NEW BEGINNINGS AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES - Clear Thinking Issue 50
September 30, 2023
Photo Credit: Devon McArdle
I am honored to take over as the new President of the Board of Directors for the Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy.
I have big shoes to fill. Karen Horrell led the Conservancy through growth, projects, and many challenges over the past four years including the pandemic and change in leadership with the resignation of our longtime Executive Director Bridget Harrison. We all owe her a great deal of gratitude.
Even though summer is winding down, there are new beginnings and opportunities that await us. As I write this, I am excited to report that the Search Committee has completed its work and the Board has hired a new executive director, Caroline Barth, who brings a strong background in soils and water quality conservation to the Conservancy. Caroline grew up in the Clear Lake community and is excited to return here beginning in September to lead our organization as she joins our new Land Steward Amy Oberlin and Program Assistant Tracy Hughes.
This is an exciting time to be taking over as Board President and I look forward to new beginnings and opportunities this coming year. Many of you do not know me and I will make every effort this year to meet as many of you as I can.
This was a year of new ideas and new events. In July, Barb Wenger, our Development Committee Chair, organized and ran the first Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy Fun Day & Run event which was a great success with over 120 people participating and raising over $58,000 for the Conservancy. This will become an annual event.
Our focus on water quality is becoming increasingly important. We have embarked on an ambitious three-year water quality study that will cost us in excess of $225,000. However, the end goal is to identify and quantify the sources of our water quality problems which will help us apply for additional grant funding in the future to remediate the problems. We recently received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the amount of $60,000 to help partially cover the costs. Dan Rippe and the Water Quality Committee have been hard at work with testing.
As we head into fall, we are in the process of wrapping up further property expansion that will add nearly 45 additional acres to our holdings, better allowing us to preserve, protect and manage the natural environment within our watershed.
At the July 28 Annual Meeting we added two new board members – Ann Federspiel DeWert and Matt Timmer for three-year terms. We also welcomed Nancy Webster back to an additional three-year term.
As summer fades into fall, lake life will begin to slow down as kids return to school and cottages are closed until next year. However, the Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy will be hard at work continuing our mission and I look forward to being a part of New Beginnings and New Opportunities.