Cherish something, and you’ll protect it, right? That’s precisely what Memphis-based Wolf River Conservancy aims to accomplish through its myriad communal offerings. Recently, the organization began the final stages of a multi-year project that will introduce miles upon miles of interconnected nature trails for Memphians to enjoy and protect as stewards of their ecosystems. 

The Wolf River Conservancy’s Chief Development Officer, Susan Graham, was first drawn to work for the organization after learning about their strategic and social approach to conservation. As an accredited land trust, The Wolf River does more than just plant trees and secure land; it also offers plenty of free, educational, and recreational programs for the community to get out and experience the very nature they are trying to protect. 

The Wolf River watershed, which runs from downtown Memphis through Collierville and Germantown and into Mississippi, is a lush ecosystem home to a variety of flora and fauna. Over 200 bird species, including Bald Eagles and other wildlife such as beavers, otters, foxes, bobcats, and raccoons, inhabit the area. 

In a monumental public and private partnership with Memphis Parks and Shelby County, the conservancy entered a multi-year partnership to develop the Wolf River Greenway, a 26-mile, 12-foot-wide paved trail that connects 22 Memphis neighborhoods with open access to green areas along the Wolf River. By connecting the Greenway to a broader urban landscape for everyday use, the path will help Memphians foster a deeper appreciation and connection to the environment by encouraging healthy outdoor activities that support the local economy. 

“It excites me that there could absolutely be a point-to-point full marathon trail there in the future,” she adds. 

As an avid runner, Susan has completed 15 half marathons, five full marathons, and one ultra. With 14 miles already constructed, she is excited to run the entire length of the path upon its completion. 

“I appreciate the community that the Greenway brings to runners and bikers in Memphis as a welcoming and safe, well-maintained path. It means a lot to me and is a great asset to our city.” 

There are many ways to support the Greenway project. You can donate on their website or via one of their free, monthly educational webinars that cover topics like wolves, pollinators, and endangered plant species. 

There are also ample opportunities to become involved in the organization’s community, like First Saturday Paddle events that invite people to canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard together across 75 miles of river, or their Greenway Soiree returning this fall at the FedEx Event Center in Shelby Farms to enjoy cocktails, silent auctions, dinner and the opportunity to experience our mission hands-on, along with a view overlooking a setting sun on the waterfront. Their events attract all demographics, including families. 

“There are a lot of opportunities and resources for people to deepen their understanding of the environment and why it’s important to take care of it. Through our diverse recreational programs, we can get people to experience the river and watershed and gain an appreciation for how our conservation efforts protect that ecosystem to provide clean water and a sustainable habitat.” 

For more information about the Wolf River Conservancy, to donate, or get involved, visit  

By Shlomit Ovadia 

Photo by Tindall Stephens