Friends gather at Penrose Farm to celebrate Foothills Land Conservancy progress

Folks from all over East Tennessee gathered Saturday evening, June 18, to celebrate the Foothills Land Conservancy’s successes while also helping raise awareness of the organization’s mission.

For the second year the annual celebration was held at Christine “Teenie” Hayworth’s Penrose Farm in West Knox County.

In 2007, Hayworth partnered with FLC to place a conservation easement on her property that includes an equine facility, gardens, open spaces and woodlands.

Elise Eustice, communication and development director, said this year’s event was well attended even though clouds threatened early in the day. “It was great,” said Hayworth. “We had a little rain early in the afternoon, but it cleared up and was beautiful,” she said. “We had close to 200 attend.”

Meredith Clebsch, FLC land director, put together a native compostable planter for each sponsorship table and those were sold as a fundraiser for the FLC. “All 40 our native planters were sold,” Eustice said.

News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable was the keynote speaker for evening. “Sam Venable entertained us with his perspective on getting older, so it was pretty funny,” she said. “I believe everyone had a great time.”

The dollar amount raised at the event wasn’t available. “We’re still totaling up all the donations,” Eustice said.

Eustice thanked Howard Kerr with Smoky Mountain Honey Co. of Louisville for donating 8 ounce bottles of honey for each guest. She said the Conservancy was also grateful to Waste Connections for being a sponsor. They provided recycling and trash service. Campbell Tent Rental provided the tents, and Holly’s Eventful Dining was also a sponsor. Both provided washable dishes, and Alcoa, Inc., donated canned water. Music and audio was provided by SVS - Stellar Visions and Sound audio.

Speakers included FLC director Bill Clabough, hostess Christine “Teenie” Hayworth and Bob Van Hook. Some of the guests on hand included FLC board president Bob Van Hook and his wife, Nancy Van Hook, FLC board member Ernie Blankenship and his wife, Pat Blankenship; Carol Evans, executive director of the Legacy Parks Foundation; Dr. Tom Bogart, president of Maryville College with his wife, Mary Bogart; and their daughter Elizabeth; Mary Kay and Bill Sullivan; and former State Sen. Jamie Woodson and her husband, Bill Woodson.

To date, FLC has more than 70 conservation easement partnerships in 13 counties. These agreements between a landowner and a land trust ensures that working farms, scenic views, woodlands and other natural areas will be preserved forever, or ‘in perpetuity’. All conservation easements coordinated through Foothills are voluntary, customized, approved by a Board of Directors and monitored at least once a year. Conservation-minded landowners have until Dec. 31 to take advantage of a significant tax deduction for donating a voluntary conservation agreement to permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their land. When landowners donate a conservation easement they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs while foregoing future development rights. They can also decide to bequeath the land to private or public entities.

To learn more about Foothills’ East Tennessee land conservation programs or to make a donation, call FLC’s office at 865-681-8326 or visit

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