Posted by: ACRES Land Trust

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  • 08/08/2023

Preserving History

By Chris Fairfield, ACRES Volunteer

Two years ago, we shared the story of two volunteers spearheading the effort to digitally archive the records for all ACRES properties. Much has changed since then, and we are excited to share an update on all their hard work!

ACRES members Carol Spallone and Chris Fairfield remain diligent in their volunteer work to preserve each property’s unique history. Carol recently completed archiving courses through the Allen County Public Library, which led her to update ACRES standard processes for handling delicate documentation, such as our generous donors’ personal, handwritten letters that we want to ensure remain intact for years to come.

Getting glimpses into the relationships and memories surrounding the existence of each nature preserve is inspiring the team to finish this extensive project. Joining the preserve archiving team is Bob Palmer, ACRES member and former neighbor of Chris Fairfield. Chris knew Bob was looking for an organization to volunteer his time with that aligned with his personal values. Since joining Chris and Carol, Bob has enjoyed “being around the team spirit of giving to a good cause,” a team he describes as having “a truly caring attitude about preserving the environment.”

Each week, the team meets at the ACRES office for a couple of hours to trade out files, scan in paperwork, and catch up on each other’s progress.

Together, Carol, Chris and Bob have archived a total of 33 properties! Although this is a great accomplishment, the team is far from finished and looking for your help. If you have an eye for detail, an interest in history, and a passion for the ACRES mission, please consider becoming an archiving volunteer!

Nature preserve files are not the only items in need of archiving. The publication you are reading is an entire archiving project on its own—the ACRES Quarterly, which ACRES began producing and publishing in 1962. While we do maintain physical copies of each issue, we want to safeguard our past in a more current way — digitally.

Long-time ACRES member and volunteer Mary Anna Feitler has accepted the mission to digitize all Quarterlys because she believes the publications “document our history and should be available for any and all to see.”

Thank you to all our archiving team members for the valuable work you do! Interested in becoming an archive volunteer? Learn more at acreslandtrust.org/volunteer.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2023 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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