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The Thousand-Acre Woods

The Corum family farm, where stewardship is a way of life.

The Corum family farm, where stewardship is a way of life.

For Harlan County, Ky. landowners Jim and Joanne Corum, conservation is a way of life. For the Corums, making the choice to enroll their land in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)—one of the largest private-land conservation programs of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)—was an easy one.

Jim and Joanne Corum have always strived to leave their land better than they found it, and CSP provided a perfect opportunity for them to make good on that sentiment. The program is geared toward landowners, like the Corums, who are already using conservation and want to take their efforts to the next level. The couple enrolled 1,319 acres from their properties in two Kentucky counties in 2012.

With their CSP conservation plan, the Corums committed themselves to implementing conservation activities in their forest stands to improve wildlife habitat and soil quality. They left snags (dead trees) and den trees, and added coarse, woody debris to the forest floor. These practices provide nesting and cover opportunities for bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species, while also providing habitat for the insects and detritus on which they feed.

Jim and Joanne Corum walk in the woods on their farm in eastern Kentucky.

Jim and Joanne Corum walk in the woods on their farm in eastern Kentucky.

“When we bought the land, back in the 50s, it was just a briar hill,” says Joanne in reference to their Bell County tract of land, which is now home to scores of wildlife and an abundance of healthy forest, as well as Jim and Joanne.

Before stepping up their conservation game by participating in CSP, the Corums constructed several miles of hiking and fire management trails, two shallow water habitat ponds and two ephemeral wildlife pools. They also improved several hundred acres of timberlands.

They have been recognized for their efforts with many awards, including 2006 Kentucky Outstanding Forest Steward of the Year by NRCS. In addition, Jim served as the Kentucky Woodland Owner’s Association President from 2007-2009.

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Jim and Joanne Corum enjoy the beautiful view on their land that was once a briar hill, but is now a beautiful healthy forest home to scores of wildlife.

Jim and Joanne Corum enjoy the beautiful view on their land that was once a briar hill, but is now a beautiful healthy forest home to scores of wildlife.

3 Responses to “The Thousand-Acre Woods”

  1. Jamie Corum says:

    Thank you Mom and Dad for making your corner of Earth a better and more beautiful place! The land has brought such joy to me and Jimmy and so many others. I am proud to be a part of its history and look forward to watching it grow and become even more beautiful throughout my lifetime.

  2. Nina Bryant says:

    Great job Jim and Joanne Corum!! Wow you really have done a wonderful job with such a beautiful place!

  3. Laura Jones says:

    Thank you Jim and Joanne Corum for the wonderful work that you have done. I am so proud to be from the area in KY. KY is such a beautiful place and with the work you are doing its going to be enjoyed for all the other generations to enjoy. Thank you so much and I hope your efforts lead the way for other land owners to do the same.

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