Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

  • 10/12/2022

Your support does more than you know

Photo by Adam Balzer: A juvenile Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake coils among vegetation at Grass Lake in LaGrange County, Indiana. This closed preserve is strictly set aside as a nature sanctuary and for scientific study. The juvenile snake suggests the presence of a breeding population of the species, which is listed as endangered in the state of Indiana. Learn more about the species at Grass Lake and the preserve’s unique natural system.

Dear Members,

Rare, threatened or endangered plants and animals are frequently documented on the places you’ve protected through ACRES. We get justifiably excited about these observations. They confirm that one of the reasons for preserving land—providing habitat—is being achieved.

I find comfort in knowing that our discovering these species didn’t make them more rare or special: our observation doesn’t elevate their importance or increase their viability. A plant or animal goes through its life cycle because it has a suitable place to do so, in a place with fewer disturbances than most. Observation by humans isn’t required for its survival.

However, our observation does reinforce the value of the rare act of preserving land and everything on it. Land preservation and learning about the plants and animals that live on these lands opens us to what these animals and plants who live there need…opens us to learning how their lives are uniquely different from ours, that their lives are not about us at all.

I often remind people that ACRES “closed” properties are closed to only one species: humans. The absence of our one species helps thousands of other species thrive.

That we’ll never see or be aware of most of the benefits of preserving land, now or in the future, is motivating to me because the little we do know is thrilling.

Celebrate the plants and creatures and their interactions that we know, dream of and read about, yet may not be aware of on our local lands. Your support of ACRES does more than you know—perhaps even more than you can dream of!


Jason Kissel

[email protected]

260-637-2273 ext. 102

This letter originally appeared in the Fall 2022 ACRES Quarterly, mailed to members each season. The 20-page Quarterly features ACRES news, stories and events. You can subscribe by becoming an ACRES member with a donation of $20 or more. Click here to learn more!

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George Manning - October 20, 2022 - 1:20 pm

I will again voice my opposition in the divulging of T&E species locations. While I do appreciate the desire to encourage support (monetary and otherwise) and show appreciation for prior support from/to ACRES membership. I also know that some poachers don't care if a property is closed to public access. When they want a species they will trespass to acquire that species. I think the same amount of support and gratitude for past support can be achieved without providing locations for T&E species. In fact I think you may get new support from people like me who would be thankful that locations are not being provided. I hope you reconsider this policy in favor of non-disclosure.

Bridgett Hernandez - November 3, 2022 - 11:26 am

We understand your concern. We can assure you that disclosing the location of rare/threatened/endangered species is not ACRES policy. We carefully discuss such disclosures at length internally. In this case, the benefits of raising awareness of natural areas that need protection (and species threatened by habitat loss) outweigh the risk of trespassing, considering this species' territory (including publicly accessible lands) is already public knowledge. Additionally, we are vigilant of poaching at all ACRES properties, open and closed. Staff, neighbors and conservation officers keep a very close eye on these places. We also take care not to disclose the address of closed properties. -Bridgett Hernandez, Communications Manager