Jonathan and Monica Kern were always “fans” of The Nature Conservancy. Regular contributors over the years, they eventually became more personally involved as volunteers. Monica also served on the board.
“It was during the 1980’s and the chapter and membership were still very small,” says Monica. “A bunch of us would gather at the end of each quarter to sort and stack and put mailing labels on chapter newsletters.”
A decade later, a love of nature brought them together with the Conservancy in new ways after Jonathan, a dealer of rare coins and precious metals, purchased a 111-acre property located along the Kentucky River at a foreclosure auction in 1992. Just 25 miles outside of Lexington, the property harbored turkey, red-tailed hawk, quail and other wildlife. Upon closer examination, the Kerns determined that the property was too unique. . . . too special . . . to ruin with any manmade structures.
“There aren’t many places like this in Lexington,” adds Monica. “We didn’t want to see it turned into a housing development.”
Instead, they contacted The Nature Conservancy to assess the property’s conservation value. After spotting a rare orchid and the rich array of wildlife, the Conservancy deemed the location important enough for permanent preservation, leading the Kerns to donate a conservation easement on the property in 2001.
Since then, the Kerns sold the property, with the conservation easement still in place, to a landowner who was thrilled to keep it in its natural state. They remain fans of The Nature Conservancy, sending in regular contributions and participating in the occasional canoe trip.
According to Monica Kern, they enjoy staying connected. “We’ve always admired the Conservancy’s approach to purchasing lands as a solution to protecting them forever. It was an honor to work with them in this way and we are glad for the work they do here in Kentucky.”
Jonathan Kern agrees, adding that the Conservancy’s status as a private nonprofit organization, rather than a governmental agency, was especially appealing to him.