Posted by: Reena Ramos

  • 02/05/2018

ACRES Land Trust reaches significant milestone—7,000 acres preserved

For immediate release (Huntertown, Indiana—February 1, 2018)

ACRES Land Trust has reached a significant community milestone in its preservation efforts in our region.

The nonprofit organization’s members and donors have helped protect 7,000 acres, for good. The acquisition pace is increasing—in the last 14 years, ACRES acquired the same amount of land as it did in the first 44 years.

“Over the past fourteen years, ACRES has doubled in size in nearly all categories: land owned, staff, endowment, and financial support,” say Jason Kissel, Executive Director of ACRES Land Trust. “That’s impressive.”

The 84-acre Dorothy and Ray Garman Nature Preserve in the Cedar Creek Corridor, recently donated to ACRES Land Trust by Joan Garman of Leo-Cedarville (pictured), helped the nonprofit reach a milestone of 7,000 acres permanently protected. Photo by Thomas Sprunger for ACRES.

In the last three years, with donor support, the nonprofit has acquired 1,282 acres on seventeen new properties and ten expansions to existing properties.

Recently protected lands include:

  • Claxton Woods, ACRES’ first working sustainable tree farm near Spencerville,
  • Caprarotta Family Natural Area, ACRES’ first family-donated property in Elkhart County,
  • Quog Lake, a rare quaking bog near LaGrange,
  • Wayne Township Property, what may be the easternmost example of original Midwest prairie grassland located in Warsaw,
  • and multiple preserves and expansions to existing preserves within the Cedar Creek Corridor from Auburn to Leo-Cedarville.

While celebrating this success, ACRES has embarked on creating a new strategic plan that will allow the organization to focus on determining the best way to sustain this tremendous growth and to increase investment in managing land in its ever-growing portfolio. While continuing to acquire more land and care for the land ACRES owns, the staff and board of directors will perform an extensive self-evaluation of the organization, seeking input from its members, partners, community leaders, and the public on the need and interest in supporting preserving natural and working lands in our region.

The new strategic plan will also call for the creation of acquisition plans for large conservation areas, a new Preserve Guide Portfolio publication highlighting more aspects of the group’s work in preservation, and plans to increase participation in ACRES’ through membership, volunteerism, and financial support. This plan to evaluate ACRES’ service to the community, effective 2018-2019, precedes the organizations 60th anniversary celebration in 2020.

“This evaluation will not focus on what we do,” Kissel explains. “That’s set and won’t ever change: ACRES exists to protect land. What will be under scrutiny is how we protect land. We’ll be asking big questions, such as: Is the organizational governance structure from 1960 still the most effective? Does our service area need adjusting? Should we consider regional offices? What do members want more of? Less of? Do our acquisition criteria need to be revised? We will review all aspects of our organization.”

About ACRES Land Trust

ACRES members protect 7,047 of local natural and working land in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan, forever. Explore more than 70 miles of trails, take photographs, enjoy family time, get outdoors, plan a field trip, get fit, reflect on nature’s beauty or share an adventure, for free from dawn to dusk at a preserve near you. acreslandtrust.org/preserves. Connect with ACRES Land Trust at 260-637-2273, acreslandtrust.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/ACRES.LT