Partner Profile: Lookout Mountain Conservancy
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Mission: The mission of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy is to protect Lookout Mountain’s scenic, historic and ecological resources through conservation, advocacy, recreation and education, for current and future generations. The Conservancy partners with local schools, particularly the Howard School, providing internships and a leadership program.
Why does Unum support the Lookout Mountain Conservancy? In addition to keeping the beautiful Chattanooga mountain region intact, the Conservancy partners with local schools to get kids outside and connect them to the scenery in Chattanooga’s backyard. The success of these programs was one of the main reasons Unum chose to partner with the Lookout Mountain Conservancy for the annual Unum Day of Caring, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
“Many land conservancy organizations don’t have supporting local underserved schools at the top of their priority list, but that’s not the case for LMC,” said Jeana Lee, community relations specialist. “They’re committed to not only connecting Chattanooga nature enthusiasts to their land, but more importantly, the programs put on by the Conservancy are making a huge impact on local students’ job and leadership skills. Public education is a main focus area for Unum’s community involvement, so supporting this program made perfect sense.”
How does Unum support the Lookout Mountain Conservancy? More than 300 Unum employees met at the Conservancy to help with projects as part of the Day of Caring. Groups of employees worked on creating a seating area on one trail, clearing overgrown paths and cleaning up trail areas. The overall goal was to connect Lookout Mountain trails to the Tennessee Riverwalk, also near the Howard School. Beth Lyon, coordinator of the Day of Caring, said it was nothing short of incredible to see everything and everyone come together.
“It was amazing for me to look out at a sea of Unum employees who normally don’t work together talking, laughing and so excited to be at the Conservancy,” Beth said. “What always gets me is the passion with which Unum employees work when asked to partner with organizations like this to bring communities together. I was walking with the manager at the Conservancy looking at the transformation of the property and she expressed how much the work meant to her and how it exceeded her expectations. That was the best reward, to me.”
What impact has it had on the Lookout Mountain Conservancy? Lookout Mountain Conservancy got 2,450 work hours completed as part of the Day of Caring, which would’ve cost $55,000 for the organization to have done otherwise. Unum employees completed the first five boulders as part of the first urban natural bouldering park in the southeast U.S. Employees also built 59 birdhouses, stacked 2,140 historic bricks, filled up a 40-foot dumpster with brush, layered plastic to control kudzu, and cleared trails, stairways and walls.
“It would have taken us eight months to a year to complete what Unum employees did in seven hours,” said Robyn Carlton, CEO of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. “Rarely am I left speechless, but as I saw the level of commitment, energy and determination to make a difference that every employee brought to the mountain, I found myself humbled by their selflessness and desire to serve.”
Marissa Wood, Unum volunteer at the Day of Caring, said the project was hard work but made her proud to work at Unum.
“I had never been out to the property before, but was interested in the work they were doing,” Marissa said. “I was nearly brought to tears by their video and the incredible impact the organization is making in the lives of Howard High students. I knew I wanted to get involved in their great work and support this organization at the Day of Caring.”