Dear friends,

Each day is a victory for ACRES.

Life thrives on 7,000+ acres of land because our members, and members before them, chose to acquire each of these acres. And it is a choice. People choose whether or not to support ACRES, ACRES staff and board choose whether or not to acquire each acre, and after these choices are made, together we choose to honor a commitment of protecting these places forever.

Seven Pillars Dramatic Sky, Seven Pillars of the Mississinewa Landmark, by Thomas Sprunger

Many nonprofits provide temporary services that are consumed in some way—necessary services that provide a great value. However, I appreciate that ACRES’ efforts are durable, accumulate and only get better. The first acres we acquired in 1962 are still supporting life and ever-improving naturally, and sometimes with our help. What we choose to invest in will remain and improve forever. That’s unique.

Next year, we will celebrate ACRES’ 60th year of preserving places. We’ll make some fuss over it, but not as much as many may expect. I think that’s due to two reasons: within our “forever” mission, 60 years is a short amount of time, and we tend to celebrate daily.

Trees reflecting in water, Lloyd W. Bender Memorial Forest, by Thomas Sprunger

There is joy in the act of protecting places. We celebrate each time we walk through a nature preserve. We celebrate when we donate, when we volunteer, when we read the Quarterly, and when we hear a friend commenting on how nice an ACRES property is and we can say: “I’m part of that!” We celebrate when we take time to reflect on the fact that 7,000 acres are out there right now, thriving in place, because of our choice.

Should we, and will we, celebrate ACRES’ first 60 years of effort toward forever? Absolutely. But we certainly aren’t forgetting to celebrate our 59th year, and today.

Jason Kissel, executive director