Sanctuary.” In addition to plans for arts and religious studies uses, the college’s science department will primarily use the land.

“I plan to use the land for my ecology, environmental science and biology courses for field-oriented projects,” said Dr. Allen Moore, TWC associate professor of biology. “It will also be an extremely valuable asset for those students wishing to undertake independent research projects under the direction of one of the natural sciences faculty members.

“This generous donation from Mr. Kilbride enables us, as instructors, the opportunity to get our students outdoors and actually see firsthand many of the interactions in nature that we lecture about in the classroom. This truly opens up many avenues of research for both TWC’s students and faculty.”

A member of the college’s Board of Trustees and the keynote speaker at the school’s Spring Commencement ceremony, Mr. Kilbride’s appreciation for Tennessee Wesleyan, and its mission to be a leader in higher education, are what led him to donate his land reserve to the college. He hopes that new generations of TWC students will learn the historical significance of the land and benefit from conducting their studies there.

“The land has a rich history that dates back to the late 1500s and includes exploration from the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and American politician and soldier Sam Houston who lived in the area in the mid-1800s,” said Mr. Kilbride. “For me, it’s a joy to share that history with TWC and its students. I believe that this land will benefit Tennessee Wesleyan in the future in ways that we haven’t even thought of yet. TWC invested in my future and my gratitude to TWC will be for the rest of my life.”


The Kilbride Nature Sanctuary
The Kilbride Nature Sanctuary

Waterfowl WMA Application Deadline Approaching

Applications will be accepted until midnight (CDT) on Wednesday, Sept. 28 for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s 2016 Wildlife Management Area waterfowl hunts. A computerized drawing system will be held to select successful applicants based on the priority drawing system. Hunters may apply at any TWRA license agent, at any TWRA regional office, or online at www.tnwildlife.org ... (click for more)

TWRA Confirms Sighting Of Cougar In Wayne County

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has confirmed the sighting of a cougar in Wayne County on property located in an area between Linden and the county seat of Waynesboro. A trail camera captured the cat’s image on Sept. 4 and the agency, as it does when it receives reports accompanied by credible evidence, began investigating the report. “We often get asked what it means ... (click for more)

City To Begin Shipping Much Of Its Garbage To Bradley County

City Public Works Administrator Justin Holland said the city plans to begin shipping much of its garbage to Bradley County. He said the deal is projected to extend the life of the city landfill at Birchwood by 15 years. Mr. Holland said Bradley County "has a huge landfill and takes garbage from Knoxville and other municipalities. It's regional." He said Bradley County charges ... (click for more)

Man Says He Did Nothing To Provoke Shooting At Bakewell Gas Station; Suspect Says Victim Was Coming Toward Him

A 33-year-old man who was shot in the face during a clash at a Bakewell gas station said he did nothing to provoke the shooting. The man charged said the victim cursed him, then started toward him. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, after a hearing on Tuesday, bound to the Grand Jury a charge of attempted first-degree murder against Donald Stuard II, 29, of Old Washington ... (click for more)

Something Beautiful Happened Monday Night - Not The Debate

Monday, Sept. 26, our first presidential debate happened; no minds were changed.  Yet something beautiful and important happened.  The Atlanta Falcons, my team, played the New Orleans Saints.  Instead of some irrelevant, broad based, screw America protest, the opposing teams locked arms in unity. I was impressed. I have been a Falcon Fan since 1971 when WMOC AM ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 2.0 Embarrassment

Let’s pretend you are coming to a new and exciting world. You are on the jolly good ship “Mayflower” when some Miles Standish-type of a guy (he was the Pilgrim’s first cop) calls you into is presence and says, “Within two hours we are expected to stand on Plymouth Rock. Please come up with ten primary goals we should have in our public schools.” I believe you could do it within ... (click for more)