Aerial view of Hobby Horse Farm in the mountains of western Virginia.
Hobby Horse Farm “This farm is, for us, heaven on Earth,” said Truman Semans. © TNC

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Gift of Family Farm to The Nature Conservancy Will Help Preserve the Appalachians

A generous gift by Truman Semans of his family’s historic Hobby Horse Farm in Bath County, Virginia, will elevate The Nature Conservancy’s adjoining Warm Springs Mountain Preserve into a flagship preserve for the Appalachians.

“This farm is, for us, heaven on Earth,” said Truman Semans. “We are proud to give it to The Nature Conservancy.”

The farm will help create a landscape-wide hub for implementing climate-resilient conservation; for hosting scientists, students, legislators, and environmental leaders; as a training center for fire crews; and as a platform for the entire Appalachians.

In 2002, The Nature Conservancy protected more than 9,000 acres in this heart of the Allegheny Highlands creating what is now the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. Adjacent to the historic Omni Homestead resort and George Washington National Forest, the preserve represents one of the largest and most ecologically significant private forests in the Central Appalachians. 

This farm is, for us, heaven on Earth. We are proud to give it to The Nature Conservancy.

Hobby Horse Farm is strategically located in the middle of the greater Appalachian Mountain range that stretches 2,000 miles from Alabama to Canada. The Nature Conservancy’s goal over the next five years is to protect 3 million of the 21 million acres identified in this region as critical for creating an Appalachian wildlife corridor for migration as the climate changes.

Hobby Horse Farm and The Nature Conservancy’s Warm Springs Mountain Preserve share the same lineage. Both owe their existence to the Ingalls family who, more than a century ago, purchased the mountain that rose over the fabled Homestead Resort. Smitten by the mountain’s beauty, they carved out their own oasis on its western shoulder. Truman and Nellie Semans, too, felt the pull of the mountain, and, for decades, lovingly stewarded the farm for their own family and championed the ongoing conservation of Warm Springs Mountain, which surrounds the farm on three sides. 

This gift will profoundly impact our work across the Appalachians and help us achieve our bold conservation vision in the decades to come.

Locke Ogens Executive Director of TNC in Virginia

“This beautiful 600-acre property sits below and seamlessly fits into our Allegheny Highland Program’s Warm Springs Mountain Preserve,” said Locke Ogens, TNC’s Virginia director. “This gift will profoundly impact our work across the Appalachians and help us achieve our bold conservation vision in the decades to come.”

Truman Semans has been a champion for conservation in Virginia—a member of the board of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation since its inception and a board member of The Conservation Fund, the Audubon Society, and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He served for many years on the board of The Nature Conservancy in Virginia.

For more than 70 years, The Nature Conservancy has protected the lands and waters on which all life depends. It has protected 119 million acres globally with more than 500,000 acres in Virginia. 

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.