By Beth Sullivan
Last year, 2017, was a huge year for Avalonia Land Conservancy. The organization achieved Land Trust Alliance accreditation, becoming one of an elite group of land trusts deemed worthy of such a designation by adhering to and upholding a rigorous set of standards and practices. It was a huge amount of work to get to that place, and the challenge continues on a ramped up level for the organization to prove that it can maintain this status in 2018 and beyond.
With the Alliance Standards and Practices as our Bible to follow, we must also make some changes in how we do business. Our Board of Directors (BOD) has been enlarged with some great new depth and talent, creating newer committee designations and formal charters. Learn more about the BOD here. We have changed our fiscal year to correspond to the calendar year which makes a huge amount of sense, and we are updating and revamping our data bases and membership lists.
|Your membership goes toward helping us support land and wildlife. Photograph by Rick Newton.|
|Teamwork pulled us through to accreditation.|
Does all this sound boring to a nature lover? It is not what I enjoy thinking about. But what I am getting at is that while those administrators, committee chairs, and BOD members are busy tending to details, they are creating a path for an organization that can better carry out its mission-one that we all believe in.
Underlying everything we do, though, are our members. You are the heart and soul of the organization as well as the backbone. It is our members who give the organization its strength. What good is structure without people willing to fill in the empty places? We rely on members to be our volunteers in so many areas. But not everyone can take the time to give hours and energy. This is where membership demonstrates its strength in numbers.
By being a member, you become part of something bigger. Numbers prove support, numbers attract others, numbers are noticed. When we apply for grant funding for acquisitions, we can cite our strong, supportive membership base. It matters. When donors of land are looking for a recipient organization, they look to see the strength of its resources and membership base that they know will keep the organization alive in perpetuity. When foundations and corporate donors are looking for solid investments, they look for member support.
This kind of support allows us to acquire, protect and steward the land that so many of us have come to love. When we protect the land, we protect habitats, wildlife and groundwater. We create greenways and blueways. We protect the land for our children, grandchildren and generations far in the future.
There are many ways you, as an individual, can help support Avalonia, but the easiest way is with your membership. We do not get any public funding for operating expenses. With a bare bones operating budget, we need our members to help keep us running.
|Already the next generation is learning the significance of open space on Fennerswood Preserve.|
|When we asked the State DEEP for help, they knew we have a strong membership that backs us up.|
|Members, old and new, mingle and share Avalonia spirit.|
We will be embarking on our annual membership drive this month.
If you are an active member, we THANK YOU! Please make sure we have all your current information, including email address when you get your renewal request.
In the future, all memberships will be renewable in January, not May as in the past. If your membership is due to be renewed after May, you will get an extension until Jan of 2018. If your membership has lapsed, you may get a request to join us again.
We have a lot to celebrate as an organization: the Accreditation and our 50th Anniversary Celebration next month. Please join us as members in being part of something bigger. Come celebrate with us.
|Making scarce resources available to those who may have limited access is an important part of educating our youngest members.|
|We all know that many hands make work lighter; there is strength in numbers when it comes to membership also.|
Photographs by Avalonia Land Conservancy members.