The 2016 Annual Gathering finale…a bright horizon for the Land Trust.
On Sunday, August 14, 300 members, volunteers and friends gathered to celebrate 30 years of protecting Door County’s exceptional land and waters. The Annual Gathering was held at the first property ever protected by the Door County Land Trust, a property protected by Conservation Easement agreement by Ruth Neuman in 1986, which is now cared for and maintained by daughter Juliana and grandson Adam. President of the Board, Kathy Wolff opened remarks by saying, “Today we celebrate the trust and values that bind our community-setting aside land for public use and protection of common resources like water, plants and animals, that make our Door County community a better place to live.”
Juliana Neuman spoke about her mother’s vision for the land and the reasons to protect it. “The conservation easement ensures that only four homes could be built on this property-but there could have been as many as twelve.”
Founding member and first President of the Board Virginia Yunker also spoke at the event, describing the early days when she and a small group began rallying support for the Land Trust concept. “We met at kitchen tables and anywhere we could. There was a lot of distrust for what we were trying to accomplish, but we gained people’s support.”
Kathy Wolff and Virginia Yunker
President-elect, Jeff Ottum gave the keynote address, recapping the successes of each ten year increment in the Land Trust’s history. “If you look at the number of acres protected in the first decade of the Land Trust’s history, you’ll see that we will protect that number of acres alone in 2016. The success of our past thirty years is the strongest indicator of our success for the coming thirty years.” Jeff pointed to the strength of our partnerships with other conservation organizations, conservation-minded political leaders, and businesses strengthening our local economy.
The event included artwork donated by eight regional artists and several businesses and members. Fiber and jewelry artist Peter Ciesla of Bazyli Studio Wearable Art Gallery said, “The Land Trust is doing such important things in Door County, I feel it is important to give back and to be a part of it.” Fundraising activities included a “Wine Pull” with wines donated by Madison Avenue Wine Shop, local businesses, and the Board of Directors, and a “Honey Pull” with jars donated by the Door County Bee-Keepers Club who also exhibited an observation hive at the event. The Gibraltar High School Ecology Club, led by teacher Dave Tupa, exhibited and sold bird nest boxes and showed their latest project at the Hein Creek Nature Preserve. The event raised nearly $4000 to support the mission to protect Door County’s exceptional lands and waters forever.
2016 will be a record year for the Door County Land Trust, with an anticipated 664 acres of land protected and the continuation of the largest restoration project ever undertaken by the Land Trust. So far in 2016, we have achieved:
Completion of six land protection transactions which offer permanent protection on 313 acres;
Planting of over 1800 trees at three nature preserves;
140-acre expansion of land restoration projects at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve;
30th Anniversary edition of the Door County Land Trust Hiking Trail Map; and
Improvements to trails, parking areas and kiosks at the nature preserves.
Completion of several major land protection projects is on the horizon and we expect to announce these significant projects before the year ends. Much like the sunset that graced the final moments of this year’s Annual Gathering, we can say that our future is bright!