Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

  • 04/05/2021

A day in the life of ACRES Executive Director

Together with our members and volunteers, ACRES protects more than 7,200 acres of natural and working land in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan while maintaining 50 miles of trails for free public use. Seven full-time staff members ensure the protection of this land every day, but what does that work look like? We’re starting “A day in the life” blog series to share our different roles and how they support our mission to protect land.

Jason Kissel has served as ACRES executive director since 2006. In this role, he works to ensure ACRES land, funds, members, volunteers and employees receive the attention and resources they need to thrive. Here, he shares what a “typical” day in his life looks like.

ACRES staff members took turns shoveling the walkway at the ACRES office after heavy snowfall this past winter.

A day in the life of ACRES Executive Director

By Jason Kissel

Here’s a glimpse into my job through the lens of the emails/letters/phone calls I received yesterday. The range of topics covered in these communications reflects the input I receive each day.

In addition to 31 emails requesting typical review, approval, input or meeting requests from our staff and others regarding routine ACRES business, these correspondences were also received: 

  • A fellow land trust asking about green burials and ACRES’ exploration of them 
  • A partner bank’s vice president called to see if they could use the ACRES office for the bank’s senior staff meeting
  • County park staff wanting advice about skid steer justification and funding
  • Indiana Land Protection Alliance board meeting agenda planning 
  • A heartfelt plea from a woman wanting to know if ACRES can preserve land that used to be owned by her family
  • Follow up from land donor about ACRES plan to retire trails at the property they donated
  • Concern from donor about potential misuse on property donated to ACRES
  • Potential land donor approved our approach of acquiring their land, ready to move forward
  • Another land owner ready to move forward to donation of their land in the Wing Haven complex
  • 17 correspondences with several different board members about HR, populating committees, my performance review, and individual questions/requests for information  
  • Discussion with construction contractor about future event space presentation at upcoming Board of Zoning Appeals hearing
  • Indiana State Parks had questions about their re-utilization of ACRES’ log cabin at the Nevin property

In-between these communications, I work on other daily tasks such as expense approvals, signing letters and reviewing drafts of external communication.  Like yesterday, I often have little time for broader organization things such as cash-flow and financial health, oversight of organizational priorities for this month/remainder of year, partner/donor/board member relationships, strategic planning performance, etc. so I usually devote time at home for this type of work.  That’s a day in the life of an ACRES executive director!  


Beth Hauenstein - June 18, 2021 - 10:14 am

I am interested in your green burial plans. Let me know when you make your decision and the requirements for such use in the future. Thank you. Great job, all of you. I admire your strength, knowledge and work ethic. Carry on.

Bridgett Hernandez - June 22, 2021 - 5:33 am

Thank you for the kind words, Beth! We are incredibly grateful to our community of supporters who make this work possible. We don't have any plan for green burial plans in the immediate future, but we'll be sure to keep you updated. Thank you for your interest and feedback!