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Wildlands Blog: by Kelly Bartley, KNLT Board Chair

Spring has arrived and with it we are reminded of one of the many amazing functions of wildlands: a path for birds and other species traveling to spend summer months north of their winter homes. During peak migration, as many as five million birds fly over Kentucky on a single spring night pursuing northerly breeding grounds. Among them is the black-throated blue warbler, seeking out the Appalachian corridor to make its age-old journey from the Caribbean to eastern Kentucky, the northeast United States and beyond. The warbler requires large, unbroken forest areas to successfully make its momentous trek and nest.

Thousands of people like you have joined with Kentucky Natural Lands Trust in our movement to safeguard species and the landscapes they depend on. Now, we find ourselves at a time when we know that we must work even more urgently to permanently conserve wild places in Kentucky and beyond.

We ask you to consider a donation to KNLT this spring to continue this vital work, but also to help us grow and accelerate these efforts.

Today, the role of forests, wetlands, cave systems and other wildlands in sustaining life on Earth is better understood than ever. We know wildlands clean our water, clear our air, store carbon, and provide essential habitat to species that are adapting to a changing climate. They buffer our communities against natural disasters, give us food, medicine, and recreational opportunities. Wild places even help restore our mental wellbeing, connection to land, and sense of wonder. Wildlands are special places that are critical to our planet and its future.

With the support of donors and volunteers, KNLT has worked for 28 years to permanently conserve 55,000 acres of wildlands across Kentucky. We’ve focused on large landscapes through our pillars of biodiversity, climate and community, and have worked closely with partners to maximize impact. Pine Mountain, the 125-mile forested ridgeline running from Tennessee through southeast Kentucky to Virginia continues to be a focus of our work. It is a spectacular wild place and reflects one of the largest conservation efforts in Kentucky’s history.

The strides we have made are significant. However, both globally and locally, we continue to see wild places disappear and fragment in the face of human pressures. Science tells us that an insufficient portion of land in the U.S. and in Kentucky is held for conservation as a natural area. At the same time, the Appalachian corridor including Pine Mountain and other sections passing through Kentucky continues to be globally recognized among the most significant and diverse temperate forests on Earth. Please don’t wait; your gift today can protect these Kentucky wildlands.

On behalf of all of us at Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, I thank you for taking a local action that makes a global impact today, and for generations to come.

With sincere gratitude,

Kelly Bartley
Board Chair

KNLT is grateful to all our partners, especially Joanne Price (Starpointe Studio) for this incredible, unique black-throated blue warbler artwork she crafted for our appeal.

cover photo: WIldlands of Pine Mountain ~ James Shambhu
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