I find it hard to be optimistic at the best of times. I believe it is my job to discover what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for the conservancy. I know we can accomplish anything to which we apply ourselves, but sometimes our work seems like an endless uphill battle.
In other words, the peak always seems to be a very steep pitch away, no matter how long you’ve been climbing the mountain.
That said, I spent this morning in Saginaw, at a site that was once a powerhouse automobile industry foundry. That site is being restored to nature and opened up as a community park, under the competent leadership of the Saginaw County Parks Commission. I arrived before dawn to film and photograph wildlife and landscapes, to lend a hand with the rollout of this new conservation space over the next few months.
It was remarkable.
Sometimes current events have me feeling as though there is little to which I can look forward. That could not be further from the truth. Even through the pandemic, ambitious leaders in our region are bringing this amazing project to life. Nestled in the heart of Saginaw, it will provide hundreds of acres for nature exploration, hiking, photography, and wildlife habitat.
As I look back on these past six months or so, I am convinced that we have used our at-home time well, working remotely to manage our work, executing our projects, and raising funds. Not only have we survived as a staff, but we have also thrived in a new and different work environment. People have found more value in nature than ever before, and we have been there to provide high-quality natural spaces for you to enjoy.
We have suffered flooding and high water across our area, and we have been working to ensure our protected wetlands are helping prevent property damage and filtering rainwater before it hits Lake Huron.
We had to cancel many volunteer events, but we have used that time to develop a powerful community-wide land use survey tool that will help us be more precise in our blight reduction and land restoration efforts, while also helping our partners identify opportunities to help elevate landscapes for all.
In short, the stay-at-home time has been scary and challenging, but we have been working behind the scenes to continue our mission and partner with those who share our mission. We are witnessing the birth of a new nature preserve and the awareness of our community to the value that preserve brings.
We have a long road ahead of us with the pandemic, but with nature on the rebound, our projects moving ahead, a new massive nature park in the works in our region, and people appreciating the great outdoors more than ever, we have reason to be optimistic.
With hope for our community and an open heart,