The St. Elmo Preservation Project in Chattanooga, Tennessee, protects the scenic, historic, and ecological resources of Lookout Mountain through conservation and advocacy. In doing so, it creates a safe space for community recreation for current and future generations. The project began as an effort to connect the Guild-Hardy and St. Elmo trails but turned into a community-wide effort to preserve forested land at risk of development.Stretching 90+ miles across three states (Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia), Lookout Mountain is one of the most biologically diverse and critically imperiled ecoregions in the world. The 58-acre oak-pine forest is situated between the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park and the historic St. Elmo neighborhood. In St. Elmo, there are no pre-existing easements or restrictions that protect the project area trees – in fact, the St. Elmo property and much of the surrounding area is zoned for low-density residential development. In the absence of this project, it’s estimated that 90% of total biomass in the area is at risk of removal because of residential development.By protecting this property, the conservancy ensures connectivity between habitat corridors and provides essential wildlife habitat for several species, including eastern box turtles, red-tailed hawks, black bears, and spotted salamanders. Additionally, the project helps further recreation opportunities by linking St. Elmo at the base of the mountain to the existing trail system, allowing hikers, bikers, and horseback riders to enjoy the property.The conservancy partners with a local high school, The Howard School, to provide employment and scholarship opportunities for at-risk teens. The interns learn about ecological conservation while building skills for their future. They are primarily responsible for helping to maintain and restore forested areas.The property is an invaluable environmental asset for the local community and the broader tri-state region and will provide natural beauty and recreation for all. The revenue from the sale of carbon credits will provide additional funding to support conservation efforts and the continued work of the intern and leadership program.