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A letter from Marc Evans, KNLT Founder & Board Member

At heart, I am a deep ecologist. I believe that all lifeforms, great and small, have intrinsic value. For almost 30 years I was the senior botanist and ecologist for the Natural Heritage Program in what is now the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves. In that role I witnessed the widespread destruction of Kentucky’s remaining forests, prairies and wetlands. I came to realize that without serious intervention, we stood to lose most of our amazing wildlands and with them the globally significant biodiversity that all life depends on! 

This understanding spurred me and a group of friends to establish Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and build connections with people who shared our sense of urgency for protecting the land. Two incredible people who have always had this passion are Tanya and Wendell Berry. In our conversations over the years, Wendell would remind me that all the Earth needs protecting, and that our footprint on the planet should be gentle, thoughtful and always with affection. A farmer-poet, activist and KNLT Advisor, Wendell has provided this reflection of KNLT’s mission to protect wildlands. We are grateful to receive such praise. 

“As I have said often, but not often enough, I don’t think we humans can permanently safeguard some of the land until we persuade ourselves to safeguard all of it. I am talking about Aldo Leopold’s “land community” – the whole shebang.

And so when I look at the record, and the map, of the good work of Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, I am happy for two reasons: first, because so much land has been taken into our care already; second, because I’m seeing what we humans can do when we get our minds properly made up and are properly led.”

~ Wendell Berry 

Wendell embraces Aldo Leopold’s idea of a land ethic, which calls on us to “think like a mountain,” to take a holistic view of our place in the ecosystem. The land community encompasses soils, waters, plants, animals, and people, each of which are equally important pieces in a mutually dependent whole. He asserts that we have a responsibility to “safeguard all of it.”

The time is now to take up Wendell’s directive and take action. I hope you will join Tanya and Wendell, the KNLT board, staff and me in supporting the wildlands conservation movement of Kentucky Natural Lands Trust. 

Over the last 29 years, KNLT has protected more than 57,000 acres of wildlands, directly and through partnerships, across the Commonwealth. These wildlands are essential to safeguarding biodiversity, providing climate resilience and strengthening interconnected natural and human communities. Protecting as much of this vital place as possible is a way that you and I can answer the calls of Aldo Leopold and my friend Wendell.

Please donate to continue and grow this good work. Our entire organization and all the conservation work we do can only exist because of you and your trust in our mission. Click here to give using our secure online form: DONATE TODAY

Featured with this note is an art print by Arwen Donahue that was mailed to everyone on KNLT’s address list. Arwen is a farmer-artist who is a partner in KNLT’s work. She found inspiration in Wendell’s words and a few cedar waxwings in a wild persimmon tree. I hope you feel inspired, as well. On behalf of the entire KNLT family, I thank you so much for your support. I know the wildlands we protect, and all the wild life, also thank you! 

With sincere gratitude,

Marc Evans
KNLT Founder & Board Member

KNLT is grateful to all our partners, especially Wendell Berry and Arwen Donahue, for their incredible contributions of words and art.

cover photo: Cedar waxwing ~ Ward Ransdell
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