Words Matter: What Stewardship Means to Us
A Letter from the Executive Director
In 2021, ACRES Land Trust began referring to our work in the field as “stewardship” rather than “land management.” In this letter, ACRES Executive Director Jason Kissel explains the distinction and what stewardship means to us.
On ACRES properties, staff, volunteers, partners and contractors accomplish a wide variety of work: invasive species control, reforestation, wetland creation, specialized habitat restoration, trail maintenance, plant inventories, marking and enforcing boundaries, research and more. Historically, we’ve labeled these efforts “land management.”
While management can imply control over something (in our case, control over the properties ACRES owns), that’s not how we view our role. Instead of trying to control nature, we try to support and protect it.
Because words matter, we’ve decided to no longer call these various activities “management.” We think “stewardship” better reflects both the intent and accomplishment of these same activities.
Stewardship implies caring for something, observing what it needs, and identifying and mitigating threats. Our change from the word “management” to the word “stewardship” reinforces our respectful approach. Rather than imposing our will on nature, we support nature’s will.
Stewardship can also mean caring for something that belongs to someone else. Your support of ACRES stewards the land by enabling our staff, contractors and volunteers to perform stewardship activities on various properties. However, our members, volunteers and staff do not own the land. Instead, we steward the land for the benefit of people, plants, animals and everything contained in and on the land today, and for all those in the future. ACRES owns the land, and we steward the land on ACRES behalf. Our mission statement speaks directly to this:
ACRES Land Trust owns and protects natural and working lands, inspiring people to value, appreciate and support these places for the benefit of all — today and forever.
Thank you for stewarding 7,300 acres of special places with us.
260-637-2273 ext. 102
P.S. On properties such as our protected lands managed for agricultural crops and timber production, ACRES land activities are best described as “managed.”