Letter from the Executive Director
My initial letter for this page, written six weeks ago, is now in digital heaven – conceived long before COVID-19 changed the face of our current reality. Ironically, if not prophetically, the theme for this spring’s newsletter – health – was chosen last year, well before most of us had even heard of a large Chinese city called Wuhan. Indeed, the landscape of life can turn on a dime.
Through all of this, the undeniable healing power of nature remains a constant, and thus its protection more vital than ever before. In this newsletter, we look at the face of nature and its ability to bring health, and healing, to our daily existence. We look at exercise, medical advice, volunteerism, and the peace found in planned philanthropy through our “Circle of Oaks.” Our cover photo of Maas Preserve subtly invites people to heed Robert Frost’s poetic advice and take that “road less traveled by,” a timely prescription in this new age of social distancing.
While pandemics, stock market swings and personal challenges may roil our everyday lives, the West Michigan trails, lake shores, winding rivers and towering dunes all continue to offer solace for our souls, and a healthy escape for winter-weary residents. The staff at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan invites you to accept Frost’s advice, and get out and explore! Nature can heal, at so many levels, and we are blessed to have the ability to experience that in our urban backyard at the Highlands, 45 minutes away at Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area on Lake Michigan, or at any of the other natural and accessible spaces we have helped protect over the past 43 years.
With your kind help, we have invested in nature and its power to heal. As the promise of a new spring approaches, there is no better time than now to put that to work for you.
We do recognize there are many voices in today’s landscape, all with messages of legitimate and heartfelt need. But the existential need that connects all of us, today and into an unknown future, is the continued ability to protect this shared planet and the abundant, healing nature and shelter it provides. To quote one of our board members, it is “our oasis” – and that oasis has a critical voice to be heard, as well. We hope you agree and continue to support West Michigan nature as you are able – particularly in this challenging time.
Thanks, as always, for all you do.
Joe Engel, Executive Director