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    Banks and Elbert Counties, Georgia

    114 Acres | December 25, 2006
    Mike Kemph. donor
    Conservation Easement

    For Mike Kemph, good things definitely come in threes. That’s the number of parcels of land on which he donated easements to the Wildlife Land Trust in 2006, permanently protecting more than 114 acres of habitat in northeastern Georgia. Mr. Kemph has helped bring back diverse native woodlands, swamps, and fields—in turn, migratory birds, coyotes, raccoons, turkeys, fox, and rattlesnakes now have healthy and permanently protected places to call home.


    In late 2006, he decided to donate conservation easements on all three parcels at the same time in order to take advantage of newly adopted federal tax incentives for conservation easements.

    For many years, Mike Kemph watched commercial and residential development claim land in Georgia, and saw how remaining forests and farmland were scarred by intense logging and agriculture. Determined to do his part to protect land and the wildlife that live there, he bought three parcels of land during the 1980s. On two of his properties—an old cotton farm and farm fields that had been subject to persistent drought—the land was dried out and hardly any trees or vegetation remained. Through state and federal conservation programs, Mr. Kemph planted and helped native trees to grow back. As a result, the soil turned moist and nourishing again.

    Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met.  These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.

    HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept.  If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

    Heron Close-up

    The statuesque heron is a handsome and distinctive bird, with a six-foot wing-span and signature blue-gray feathers.


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