Gratitude and Celebration at our Annual Meeting
These words of Emma Ellsworth sum up this year’s Annual Meeting beautifully, “I can’t imagine a better place or a better sunny fall day to celebrate the completion of over 1000 acres of conservation projects, our Excellence Award from the Land Trust Alliance, and most importantly the generosity, passion, and resilience of the Mount Grace Community. This is a group that both feels the urgency of land protection in the face of development pressures and climate change, but is also willing to dig in for the long haul. We are protecting our wildlife habitat, our fresh drinking water, our quality of life not just for now, but for our kids, our grandkids, and their kids. That’s worth celebrating!”
There was indeed much to celebrate. This year’s meeting felt especially poignant as we raised our glasses to toast our National Land Trust Excellence Award while looking across the recently protected 200-acre view of Tully’s Southeast Shore. The land we stood upon was a conservation success twenty years in the making. The dedication of so many partners – many who were there to celebrate with us, but some who are now only with us in spirit – gave us pause to honor our history as we looked west to the horizon.
“I can’t count the number of times I have looked across Tully Lake and its eastern shore from the water, hiking around the lake, or from the summit of Mount Tully. For years I worried what would happen to this special spot. It was great to lift a glass of champagne and toast this most excellent year, standing on this newly protected hillside and soaking in the extraordinary view looking the opposite direction, out over the lake and Mountain,” said Ellsworth.
We were also pleased to honor the achievements of individual members whose dedication to conservation, stewardship, and Mount Grace’s mission. This year’s Conservator of the Region Award went to Mary Williamson for decades of commitment to land conservation and empowering others to expand this essential work. The Community Steward Award was for Ben and Susie Feldman honoring their lifetime of engaging community in outdoor education and the stewardship of Cutthroat Brook Tree Farm to be a magical place for children, adults and gnomes alike. The Volunteer Award went to Norm Eggert for his years of devoted service to Mount Grace, generously offering his time to any project or event, and providing endless beautiful photography.
Thanks again to Paul and Jill Vento for hosting the Annual Meeting and for their decision to conserve this land. Thanks also to keynote speaker Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon, event sponsors Greenfield Solar, The Outlaw Brewing Company, Macmannis Florist & Greenhouses, Red Apple Farm, and to Diemand Farm for catering.