“If you want the world to be a better place, it’s up to you to make it better,” he says. “These things don’t happen by magic. You can’t just assume someone else will take care of it.”

When Felicity and Kieran Stockman wanted to sell lemonade in their front yard, their parents suggested they donate their proceeds to nonprofits.

For Felicity, 11, and Kieran, 10, ACRES Land Trust was an easy choice.

Not only did their curbside enterprise raise money, it raised awareness of the organization, too. Customers who didn’t know about ACRES received Felicity and Kieran’s hearty endorsement along with their cups of ice-cold lemonade.

“We love ACRES,” Felicity says. “It’s a really good place to hike. We really like going there with our dad.”

For parents Krista and Dan Stockman, that bit of fundraising and outreach was meant as a gentle introduction to the hard work that goes into preserving natural areas.

Dan Stockman, who has worked with ACRES as a writer, editor and volunteer, says he wants his kids to learn they can’t rely on nature to always be there.

“If you want the world to be a better place, it’s up to you to make it better,” he says. “These things don’t happen by magic. You can’t just assume someone else will take care of it.”

To Dan, a large part of ACRES’ appeal is that it uses development and job growth to help preserves, and its leaders understand that each can rely on the other to succeed.

That coordination made an impression on his children during one of their earliest hikes at Mengerson Nature Reserve in Fort Wayne.

At Mengerson, 45.1 acres of forest and meadow, preserved since 1989, are tucked into a long, narrow space between a shopping plaza and housing development. As visitors go deeper into the woods, the sounds of the city retreat.

“I think they were in awe of that,” Dan says. “They were in awe of where it was, and what it was.”