Monday, January 2, 2017

President's message January 2017

Happy New Year to friends and readers of Avalonia eTrails! We will be beginning our fifth year of posting this blog. But more importantly, Avalonia Land Conservancy is beginning its 49th year, and anticipating the celebration of our 50th year.

Under the leadership of our President Dennis Main, the Board of Directors, standing committee and town chairs, and a special ad hoc 50th steering committee, Avalonia is planning to celebrate the milestone. We would love your help.

One of the President’s goals is to keep open lines of communication with members and friends through as many venues as possible. To start the New Year right, this week’s blog is an update from the President. There is a lot to celebrate and a lot to anticipate. He is always willing to take feedback and meet members through his Avalonia email:

Have a great New Year, and please get out and enjoy your preserves. 


President's Message

Happy New Year to our Avalonia Family: Members, Friends and Supporters! It has been a very successful and exciting year for Avalonia, and we look forward to a New Year that continues this success.

We have added more than 5% (179 acres) to our protected preserves which now total over 3,500 acres in our southeastern CT mission area. This recent addition of roughly $1,000,000 value of property was through the extremely generous land gifts from donors we look forward to honoring at our Avalonia Annual Meeting on June 22, 2017. Please read the article on our website by Sue Sutherland, our Acquisition Chair, about our new properties here.
The leaders of our first 50 years.
On the Accreditation front, your current Board of Directors (BOD) has done yeoman service in completing the work necessary for our Accreditation Application to be in the pipeline for approval. Accreditation announcements are due in February 2017. Although our Accreditation application is moving forward, it is not the end of the journey. Re-accreditation happens every five years, and the current BOD is engaged in the continual review and revision of Avalonia Governance documents. Under the guidance of Chair Mike Pernal, the Governance Committee is currently reviewing and updating Town and various Standing Committee Charters as appropriate. Improvements to our By-laws are currently being reviewed for their efficacy, with the BOD already approving an amendment to bring our Fiscal Year into line with the Calendar Year which will greatly simplify our budgeting, accounting and reporting efforts. The BOD has also approved changes to enhance our cash management and internal controls under the direction of Finance Committee Chair and Treasurer Sue Sutherland. 
Avalonia leadership celebrates completion of our accreditation application.

Under the leadership of Stewardship Chair Karen Askins, a new Stewardship manual has been authored and printed for ongoing distribution. It will soon be available on our website for our many volunteer stewards to access. This will augment the many Avalonia Policy and Procedure enhancements that have been made as a result of the recent Land Trust Alliance accreditation Standards and Practices reviews.

Development Committee Chair Richard Conant has been heading up our fundraising planning and implementation efforts for an expected upcoming multi-million grant application and capital campaign to fund acquisition and stewardship of additional marquee properties that have been identified. Property owner requests for Avalonia to preserve their land and the soft real estate market have provided a number of environmentally valuable properties which qualify for possible acquisition.
We will always rely on our dedicated volunteers.
Please see additional articles on our Annual Appeal that Executive Director Heather Milardo has underway. The Annual Appeal is the backbone of funding for our ongoing operations. Our Endowment fund has nearly doubled in the past year thanks to significant one-time donations, and these generous donors will be honored at our Annual Meeting next June. Other greatly appreciated one-time gifts and challenge grants, including BOD raised pledges, have also enabled the perpetual stewardship costs of current year acquisitions to be fully funded within the current year, making an Avalonia historical milestone.
We will continue to collaborate and educate as we maintain our preserves.

On February 21, 2017 Avalonia marks the completion of 49 years of fulfilling its mission. As we embark on our 50th year, we acknowledge all our tremendous donors, members, volunteers, staff and other supporters who have brought us to this point. Our 50th Anniversary Committee will be working to coordinate a full and diverse calendar of celebratory events as we mark this momentous milestone. Please put June 22, 2017 on your calendar for the Annual Meeting to celebrate with us.

Dennis S. Main,


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