Natural Land Institute receives 80-acre gift in White County

Natural Land Institute receives 80-acre gift in White County


When KaNella Renshaw died in November 1999, her will gave clear directions about what she wanted done with her land. Eighty acres of steep, treed slopes and stream-cradling ravines, old agricultural fields hugged by oaks and hickories will remain undeveloped as a refuge for wildlife, thanks to the foresight of Renshaw of Carmi, Ill.

The property has been in the Renshaw family for many years and is located in White County in southeast Illinois, approximately four miles southwest of Carmi. Approximately half of the acreage is in agriculture; of that, 30 acres is in the Federal Conservation Program until 2003, and the other half is wooded.

“The site is interesting physiographically and probably was near the prairie-forest border in pre-settlement times,” said Max Hutchison, former NLI field representative who completed a brief survey of the property before the donation was accepted. “Species diversity is good, even though many exotics are also present.”

Though the property shows disturbance, mostly from agriculture and timbering, Jerry Paulson, executive director of the NLI, says the hope is to get local conservation groups in the area to assist the Institute in restoring the area by planting trees and native prairie plants.

The Natural Land Institute was alerted to the possible donation through Renshaw’s attorney. Renshaw requested that the land be given to the state and should the state decline the offer, which they did, a tax-exempt organization who would take the property should be found. The property will be named the KaNella Renshaw Wildlife Preserve.

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