About Us

Mission Statement of the Foothills Land Conservancy

Foothills Land Conservancy is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the lands and environments of the Southern Appalachian region and promoting the character of the land for the benefit of the general public, now and in the future.

Click Here to Watch a Short Video about Foothills Land Conservancy

Now in our 36th year of service, FLC has assisted in the preservation of over 135,000 acres of cherished mountains, working farms, and rural landscapes in 45 Tennessee counties and across 6 additional states!

Foothills primarily works with landowners who wish to permanently preserve the natural features of their property through a voluntary and customizable agreement, called a conservation easement. This is a legal contract between a landowner and FLC describing activities what activities may take place on a property in order to protect the land’s conservation values.  When an easement is signed and recorded, the owner (grantor) and FLC work together to protect the property. Landowners continue to own, use and live on the land.

FLC is a 501(c)(3) and does not receive any financial assistance from local, state or federal governments. Foothills relies on individual and corporate contributions solely to sustain their organization, land acquisition and stewardship funds.

To learn more about this history of Foothills as an organization, please click here.

Foothills Land Conservancy – 2021 Board of Directors

For a Board Member’s description, please click on their name. Individual members may serve two staggered, three year terms.  No one may serve more than three consecutive terms.  Board responsibilities include: fundraising, policy making, long range planning, land protection, and a range of specialized volunteer activities.

FLC Properties Foundation – 2021 Board of Directors

The FLC Properties Foundation, a separate but supporting organization for the Foothills Land Conservancy, accepts gifts of land, cash, or other assets to establish a fund to benefit land preservation efforts through land conservation, land acquisition, and land stewardship programs. The FLC Properties Foundation:

• Is designated as a 509(a)(3) supporting organization for the Conservancy
• Is governed by a separate Board of Directors
• Can accept restricted or unrestricted donations
• Will work with your financial advisor to facilitate your desired method of giving

FLC Staff Bios

Bill Clabough, Executive Director

Bill Clabough has spent his entire life in Blount County. A graduate of the Blount County School system and UT Knoxville, Bill spent 30 plus years in the retail grocery business in Blount County. In 2004 he was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly, serving 4 years in the Tennessee House and 6 years in the Tennessee Senate. He joined Foothills Land Conservancy in the spring of 2006 as the Executive Director with the charge to take the organization to the next level. Bill has put together a strong team that is moving Foothills Land Conservancy forward on land protection partnerships, land stewardship and community outreach. He has been involved in all project areas of Foothills. Through the course of overseeing the completion of many successful programs, Bill is always reminded that land protection is our business and our only business!

Meredith Clebsch, Biologist

Coming to FLC in 2007 from 25 years as proprietrix of Native Gardens, a native plant nursery, Meredith was delighted to have the opportunity to assist FLC in field work.  FLC had recently changed leadership and needed an able body to assist with various field work tasks.  Her formal education focused on botany and ecology along with agricultural training in animal science and horticulture, including some Peace Corps time in Costa Rica, so being outside was truly her main specialty.   Little did she know where this would lead.

Looking back, growth and change define the 14 years since.  After those early, easy days learning the beautiful backroads of Blount County, her trajectory became steep and most of her work as Land Director focused on monitoring all properties and on developing the Baseline Document Report (BDR).  This is essential for each Conservation Easement project and serves as a snapshot of the property at the time the easement is put in place.  BDRs include descriptions of all biological and cultural resources of the property and are used as a critical reference for protecting those resources into the future. As FLC rapidly grew, so did the need for ever more detailed BDRs and the need for her to train more field biologists.  For a few years the workload was intense (thanks Bill!), and she also worked with multiple consultants across several states to spread out the load.  Happily, Matt and Shelby Lyn came on board in 2018 and were a pleasure to work with as Meredith helped them negotiate the ever changing FLC maze.  They fledged quickly with flying colors as the Next Gen of FLC biologists, leaving Meredith to spend more time with projects that get dirt under her nails!

Learning the land has been a dream come true indeed, but also the wonderful people drawn to the land trust has made her work especially rich.  At one point Meredith was beginning the usual presentation to the Board for the Land Protection Committee and realized that sitting in front of her were 3 of her conservation idols – Board members Billy Minser, UT Wildlife Professor and conservationist extraordinaire; Clarence Coffee, TWRA guru of savannah restoration; and Jay Clark, PhD, UT Wildlife/musician.  So many other truly dedicated and caring Board members and landowners that give so much have made her work beyond rewarding.

The gift of the farm to FLC by Gail Harris is appreciated beyond words. Gail’s generosity is inspiring every day in our work, as are the environs of the office and farm that we share with so many wild things – ravens, great blue herons nesting, mink wandering by, quail and grasshopper sparrows calling!!  Having this opportunity to practice reciprocity with the land that supports us in so many ways is rare, and we are anticipating significant enlightenment as we progress.  To that end Meredith has begun enjoying dusting off her more earthy talents with initial native landscape projects at the farm as we begin to nest here in our new home.

Beyond life at FLC, Meredith enjoyed many years as a member of the Steering Committee for the annual Landscaping with Native Plants Conference in Cullowhee, NC.  She was also on the Board of the Watershed Association of Tellico Reservoir (WATeR) and helped in initial development of the hiking trails on Tellico Lake.  Otherwise she can usually be found on her small farm in Loudon County where she tends to her habitat gardens and pets or out cycling the back roads, kayaking the many waterways and hiking.

Elise Eustace, Communications & Development Director

Elise for Bio

Elise Eustace joined the FLC team in 2009 and has over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, client relations, event management, public speaking, and writing. She has a B.A. degree in Communications with a minor in Business from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.  Elise has served on the City of Maryville’s Tree Board, the Smoky Mountain Planned Giving Council Board, and the Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Board of Directors. She is a 2011 graduate of the Experience Your Smokies Program.  Elise is an avid hiker who enjoys getting acquainted with parks across the region.

Matthew Moore, Director of GIS

Matt Moore Photo


Matthew Moore joined the FLC team in 2017. Matthew studied at Berry College, receiving a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry in 2006.  In 2013 he graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Master of Forestry and a minor in Statistics.  Matthew worked for Vermont Youth Conservation Corps leading trail crews, for The Nature Conservancy restoring Mexican spotted owl habitat, and worked three years for the Park Service treating hemlocks, controlling exotic, invasive plants, and managing their GIS data.  His free time is spent with his wife and daughter camping, gardening, and identifying plants.

Shelby Lyn Sanders, Field Biologist


Shelby Lyn Sanders joined the FLC staff in 2017. She is a field biologist who assists with baseline documentation and annual monitoring of conservation easement properties. Shelby graduated from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in 2015, receiving a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science with a focus on management. An Oklahoma native, Shelby has called East Tennessee home since 2009. Her background includes working in both Tennessee and Kansas studying the ecology of grassland birds for UT’s Center for Native Grassland Management. Shelby Lyn also spent a year working for the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with UT, where she assisted with the data collection for various projects assessing growth and competitiveness of upland hardwoods in the Southern Appalachian region. In her free time, Shelby enjoys birding, visiting the Great Smoky Mountains, and watching NASCAR.

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