When the pandemic first started, Legacy adapted but remained committed to our mission and focused on our love of the land. Over time, the ripple effect of the pandemic routinely slowed our work and challenged us in ways we didn’t know possible. But, we were persistent. We leaned on each other, the generosity of our supporters, and the hope that better things were on the horizon.
Legacy held steadfast in our new way forward and by July of 2021, we were rewarded for our patience. Michigan began to slowly open up from the pandemic and its stringent protocols, and Legacy too, began to gradually emerge. There were still limitations, delays, and inconveniences, but there was much to celebrate—Legacy was back at the office, in the field, and into the community! [Click here for the full report]
We welcomed the return of our in-person Land Partner Gathering, held multiple preserve volunteer workdays, and continued working to create more accessibility at our preserves thanks to a generous anonymous donor. With the help of stewardship crew members and our very first Huron Pines AmeriCorps member, we completed an enormous amount of invasive species removal and installed a new boardwalk at The Anthony & Rose Shatter Family Preserve.
We deepened our new commitment to Lenawee County by connecting with community members, leaders, and organizations, and developing new partnerships with groups like the Lenawee Intermediate School District and River Raisin Watershed Council. We also formally agreed to the enormous responsibility of assuming the conservation easements of the dissolving Lenawee-based Raisin Valley Land Trust.
Half way through the year, there was even more to revel in—the land protection log jam amplified by the pandemic finally broke free and our stalled land acquisition projects picked up steam! In a matter of months, we closed conservation easements on four remarkable pieces of land, protecting a total of 140 acres that benefit water quality and increase contiguous wildlife habitats within the River Raisin and Huron River watersheds.
Bringing these projects to the finish line is a win for our community, for land protection, and for future generations of land lovers. Each acre we protect means a cleaner, healthier future for us all.
It has been a whirlwind of a year. Our conservation easement pipeline continues to grow at a tremendous rate as more and more people are joining Legacy to conserve the land, water, and natural spaces we all cherish. And, with numerous projects lined up, we’re on track to protect another 1000 acres in the upcoming year.
It’s clear we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Thanks to our wonderful community of supporters and the momentum we’ve gained in such a short time, we’re confident that together we’ll successfully work to protect these important lands.
As we look ahead, we’re working toward strategically planning for land stewardship thanks to Myrna Berlet, a generous Jackson County philanthropist. The gift she bequeathed to Legacy will help build a sustainable future of stewardship on our public nature preserves. Her legacy will be represented in the stewarding of these lands.
With your support Legacy is eager to ride the wave of land protection and stewardship opportunities to preserve even more of our beautiful forests, prairies, wetlands, farms, and waterways. We’re so fortunate to have you joining us for the ride!
Yours in Conservation,
Diana Kern, Executive Director & Larry Doll, Board President