A Letter From the Director: 50 Years of Conservation & Beyond

Note: Our Annual Report comes out in print and online this month. It celebrates our work in 2022 to conserve and enhance Northern Michigan’s natural resources and reflects on some of our landmark achievements since we were established in 1973. The 32-page, full color publication opens with a word from Executive Director Brad Jensen, which we’ve included below. Whether you’re new to our organization or are a longtime supporter of ours, thank you for being a friend to Huron Pines. We’re grateful to have you along for our 50th year and beyond.

Dear friends,

I recently found a musty folder from the earliest days of Huron Pines deep in the recesses of our office. Inside was a letter from Governor Milliken, dated 1973, urging Huron Pines on as we were just getting started 50 years ago. The top projects were laid out in those old pages — protecting wildlife corridors, stream restoration, improving forest health and helping communities develop recreational opportunities.

Those remain high priorities for Huron Pines. While we have accomplished much, the work does not cease and the complexity of environmental challenges continues to grow. We are facing a loss of biodiversity, persistent groundwater contamination, the effects of a changing climate and increased demands on land and water. We have grown our staff and board, built our donor base and strengthened our partner network to meet these demands and prepare for the future.

Executive Director Brad Jensen

In 2023, we’re looking to become a full-time staff of 22, with a summer restoration crew of eight. We continue to administer an AmeriCorps program with another 25 people who give a year of their lives in service of conservation. We’ve strategically chosen board members who lend their time, skills and expertise to create a successful and dynamic organization. We’ve expanded our base of generous donors engaging new individuals, foundations and corporations each year from Michigan and beyond who make this all possible. We continue to build relationships with community partners, businesses and fellow land conservation organizations through our growing land protection, stormwater management and community engagement programs.

Huron Pines’ vision is about long-term stewardship of natural resources and with that long view in mind, we continue to do things like remove dams to restore streams, protect land for sustainable management, create nature preserves, increase our community learning opportunities, re-establish native ecosystems and build our portfolio of endowment funds to help keep this work going long after we’re gone.

Having been with Huron Pines for nearly half its history, the daily reward of seeing all the preparation that staff put into their work in order for projects to come to fruition never ceases to amaze me. I get to work with some of the most talented, gritty, funny and marvelous people who are driven to protect, improve and restore all the best that Northern Michigan has to offer.

I have so much gratitude for everyone who has had an impact on Huron Pines these last 50 years and I hope you are excited to continue with us in this important land and water conservation journey. It’s a time to celebrate what’s been accomplished and also prepare for the next generation of environmental challenges.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.