Meet the Staff: Nick Sanchez, Conservation Easement 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 recently took up spoon carving.
- My favorite singer in mother nature’s band is the hermit thrush. I don’t think it can accurately be described but I think it sounds like an elf playing a tiny pan flute.
- I am fascinated by strange green lights. I once got to see bioluminescent mushrooms and more recently was lucky enough to have the northern lights show up when I planned to propose to my fiancée in Norway (and lucky enough that she said yes!)
Describe your role at the Land Conservancy.
- How long have you been with LCWM? Almost 3 years. I have been working as the Conservation Easement Stewardship Specialist since May of 2019.
- What made you decide to work at LCWM? I’m an environmentalist and I like trees, so I went into forestry, which to varying degrees has a long history of being environmentally destructive. Since I started my career, I have sought to become a more environmentally friendly forester and working with the Land Conservancy was a big opportunity to develop in that area. Working with a community of staff and volunteers who are collaborative, knowledgeable, and passionate has given me an opportunity to learn more about the incredible natural communities of West Michigan, get hands-on experience in restoration techniques, and work with landowners to consider and apply ecological approaches to forest management and habitat enhancement.
- What does your typical day look like? I primarily work with our Conservation Easement landowners and carry out the annual monitoring of each easement which serves to ensure that the original conservation agreement is being adhered to and the conservation values like clean water and biodiversity of the property are being protected. These are privately owned lands with folks who love to hunt, fish, and enjoy the natural features of their land with their families. My job is to help them understand the conservation easement, the limits and possibilities of owning and caring for natural land that is forever protected by an easement. This entails everything from determining where on the property they can build a shed, to helping them access financial, technical and on-the-ground assistance for conservation projects like tree planting and wildlife habitat enhancement.
Why is conservation important to you?
We have an absolute obligation to learn to live here without dooming life on earth.
What is your favorite part about working with LCWM?
My favorite part is walking alongside the incredible landowners who have chosen to protect their land forever and have entrusted us to help carry that forward in perpetuity.
What is your favorite natural area or habitat type?
The backdune forests along Lake Michigan. The best place to see them is Flower Creek Dunes!
What is your favorite West Michigan critter or plant?
Known for its fine personal qualities and high moral principles, the most impressive creature around is by far the beaver. I had seen signs of the beaver before, a nibbled tree here and there, but nothing compares to the detailed replica of Michigan’s Adventure’s waterpark they created on the Podjun Conservation Easement near Luther, Michigan. We are so lucky to have such generous and kind landowners in West Michigan who are willing to share space with the wild.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Go green! And go wild!