Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

  • 01/15/2021

Meet ACRES new board president

ACRES Land Trust’s new board president brings a wealth of experience and a track record in service to her new role.

Members of ACRES board of directors have elected Dawn Ritchie to serve as board president in 2021. Dawn joined ACRES in 1995 and has served on the board for five years. She is Greenways & Trails Manager for the City of Fort Wayne. Here, she shares how she became involved with ACRES and why protecting land is important to her.

Name: Dawn Ritchie
Board role: President
Career: Greenways & Trails Manager
Education: 1991 B.S. in Education at Indiana University-Bloomington; 1995 Master’s of Public Affairs in Environmental Policy & Natural Resource Management at Indiana University-Bloomington
Hometown: Silver Lake, Ind.

How did you become involved with ACRES?

I saw the ACRES booth at the 1995 Home & Garden Show and immediately became a member.  I joined the ACRES Board of Directors in 2016.  I have been hiking Mengerson Nature Reserve with my dog for 15 years since it’s close to my house.

What made you want to serve on the ACRES board?

Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio

I’ve wanted to join the board for years, but I had a conflict on Wednesday evenings.  Once that conflict was eliminated, I reached out to David Van Gilder, former ACRES President, and Jason Kissel, Executive Director, and joined the board at the earliest opportunity.

One of my passions is preserving habitat for wildlife.  I also love hiking in scenic parks and preserves.  Being close to nature is a very spiritual experience for me.   ACRES gives me the chance to help protect the unique landscapes, flora and fauna that I value so dearly.   I’m so honored to serve on the ACRES board because of the organization’s commitment to protecting our natural lands FOREVER.

What else do you want people to know?

I manage the multi-use trails in Fort Wayne.  Trails are loved by the public, and benefit our community in so many ways.  Most people don’t realize that ACRES has over 50 trails systems in our preserves.   I invite you to enjoy the serenity and beauty of ACRES preserves via our trail systems.  You will feel a deep connection to the natural world that will draw you back to ACRES over and over again.

Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your story and for all you do in service of protecting local land!

ACRES mission to protect land is carried out under the dedicated, engaged board members who govern our organization. We are incredibly grateful for all of our current and past board members.


Dick Loney - February 3, 2021 - 10:44 am

Congratulations!I am sorry that i had to back out of being a Greenway Ranger as well as an ACRES Steward at about the same time. My Caretaker's role just sort of took over. Since then I have had a major blood loss and for whatever reason I am pretty gimpy so I show up but not very physically active. Going back to your new title. I have been with ACRES almost but not quite ,since it's inception. At a recent meeting I brought up the need to also protect glacial features and Jason supported that thought with saying (not quite exactly ) " the word land is in our title for a reason. The land stays but changes such as climate will result in changes over extended periods of time that we cannot control". Again, thanks for being our Chair person.