With 15-year-old triplets, 525 acres of land, hogs, cattle, sheep, donkeys, goats, horses, a successful law practice and construction on a colossal Bald Knob home to take care of, Charlie Jones knows theres a time and a place for everything.
As one of the area’s top real estate lawyers, he knows there’s a time to develop. But as a former president of the Woods and Waters Land Trust, he also knows there’s a time for conservation.
That’s why Jones, his wife, Robin, and their three children, Harper, Mackenzie and Keenan, will host the fourth annual Land Extravaganza Saturday.
The event raises funds – about $4,000-$5,000 each year – for the land trust, which protects and sustains the lower Kentucky River watershed.
“The extravaganza is a special fundraiser dinner because we always have it in a really special place and it helps illustrate who we are as an organization and what our mission is,” says trust board member Chris Schimmoeller.
“We’re really thrilled to have it at the Joneses this year because I think it will shine a nice spotlight on the conservation work that they do that they obviously care about.”
Through a cost-share program with the National Resources Conservation Service, the Joneses have fenced off more than 200 acres of their land to protect the river – and the streams and creeks that flow into it – from their animals.
The Joneses have also fenced off areas along the river that are home to the globe bladderpod and the Braun’s rockcress, both endangered species of flowers.
“(The cost-share program) enabled us to have a working farm and protect some sensitive areas at the same time,” said Charlie Jones. “We’re able to do some active management of the land, too. It’s been very beneficial.”
Jones has been practicing law since 1991 and has worked with the Planning and Zoning Commission on projects like Longhorn Steakhouse, Home Depot, Kohl’s and 10-15 subdivisions. So when the land trust formed in the mid-2000s, Jones says “it was kind of a stretch” for him to be invited to the initial meeting.
“But I think a number of them knew I had the farm, knew I was doing conservation practices and knew I had a love of the land and wanted to protect it,” he says.
“I just happened to be one who believes there’s a proper place for development and proper land that needs protection.”
Jones served as trust president for the group’s first two years and has stayed involved.
This year’s extravaganza will feature a farm tour that highlights several spectacular views overlooking the Kentucky River, appetizers and dinner made from locally-grown food, live music and a silent auction.
Those interested in coming don’t need to be farmers, or even landowners, Jones says.
“Any active community members or people interested in conservation or protecting forest land might come, too.
“It’s an opportunity for those who aren’t normally in this crowd or in this area to come out and find out about what we do.”
Schimmoeller agreed with Jones’ sentiment.
“Many people live and work in Frankfort because they love this area,” said Schimmoeller.
“We have a great community with many assets, and one of those assets is the land – the fantastically beautiful region that we live in. I’d like people to know that there is a group of volunteers actively working to protect that land.”