As I write this, I can look over my computer and see the trees of Belwin in brilliant reds and yellows set against an artificially blue sky. It’s a crime to be inside on a day like today, but I want to share with you all the great things that are happening at Belwin these days.
First, if we haven’t met at one of our member functions, I am the new Executive Director for Belwin. I was hired just four months ago to help take the best of what Belwin has done over the years and build it into a vibrant non-profit organization. As Belwin’s first executive director, my challenge will be to integrate and balance the needs of the land with the need to provide educational and recreational opportunities. The varied habitats within Belwin’s 1,300 acres provide a unique setting for both scientific exploration and personal discovery in the quiet that we find here.
We’ve been busy over the past few months. We’ve completed a natural resource inventory of our lands so we know just where the issues are for restoration. We’ve conducted a programmatic audit to better define our strengths and weaknesses. We’ve hired two staff members: Ned Phillips, Membership Coordinator and Tara Kelly, Director of Ecological Restoration. We’ve harvested a portion of our prairie seed so we can use it on our land and elsewhere. We’ve continued our attack on invasive species and begun to experiment on better ways to eradicate buckthorn on a large scale. The list goes on.
That is what makes Belwin great. We have, with your help, both the means and the opportunity to try new and innovative ways to manage the land. Unlike nature centers or state parks, we have the freedom to delve deep into what makes our local natural communities tick. Working with the leading scientists in the field of restoration ecology, we can then export this information so that others might learn how to bring back a functional landscape. We can try new ways of looking at our buildings to make them more energy efficient. We can explore new ways of connecting people with nature to help instill a conservation ethic in all.
We can do these things together. It’s an exciting time to be at Belwin and, on a day like to today, it's time to go outside!