Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
There were so many highlights for me in 2022, it'll be hard to only list a few. On our first site visit to the Gravel Point Preserve after the acquisition become official, we came across a moose. It was both magical and nerve-racking being so close to one. While Corinne did the heavy lifting with the bat program, I was amazed at how successful it was. We had almost 60,000 records, when I thought a few dozen would have been successful. Being able to use one of the handheld bat recorders to detect bats flying overhead in real time was pretty neat as well. I also got to actually be in a true parade for the first time in my life this year. It brought a smile to my face to see how excited the kids got when they realized I had candy to throw at them.
Some of the most memorable days this summer involved getting out in the boat and exploring the St. Joseph Channel. I've spent my whole life being out on the water around here, but I still never get tired of it. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to help conserve and protect the area so that everyone will hopefully be able to have the same experiences in perpetuity.
The biggest highlight for me this year was definitely the acquisition of our new nature preserve at Gravel Point. It was exciting to see the project finalized and come together after many years of planning. To witness the generosity and passion for conservation from the people involved was truly inspiring. I am so happy that we also got a start on the hiking trail network thanks to the dedication of our volunteers. It is so great to be able to have public access to this beautiful property.
Another highlight for me was the development of two brand new monitoring programs, the community based water quality monitoring program and the bat monitoring program. It was a huge learning experience to set up these programs and I was very encouraged by the positive feedback and interest from our supporters. I look forward to continuing these programs and expanding them in the coming year.
With so many things to choose from its hard to pick just one highlight from the year, but I think it would have to be the acquisition of the Gravel Point Preserve. It's nice to know that such a beautiful piece of land will be protected forever and I can't wait to see how it continues to develop over the coming years as more trails are built so it can be fully enjoyed. This is truly what being a land trust is all about.
Besides seeing land protected, it's also nice to be such a big part of the community. From activities for kids like the Explorer Summer Day Camp and TKC Junior Explorers to educational programming like the webinar series, there is always something interesting happening and I have personally learned a lot over the last couple years since I became a part of the team. Projects like the bat monitoring, water quality monitoring and trail camera study are exciting ways to contribute to wildlife data in the area. I also really enjoy the Christmas Bird Count each year as we watch our feeders as a family recording what we see. I look forward to the future as we continue to grow as environmental stewards in the area.
Roxane Bergeron and Bella Ross
If you missed it during our end-of-summer newsletter, Roxane and Bella both wrote a recap of their experiences and highlights working for TKC this past summer, which can be read at the link below.
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To be eligible for a 2022 charitable tax receipt, all donations must be received (or dated/postmarked) by December 31, 2022.