Posted by: Reena Ramos

  • 06/22/2017

Bee happy: summer solstice in the field!

When you help ACRES donors and members protect land, you’d better spend some time walking it, wondering over it – and working it. You also need to appreciate natural cycles.

Last year, ACRES Land Trust staff launched quarterly staff development days in honor of seasonal changes. The ACRES Office is closed for the spring and fall equinoxes as well as for summer and winter solstices. ACRES staff use these days to explore places, build the team, and discover natural wonders.

This summer solstice was amazing! And hot!

The day began with a pre-launch of an about-to-launch volunteer-driven effort to completely remove Autumn Olive from the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve where the office is located. Autumn Olive is a non-native (not from here) invasive species (it spreads out of control, crowding out other plants, preventing reforestation). Staff spent hours in the sun hacking and lopping the brushy, thorny plants down to make space for native hardwoods to properly reforest the front forty acres of this place.

Field work wrapped up at lunch time, after unexpected progress. While we knew we’d knock out some Autumn Olive, staff were surprised by  how much could be achieved in short span of time with a relatively small crew. Not to worry – there’s plenty left for you.

Are you interested in joining the effort to fight – and eliminate – Autumn Olive on the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve? Contact Tina Puitz (or stay tuned) for more information about upcoming volunteer workdays – and about dropping in to work on your own time. You can help protect land with your own hands. Thank you!

After lunch, staff headed to a soon-to-be-announced newly expanded preserve for  some strategic planning work. What does ACRES need to do to protect more land? Specifically, what does ACRES need to accomplish in the next 3-5 years? What does this community want to protect? What successes can be built upon? Who will want to help? How can we reach out to them?

ACRES’ most recent strategic plan is coming to a close in 2017 – within sight of achieving our most audacious goals: doubling membership – and doubling the pace of protecting land. With your support, ACRES is on pace to acquire as much land in the last five years as the organization did in the previous 30. Thank you!

How much land do you want to protect in the next 3-5 years?

After planning, ACRES staff suited up to join Alex Cornwell and Megan Ryan of Southwest Honey Co. to get all the buzz on their honeybee preservation operation firsthand. About two years ago, ACRES began partnering with the organization to provide space for a few hives on one of ACRES’ protected lands (unlike nature preserves, protected lands allow designated or specific use.)

The hives are amazing! And, the partnership is mutually beneficial. Staff loved the opportunity to learn more about honeybees and honeybee preservation – and how it fits hand in hand with land preservation. Many thanks to Alex and Megan for a job well done – and to the honeybees for their sweet work, naturally.

ACRES had a pretty swell summer solstice. How about you? Why don’t you drop us a line about your goals for land preservation in the near future? Comment below. Thanks!

Happy trails on forever-protected land!