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

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Fireside at Greenway  Oct. 30 Erin Medley and a starry night Outdoor Chattanooga will finish our 2014 Fireside at Greenway Farm series with a special evening of guitar folk and stargazing this Thurs., Oct. 30, 7 ... (click for more)

Governor Haslam Dedicates Trail At Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area

Governor Haslam joined staff from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation last Friday to dedicate a new trail at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. “Tennessee has incredible natural areas that offer something for everyone, and this partnership will help protect and preserve these lands for future generations ... (click for more)

Two North Shore Sold To Pennsylvania Real Estate Firm For Almost $24 Million

The Two North Shore commercial development on Manufacturers Road in North Chattanooga has been sold to a Pennsylvania real estate firm for  $23,983,363. Steve Arnsdorff, who developed the successful center from the ground up and has continued to manage it, said the deal closed last week. He said the sale for the property at 319 Manufacturers Road is to Stoltz Real Estate ... (click for more)

Lookout Valley Middle High School Closed Friday Due To Water Main Break

County school officials said late Thursday night that LookoutValley Middle High School will be closed Friday due to a water main break. Officials said, "This is an official message from the Hamilton County Department of Education to the parents, faculty, and staff of Lookout Valley Middle High School.  Please accept our apologies for the lateness of this message. "Due ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)