The Community of the Transfiguration was founded in southern Ohio in 1898. Ten years later, they had branched out into Bat Cave, NC, where they were honored this past Sunday for conveying 368 acres of conservation land in the Bat Cave area to a land trust dedicated to environmental conservation, education, and research.
The local Citizen Times reports,
At its annual awards banquet Sunday, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy presented its 2016 Lela McBride Award to the 118-year-old Community of the Transfiguration. In 2015, the Episcopal nuns placed 410 acres of their land in Hickory Nut Gorge into conservation easement and conveyed title to 368 of the conserved acres to the CMLC, a Hendersonville-based land trust that works in Henderson, Transylvania and parts of other neighboring counties. The property is located in the Henderson County town of Bat Cave, along the Broad River and its tributaries. …
CMLC completed a riparian corridor study of the Upper Broad River watershed in 2006. The study identified and ranked parcels in the watershed based upon their importance for protection of water quality. The Community of Transfiguration property ranked No. 1 out of several hundred parcels included in the study for conservation in terms of its beneficial impact on protection of water quality in the Upper Broad River watershed. The property provides habitat for rare species such as the green salamander (Aneides aeneus) and the tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus).
The article describes how the community of Episcopal nuns originally began acquiring the land back in the early 1900s as a way of providing relief for farmers who were “land rich and cash poor”. They have retained 40 acres of the mountainous land placed into conservation easement for their own retreat center and conveyed 368 acres to become the Hickory Nut Gorge Teaching and Research Reserve. The value of the land conveyed was appraised at $1.7 million.
Featured image: Perimyotis subflavus hibernating, by USFWS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons