Legacy Land Conservancy Annual Report 2022-2023

FY22-23 Annual Report cover image - drone footage of Arnold fen, photo by Eric Bronson University of Michigan mediaFull speed ahead!

As we put another year between us and the start of the pandemic four years ago, we’re acquiescing that COVID-19 will be here forever as it transitions into its endemic phase. Even though our lives will never be the same, so much has improved again over the last year that Legacy is happily embracing the return to a way of life that looks and feels more than ever like pre-pandemic times.

Thankfully when the pandemic started loosening its grip and our land protection log jam broke free last year, Legacy caught a well-deserved wave of momentum. We’ve been riding the wave ever since and enjoying the wind at our back, energizing us and pushing our team into high gear. [Click here for the full report]

This year, we celebrated officially assuming the first five Raisin Valley Land Trust properties, closing three land projects that protect a rare fen and hundreds of acres of important farmland, and crossing the 10,000 total acres protected milestone!

We extended our tri-county outreach through various events and partnerships with organizations like Lenawee Intermediate School District, Raisin Valley Watershed Council, and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

We enhanced our toolbox of landowner resources by joining two new programs–Soil Health Stewards and Forest to Mi Faucet–made possible through partnerships with American Farmland Trust and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Legacy staff, board, and supporters stroll through the Arnold’s protected land in Jackson County – Photo by Susan LaCroix

We expanded our services to assist organizations like the City of Ann Arbor Greenbelt with their conservation easement baselines and annual monitoring.

We ramped up our preserve stewardship support efforts doubling the number of volunteers and workdays thanks to the addition of two passionate Huron Pines AmeriCorps members. However, costs for stewarding our public land will continue to rise as we install infrastructure that adds to the visitor experience and craft restoration long-term management plans and actions. And it’s why growing our stewardship reserve is a key component of our ten-year financial sustainability efforts.

But not only did we revel in program success, we also reaped the rewards of methodical development of strong relationships, deep trust, and positive culture among a wonderful blend of seasoned and new staff, experienced and knowledgeable board members, and committed volunteers. In alignment with our sustainability plan, we’ve increased organizational capacity by investing in a robust staff.

With our sail full of opportunity, we’re cruising at top speed. And the timing couldn’t be any better! With eighteen projects in the pipeline that will cost over $4M to close, we’re also confronting the realities of climate change challenges on a global and local level impacting our work and new challenges like Beech Leaf Disease on our preserves.

We can’t do it alone. The health of our planet and the land we love thrives on connection–within the natural world and with the people who use it–and it depends on strong relationships. So, we’re leaning into our community and the Legacy family. With your support, it’s full speed ahead as we look forward to ensuring clean water, fresh and local food, bustling wildlife corridors, and pollinator habitat for generations to come.

Yours in Conservation,

Diana Kern, Executive Director & Bill Strohaver, Board President

View and download the 2022-2023 Annual Report