206 Acres Of Critical Cedar Glade Habitat Protected By Conservation Easement In Rutherford County

  • Thursday, April 18, 2024
Roger McCoy and Jane Griffin at the Lamar Cedar Glades and Woodlands Dedication Event in her honor on family land adjacent to the protected, critical cedar glade habitat in Rutherford County, April 12.
Roger McCoy and Jane Griffin at the Lamar Cedar Glades and Woodlands Dedication Event in her honor on family land adjacent to the protected, critical cedar glade habitat in Rutherford County, April 12.
photo by Jon D. B., TennGreen
TennGreen Land Conservancy, its members, partner organizations and friends gathered with the public last Friday to celebrate the protection of 206 acres of critical cedar glade habitat outside Mt. Juliet.

This environmental protection project, Lamar Cedar Glades and Woodlands, has been in the works for more than a decade. With the completion of a conservation easement, the land is now permanently protected, making it the largest known privately-owned glade habitat in the area.

Lamar Cedar Glades and Woodlands was made possible by property owner Jane Griffin, whose family has stewarded the land for several generations.
The Friday event celebrated her commitment to cedar glade conservation alongside her legacy.

“I want to thank TennGreen and our friends at the state for their leadership in protecting Tennessee’s beauty,” Ms. Griffin told attendees Friday. “It makes me very happy to know this land will be protected long after I’m here.”

Officials said, "Ms. Griffin has generously hosted many wildflower hikes for friends of TennGreen, as she’s passionate about sharing her land with others to further enviornmental education, especially around cedar glades. Now, her legacy also ensures the perpetual protection of 206-acres of this unique habitat.

"Middle Tennessee is home to unique limestone glades that are known as 'cedar glades' due to the eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) that populate their rocky outskirts. Lamar Cedar Glades and Woodlands is exceptional, as three rare species that only thrive in cedar glades have been found on the property: Limestone fameflower (Phemeranthus calcaricus), Tennessee milkvetch (Astragalus tennesseensis), and glade cleft phlox (Phlox bifida ssp. stellaria)."

“Today, we gather to celebrate an extraordinary act of stewardship and conservation, as we extend our deepest gratitude to Jane Griffin and her family for their decision to place a conservation easement on more than 200 acres of precious land,” TennGreen’s Executive Director Alice Hudson Pell, said during the event.

“This remarkable commitment to conservation not only safeguards the beauty and biodiversity of our natural world but also sets a shining example for generations to come,” Ms. Hudson Pell said.

All three of the most critical conservation plans TennGreen uses to guide its work describe Ms. Griffin’s property as high protection priority.

Director of the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas Roger McCoy also spoke at the celebration to highlight its brilliance.

"I've known Jane for over 20 years, and to see her commitment to cedar glade habitat come full circle has been extraordinary,” Mr. McCoy, who has led threatened and endangered plant research in Tennessee for decades, said of Ms. Griffin. “She cares so deeply about preserving this landscape, and thanks to her critical work with TennGreen, it is now safe from the rapidly-encroaching development nearby.”

“Nashville and its surrounding suburbs are experiencing unprecedented development, placing immense pressure on the delicate ecosystems that call these regions home,” Mr. Pell added. “It's up to each of us to step up and take action to protect these vital habitats before it's too late. Protecting cedar glades not only safeguards the biodiversity of our state but also ensures the survival of species found nowhere else on Earth.”

“The Tennessee coneflower is a powerful example,” Mr. McCoy said. “This species is only found in Middle Tennessee’s cedar glades, but the majority of the population was destroyed by the development of the Nashville Speedway. After careful consideration and research, we were able to reintroduce the species to Jane’s land years ago. Today, this once-endangered wildflower species can be found here again and is protected by TennGreen’s conservation easement.”

TennGreen’s Director of Communications Jon D. Bumpus said to attendees,“You’re surrounded by one of the most unique ecosystems on our already incredibly unique planet. Cedar glades may not be as ruggedly flashy as Rock Island, or as breathtakingly beautiful as Virgin Falls, but they are every bit as impressive and important once you get to know them. We all owe a debt to Jane, our partners and TennGreen’s Conservation Easement Manager Kristen Hanratty for this extraordinary accomplishment.”

"To this end, cedar glades are also an excellent example of the importance of nature education," officials said.

“Growing up, the nearby Cedars of Lebanon State Park was not the most impressive Tennessee park to visit to myself and my siblings. It’s flat, there are cedar trees and rocks. That’s about it, right? Wrong!” Mr. Bumpus said. “This area truly is a wonderland, one you’d never come to know if you judge the book by its cover.”
TennGreen Land Conservancy board, staff, colleagues and the public gather to celebrate Jane Griffin’s protection of cedar glades through their conservation easement
TennGreen Land Conservancy board, staff, colleagues and the public gather to celebrate Jane Griffin’s protection of cedar glades through their conservation easement
photo by Jon D. B., TennGreen
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