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

World-Class Highliner Takes Sport To New Heights In Chattanooga

Local world-class highliner Edward Yates will rig lines of great heights on the Tennessee Aquarium peaks and then walk across them as a unique feature of RiverRocks 2014. “I have always loved the Tennessee Aquarium and this has been a dream of mine for my life,” said Mr. Yates. “There has never been an urban highline event like this before. The symmetry of the Aquarium’s ... (click for more)

Star Party At Cloudland Canyon Park Is Nov. 1

The Barnard Astronomical Society is conducting Star Party at Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event  is hosted by Friends of the Park and Cloudland Canyon Park Staff. The first part of the program will be at the Canyon overlook, near the Interpretative Center, beginning at 4 p.m., where there will be at least 1 telescope for solar observations. ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)