Greetings to all of our members, volunteers, and readers! We hope you have found ways to enjoy the outdoors this summer and are looking forward to fall. Cooler weather and a change of pace will be here soon!
So far this summer our region has experienced everything from record heat and cold snaps, to damaging storms and tornadoes, to poor air quality from raging wildfires in the North. We have even been forced to postpone a few events to keep potentially vulnerable volunteers out of unhealthy conditions and have adopted a procedure for making decisions about outdoor events when air quality is in question. When the Air Quality Index exceeds 10 (Very High Risk), events will be canceled. From 7-10 (High Risk), we encourage caution and do not expect participation in events or data collection if participants choose not. Better safe than sorry. At the same time, many are also challenged by the ever-increasing cost of living. Luckily, inflation has begun trending lower, but we know many are financially pinched and unable to enjoy outdoor recreation as fully as they used to.
In the midst of these circumstances, we have been working hard to expand our abilities to protect and steward land for the future. Our purchase of the Morton property in Carden will close this month, which will permanently protect another 400-acres of land! Our Monitoring Programs have been collecting data on bats, birds, amphibians, reptiles, water quality, and wildlife on roads. Land stewardship teams have been busily improving trails and implemented a new program for controlling invasive species on our reserves. Included in this work is updating and reopening Rosebush Landing in Reid Nature Reserve and improving accessible trail at Grant’s Woods Nature Reserve. None of this would be possible without the combined support of our members, donors, volunteers, and granting agencies.
There’s still a great deal of work to do. Our Corridors Campaign is still raising funds as we look forward to future land acquisitions, inching closer to our dream of 15,000-acres protected by our 30th anniversary later this year. Your continued support will help achieve this milestone. Thank you to everyone who has donated, become or renewed a membership, or supported this work in other ways. As a new addition to the Couchiching Conservancy Team, I am struck by all the accomplishments our volunteers and donors help us reach, especially in these uncertain and unexpected times.
I look forward to meeting so many of you! Thank you for being a supportive and passionate conservation community.