Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Looking back on our work in 2022, it seems more natural to think of this annual review as less a report on one year’s worth of work than the capstone of an unprecedented three-year period in MNA’s seventy-year history.
Now that the pandemic has been declared over, it is hard to do justice to the amazing work of our staff, the steady leadership of our Board of Trustees and the extraordinary generous support of the many volunteers and donors who helped MNA continue its work during very trying times. Here are just a few of the highlights of what your support during these difficult years made possible:
We successfully completed the 2019 Consumer’s Energy Foundation Planet Award, despite the pandemic! Even with pandemic restrictions on travel and field work we were able to protect, restore, and enhance more than 670 acres of critical habitat by the end of the 2022 field season. All told, MNA has leveraged the original Planet Award of $250,000 into more than $1.14 million worth of tangible, on-the-ground conservation by expanding and improving some of our most important nature sanctuaries. This is a true testament to MNA’s resilience in the face of adversity.
We used pandemic downtime to re-invest in excellence. In 2019, the Land Trust Accreditation Commission granted re-accreditation to MNA with “special commendations”, noting that MNA had made an “extraordinary commitment to excellence, permanence, and trust.” During the downtime of the pandemic, staff worked to strengthen our foundations even further by re-evaluating our approach to technology (e.g., the need for GIS), workplace safety (e.g., remote field work) and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also hired new staff to expand our conservation partnerships and strengthen our science.
We launched the largest land protection campaign in MNA’s history, headlined by a 3,436-acre project protecting more than 5.4 square miles of habitat along the iconic Fox River. To celebrate our 70th anniversary in 2022, MNA announced the Founders 4 the Future campaign to protect nearly 4,000 acres in honor of the extraordinary vision of our founding generation. The campaign includes three ambitious projects: the Fox River Wetlands project, as well as increasing our protected areas along the St. Mary’s River Flyway to 2,000 acres, and expanding our sanctuaries protecting Brockway Mountain in the Keweenaw to more than 600 acres.*
Even in difficult times, MNA’s work to build a brighter future continues – just as it has for more than seventy years. There is much still to be done, but the continued support of our members, donors, and volunteers is what makes it all possible. Thank you for all that you do for MNA and for Michigan.
* Thank you to all who have given to the campaign so far! We are making great progress toward our $1.4 million goal, but are still seeking donations. And remember, all gifts of $500 or more are matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $700,000!