Meet the Staff: Lucas Dykstra, Stewardship Specialist
When it comes to helping people protect, enjoy and care for nature in West Michigan, LCWM’s staff make it all happen. This post is part of a series of interviews to help you get to know our team members!
Introduce yourself! Share three fun facts about you.
- I’ve travelled the country playing soccer. From Portland and Los Angeles on the west coast, to Orlando and New York on the east. Even abroad in Costa Rica.
- I have restored parts of our yard to native prairie.
- I am a foster dad!
Describe your role at the Land Conservancy.
How long have you been with LCWM? 2 years.
What made you decide to work with us? Taking care of the same properties year after year and being able to watch the change was important to me. Volunteering with LCWM, I was impressed by the volunteers and staff alike. Now as an employee, getting to spend my days in fantastic natural areas alongside such a knowledgeable, experienced, and amicable group of people was a no-brainer!
What does a typical day look like/What are your typical responsibilities? If it happens on a nature preserve, I likely played a role. I perform habitat management and restoration tasks, maintain trails, and many other preserve-related tasks. A typical day can range from managing invasive species like bittersweet or garlic mustard, to building boardwalks, to conducting a prescribed burn. I really enjoy the variety that comes with the changing of seasons.
Why is conservation important to you?
Humans are altering the landscape at incredible scales and have been for decades. In an urbanized world, nature has all too often become an abstract category rather than the world we see ourselves in daily. Protecting and managing healthy ecosystems that provide homes for native species is vital, as is connecting people with the world they live in.
What is your favorite part about working with LCWM?
The opportunity to guide natural areas as they grow and change over extended periods of time is fascinating. Getting a front row seat to watch a preserve recover and flourish never gets old, especially at places like The Highlands. It’s rewarding to see biodiversity return to an area we have been working in.
What is your favorite natural area or habitat type?
Is it cheating if I say all of them? To narrow it down, Minnie Skwarek Nature Preserve has really grown on me. The quiet, trickling stream is so peaceful and the unique wetland species never disappoint. At least for today, I’ll go with hardwood swamp.
What is your favorite West Michigan critter or plant?
I’m normally a plant guy, but I find foxes fascinating. Despite being common, they aren’t seen too often and can be secretive. Getting the chance to watch one run through the woods is always a special moment.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re a donor, volunteer, partner, or somehow involved in our work. Thank you for all you do to help West Michigan’s natural areas thrive!