BENEFITING: The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy has just acquired the iconic Niobrara chalk formation in western Kansas known as “Little Jerusalem,” bringing it under the permanent stewardship of the adjoining Smoky Valley Ranch. A lead challenge gift of $200,000 has been made to help complete this purchase and make other expansions to the preserve.
When the Conservancy purchased Smoky Valley Ranch in 1999, it was the largest private conservation land acquisition in Kansas history. The opportunity to preserve one of the best remnants of shortgrass prairie in the state was one that couldn’t be missed. Also, the purchase of the Ranch would allow new scientific research and a management system that demonstrates sustainable grazing practices for both bison and cattle. Seventeen years later, Smoky Valley Ranch has seen some significant changes, such as welcoming home one of the rarest mammals in the world, the black-footed ferret. What hasn’t changed is the guiding philosophy of the Conservancy, which continues to operate the Ranch with the needs of both the natural and human populations of the area in mind.
We now have the opportunity to add over 4,200 acres of protected land to our conservation work at Smoky Valley Ranch. With a mixture of fee-title acquisition and conservation easements, this expansion of Smoky Valley Ranch will allow us to grow the bison herd and more effectively manage habitat for black-footed ferrets. It will upgrade our facilities in order to allow for more university research to take place onsite. And with your support, we will be able to begin installing the necessary infrastructure to allow public access to Little Jerusalem for the first time in generations.
Please watch the video and help us to get the most out of this challenge gift.