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

Foothills Land Conservancy celebrated another successful land preservation year in 2015 with the completion of a record number 24 land partnerships totaling 7215 acres. These projects span 5 states and cover 7 Tennessee counties! To date, FLC’s cumulative land preservation efforts now cover 65,900 acres within the 7 states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and recent additions of Alabama and Virginia. FLC’s projects also involve two new Tennessee counties – Clay and Humphreys.  FLC has also received 4 fee-simple land donations.

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 – 2018 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.

2018 FLC Properties Foundation

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, FLC 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, Land Director


Meredith Clebsch joined the FLC team in 2007 monitoring conservation easements and preparing baseline documentation reports. Meredith’s formal education includes a BS degree in Animal Science from Clemson University with minors in Horticulture and Wildlife Biology. She also completed a number of graduate and undergraduate level courses at the University of TN in botany, ecology, horticulture and wildlife biology. For 25 years Meredith owned and operated a successful native plant nursery in Greenback, TN, which included consultation and design services involving considerable field work in plant identification and landscapes interpretation. Much of her recreational time is spent outdoors hiking and pursuing nature study.

Elise Eustace, Communications & Development Director

Elise for Bio

Elise Eustace, Communications & Development Director – Elise Eustace joined the FLC team in 2009 and has over 15 years of experience in marketing in 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 previously served on the City of Maryville Tree Board, the Smoky Mountain Planned Giving Council Board and the Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Board of Directors. She was a 2011 graduate of the Experience Your Smokies Program. She is an avid hiker who enjoys getting acquainted with all area parks.

Tom Howe, Biologist

Tom Howe Image

Tom Howe joined the staff at Foothills Land Conservancy in 2015 as a biologist to monitor easement properties and prepare baseline document reports. He received his B.S. degree in Biology from Cornell University and has taken additional courses in botany/ecology at the University of TN, Knoxville. Birdwatching has been his avid hobby for over 50 years and is currently the sitting president of the Knoxville Chapter of the TN Ornithological Society. This passion has been joined by the study and photography of the region’s plants, butterflies and dragonflies. He came to TN in the 70s to work for the National Park Service in the Great Smoky Mountains, joining a team researching the destructive feeding habits of the European Wild Boar. He is currently a volunteer with the Park monitoring its biological inventory.

Matthew Moore, Conservation Assistant

Matt Moore Photo


Matthew Moore joined the FLC team in 2017 as a Conservation Assistant. 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, Staff Member

Shelby Lyn Sanders


Shelby Lyn Sanders joined the FLC staff in 2017, assisting both the Executive Director and in the preparation of baseline documentation reports.  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 for seven years.  Her background includes work 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 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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