Longtime Trust friend Fred Ziegler became the first founding member of the Humane Stewardship Alliance, pledging to follow humane stewardship principles in managing his nearly 2900 acres in Tennessee.

With three streams and 1.5 miles of frontage along one of North America’s most biologically rich rivers, Fred’s land is home to a cougar, black bears, deer, coyotes, bald eagles, woodcocks, two imperiled bat species and the imperiled Eastern hellbender. The land also helps around 300 migratory bird species.

Fred began purchasing land about 15 years ago and spent many years contemplating conservation easements. But their permanency worried him, as he wanted his daughters to have some freedom in how they might later use the land. To sustain the care of his land for generations to come, Fred is looking into obtaining carbon credits since his vast area of land is clearly doing its part to help fight climate change.

While the Trust was preparing to launch the Humane Stewardship Alliance, Fred happened to ask if there could be an option uniting people who care about wildlife and want to protect their land, but don’t want a complicated contract that permanently controls the land. That’s exactly what the Alliance offers, so more lands can be protected in a wildlife-friendly manner.

“My daughters are animal lovers, too,” says Fred, “but with the pledge, they have the freedom to change it and engage with it in their own way. My land is a sizable part of my estate, so I want them to have that freedom.”

Fred is choosing to protect all native wildlife from hunting, rather than only native predators, a wonderful example of how an individual landowner’s pledge can be customized.

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