ACRES member and volunteer Kirk Swaidner agreed to sit down with Office Manager Natasha Manor for a video interview. Kirk shared his stories of how he came to ACRES, how he developed his land ethic and how a big change in his life led to a new role with the organization.

Kirk first heard about ACRES Land Trust through his friend and mentor, Ted Heemstra. Ted was an early member and board president of ACRES who shared his passion for birding with Kirk and visited various ACRES sites with him. Kirk has supported ACRES as a member and occasional volunteer for the past 20 years.

In 2018, just as Kirk was retiring, ACRES put out a call to recruit a new volunteer steward for Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run in Wabash County. Kirk described how he felt this volunteer opportunity was a gift to him at this point in his life. He has since taken on this demanding role with gusto. To keep the preserve welcoming for its many visitors, he spends long hours trimming back thorny brush, mowing and clearing downed trees off trails. He is grateful to the land that he helps protect, relating how the land often takes care of him too. His support of ACRES Land Trust is deeply anchored by his values and his hopes for the future.

Kirk’s reverence for the natural world is inspiring. He says, with a twinkle in his eye: “We are so lucky to be on this planet.”

Thank you Kirk, for sharing your story with other ACRES volunteers and members, and thank you for your care of Hathaway Preserve at Ross Run.