Welcome ACRES stewardship assistants!
A warm welcome to Jenna Bair and Gavin King, the newest members of the ACRES team! Jenna and Gavin recently joined the staff as stewardship assistants. As members of the land management team, they will support the protection of over 7,200 acres of land across ACRES service area. Their roles will include invasive species control, ecological restoration and trail maintenance.
Jenna grew up in Churubusco, Ind., and comes to ACRES from IDNR Division of Nature Preserves. Her love of the outdoors started as a kid. Together with her family, she enjoyed camping, hiking, paddling and rafting.
“Most of our vacations were in the outdoors.”
In high school, Jenna learned that she had a knack for identifying trees when she joined FFA and began participating in forestry and wildlife. The experience influenced her chosen course of study at the University of Saint Francis, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a minor in biology.
She has a passion for land restoration and loves to see natural areas thrive. Seeing native diversity return after an area is cleared of invasive species makes her work rewarding.
“It’s exciting when you clear out an area and get rid of those invasives, and native plants pop up. It was in the seedbank and it’s coming back.”
Gavin brings a wealth of experience from his work with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, including roles at Ouabache State Park and Upper Wabash Interpretive Services.
Gavin is from Markle, Ind. Early experiences in nature shaped his appreciation for land and his desire to protect it.
“I was really fortunate growing up. A lot of my memories are out in the woods. Our family used to cut firewood to heat our house. During the warmer seasons, many vacations were spent traveling to different parks in Indiana and outside the state.”
As an avid free diver, scuba diver, hunter and fisherman, Gavin is passionate about responsible stewardship. He wants future generations to have the same opportunities to enjoy these experiences in the outdoors.
“When treated correctly, natural resources can be replenished, but if we don’t treat them right, they could be gone forever.”