One of the most difficult challenges in our work is a lack of information. After we were permitted to resume operations in the field, but well before it was safe to gather groups of volunteers, we set out to change that. We decided to make productive use of our "down" time to develop a comprehensive land use inventory tool, with Saginaw as our first subject.
Funded by our donors and our own in-kind work as a staff, we visited each and every property in Saginaw. Now, we have a pilot tool that will allow us to develop searches for particular conditions, especially on vacant land, to help us determine where our service would be the most valuable. It will also provide powerful tools to our municipal partners for finding the best opportunities for economic development, where the worst problems exist for blight, and to better understand the residential landscape of the community. We are proud to present the SBLC Neighborhood Inventory Tool!
We eventually hope to expand our Neighborhood Inventory Tool to cover the entire region. This will allow us to track land use issues over both time and geography, matching demographic changes with land use issues. It will help both us and our partner local units of government make better decisions about how to deploy our resources. It will allow local philanthropies to better understand how they may direct their support. It will show progress and success in community revitalization efforts. We believe in this tool and we are proud to take on this responsibility here in the Saginaw Bay Watershed.
With love for our community and an open heart,
SBLC executive director
With such a heavy topic last week, I wanted to lighten things up a bit and talk about fall!
Fall is truly my favorite time of year, even if it is fleeting. Some years, we hardly register any sort of fall at all, when we transition from late summer warm weather spells that end abruptly with the gales of November!
Will Halloween be the same this year? I am sure it will not, which will undoubtedly alter how we make our way through the rhythms of Autumn. Maybe this is a year for new traditions.
How about Thanksgiving, and even Christmas? Hopefully, things improve and these traditions can remain in place. I know they would help us get back to some feelings of warmth, home, and family.
I am taking this opportunity to set aside a Saturday for something I have wanted to do for several years. I am headed out for a dedicated day of fall photography at one of my favorite places, Wakeley Lake, in the Huron National Forest. Just about ten miles east of Grayling, this huge lake is undeveloped and protected. It is one of the best-kept secrets in the Lower Peninsula!
Trevor and I decided we should open it up to more people and continue our recent photo workshops for an all-day hike and fall color photo tour. Observing COVID guidelines, we set aside just six spots for photographers who want to see a new and unique place and enjoy the most beautiful fall colors offered in Michigan. We have already sold four of these spots, so if you would like to have a full day of photo instruction and one-on-one photography with an experienced guide, we would love to have you with us.
This week we have a lot of work ahead. After the newsletter last week, and a viral Facebook post about our work in Saginaw, we had a huge outpouring of interest in what we do and how people could help. Stay tuned to our Facebook page to follow along as we complete our fall site cleanups, prepare many acres of land for late-season wildflower plantings, and get ready to prepare our conserved lands for winter.
With hope for our community and an open heart,