Remembering Dean Salisbury
Image: Karen Creek at B.D. White Nature Preserve
The Land Conservancy of West Michigan recently learned of the passing of one of its longtime supporters, Dean Salisbury. We remember Dean as an ardent advocate for conservation who was always willing to help.
Dean began volunteering with the Land Conservancy in 2001, as a member of the Stewardship Committee and regularly helping at stewardship workdays. He helped build a bridge over Karen Creek at B.D. White Nature Preserve and remove invasive species like garlic mustard and autumn olive at various preserves.
“Dean was someone who would regularly touch base with staff at the Land Conservancy to learn what was going on and if help was needed with anything,” said Land Protection Director April Scholtz. “We always knew that we could call on him as a stalwart member of the stewardship volunteers.”
Dean cared deeply about the environment and desired to leave the earth in better condition for future generations. In an interview featured in the Land Conservancy’s 2014 Fall Newsletter, Dean reflected on why the work of the Land Conservancy resonated with him:
“I’ve always had a fascination with the natural world and environmental issues. My grandparents’ farm near Croton in Newaygo County was an integral part of my childhood. I have vivid memories of sliding down haystacks and riding behind my grandpa on the horse while he cultivated the field. The Land Conservancy is interested in this natural heritage. They preserve the land so that our future generations can connect to it in the same way I did,” Dean said.
In addition to his service for the Land Conservancy, he volunteered as a guide at Blandford Nature Center, served on the West Michigan Environmental Action Council Board, and did years of water quality monitoring for Cowan Lake, where Elaine and Dean lived since 2001.
Even after his health limited his ability to participate in stewardship activities, Dean remained connected with the Land Conservancy—whether by helping in the office or simply paying a visit.
“When I think of Dean’s visits in the office, I think of how he exuded kindness and good will, and a true interest and belief in the Land Conservancy’s conservation work,” April said.
Dean’s obituary notes the legacy he said he wished to leave: “Gratitude for what we have, compassion for the people they encounter each day, a sense of fair play, and care for the earth and for one another.”
His contributions as a part of the Land Conservancy’s community are just one of the ways Dean lived by his values. We are so grateful to have been able to work alongside him. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Elaine and their family.