A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We know there’s a lot going on in your world. Sometimes it’s hard to prioritize what is most important when everything is pulling at you equally. Even for a small part of your day, like the few minutes it will take to read these words, there are other things you could be doing – so we thank you for caring about conservation in northeast Michigan today!

As a self-confessed worrier, I sometimes find myself feeling a bit hopeless with the state of affairs around the world. I feel like I should be helping to fix some of the problems that plague this planet – but where would I start? That sense of having SO many things to do that you can’t begin to do anything is truly paralyzing! So what can we do? Who should we help? Why should we care?

Well, we can try to remind ourselves what brings us and those we love the most genuine happiness and joy. If you stop and think about that for a moment, I mean REALLY stop and think about it, I bet we all have some pretty striking similarities. I’m guessing “things” don’t make you happy but a memory of special place brings a smile to your face. It’s easy to know what makes you happy because it is the same for all of us! Nature, wildlife, trees, blue skies, water, fishing, hiking, sunsets, camping… those are the things that affect us deep inside, at our core. We long for those things to be in our life. This is what matters.

So, if we want to do something to help, maybe we should start by looking close to home, in northeast Michigan. Why not get involved in the place you live? Is there anyone who could or should care about preserving our land and water and wildlife in northeast Michigan more than us? It would be hard to expect someone living in Baltimore to support the work of HeadWaters Land Conservancy if they have never been here before. We have the chance to take care of our own backyard – a backyard that just happens to be filled with pristine rivers, bald eagles, elk, deer, bear, and so much other wildlife. A place where you can still find thousands of acres of land, intact and undeveloped, full of wildlife and healthy functioning ecosystems! This is much more rare than most folks realize. These are places you can save. These are places you can help us protect.

When a group of people like us get together, we can do anything! It starts with the vision of a handful of people and it snowballs, year after year, into a successful mission. Each year, new people join us to make us stronger, to help us preserve the “Up North” we love. Unlike many conservancies that have a finite amount of rare and special land to protect, HeadWaters service area has an abundance of land that is still truly pristine and wild! The kind of land that takes your breath away, where you genuinely have no idea what you might see around a stand of trees or the next bend in the river. HeadWaters Land Conservancy has spent 20 years working to preserve all of this, in the form of 81 conservation easements and 2 preserves. We are stewards of 10,000 acres of land and 30 miles of waterfront.

With the blessing of all of these magnificent opportunities comes the equally enormous task of funding our work. Another striking difference between HeadWaters and other conservancies is our lack of an operating endowment. As a nonprofit, we have to raise money from private citizens and foundations for every aspect of our work, including staff expenses. Without funding there is no staff – without a staff there is no land protection. It is a simple equation.

We know that people who love northeast Michigan want to protect it. We know you want to keep the wild and expansive nature of this area intact. There is no one who is going to care more than you! With your support, HeadWaters will continue to do great things and keep northeast Michigan the way you want it to be.

If you can make a donation to support HeadWaters today, I want to thank you for taking the first step towards helping make a difference in the world. Something doesn’t have to be 5,000 miles away to be important. Your own backyard is just as important as places in other parts of the globe! Nobody is going to care about conserving and preserving all of the beautiful and wild land of northeast Michigan more than you!

With our deepest gratitude,

Laura Justin
Executive Director
HeadWaters Land Conservancy

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