From Frogs, Logs, Dogs, Slogs, Bogs, Hogs, and Pollywogs - It's the Methow Conservancy Blog!
Occasional posts - from the quirky to the momentous - on the life and times of the Methow Conservancy.
(What you won't find in E-News)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Inspiration from the Field

By Jason Paulsen

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to join Methow Conservancy Monitoring Coordinator Dawn Woodruff in conducting an annual grazing utilization survey on one of the conservation easements we’ve helped to create on a beautiful piece of shrub-steppe property near Davis Lake where short-term grazing is permitted each year. 

Kneeling on the steep hillside among the lupine while tediously removing the individual pieces of dead vegetation from bunches of bunch grass in accordance with the official grazing utilization protocol, I had plenty of time to contemplate all that goes into the stewardship of the lands the Methow Conservancy has partnered with private landowners to conserve. 

Who would ever guess that someone would be up on this hillside carefully balancing a small bundle of bunch grass on his index-finger – or that this procedure is completed each spring has part of ensuring the health of this working landscape!

Dawn carefully measuring the length of the
grass as part of the monitoring protocol.
As luck would have it, I found myself back out on the landscape with Dawn on Monday morning walking two forested easement properties in the Upper Rendezvous with their landowner.  Here the results of over ten years of carefully planned forest stewardship have transformed extensive areas of “dog hair” fir into a beautiful and healthy pine dominated-forest complete with abundant Arrowleaf Balsamroot and native grasses – not to mention wildlife at every turn.  It was inspiring to see first-hand the tangible results of a decade of hard work and dedication to a goal of restoring health to this forest, and to share it with the landowner who has made it all possible. 

I’ll be the first to admit that historically my “conservation adrenaline rush” has come at the time a new conservation project is conceived, and again when that project is completed.  With more time spent on the land, getting to know the landowners we work with and the knowledge and stories they have to share about their properties, I can feel a shift taking place.  

I find myself increasingly energized by the opportunity to inspire care for the landscape of our valley in such a way that the Methow Valley is forever known not only for the number of acres that have been protected here, but for the quality of the habitat, productive soils, and scenic views they represent, and for a community that has challenged itself to set a new standard for caring for it all.

                                                                                                - Jason

What have you accomplished on your property this spring, OR what do you hope to accomplish this year?  What would you like to learn more about or have the opportunity to see on-the- ground? 

Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below and thank you for helping to care for the land of the Methow Valley!

Jason Paulsen serves as Executive Director at the Methow Conservancy and inbetween these trips to the field accomplished his spring goal of climbing and skiing Silver Star.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

BIG Thanks for GiveBIG

“GiveBIG” the Seattle Foundation said, and wow did those who love the Methow Valley respond!  It was so energizing to get emails throughout the day yesterday showing new donations coming in from across Washington State.  

Sarah Brooks, Heide Andersen, Jason Paulsen, John Sunderland, and Dawn Woodruff
on our office deck energized by GiveBIG!

All told, 90 donations came in to the Methow Conservancy yesterday, raising more than $27,000 for conservation in the Methow Valley.  Though we don’t keep detailed records of this, I can assure you this is far and away a one-day donation record in terms of numbers of donations.  It may take us a day or two to get all those thank you letters out!  Amazing!  (We’re still waiting to hear on our “stretch” amount – the bonus gift from the Seattle Foundation-- but it should be great!). 

According to the Seattle Foundations website, GiveBIG brought in more 37,000 gifts totaling more than $7.4 million in just one day – easily doubling the results from last year.  Our 90 donors were a part of a huge day of giving and as a donor myself, I got caught up in the rush of being a part of something big.

It was a good reminder that giving can and should be fun.  It should feel good.  It should remind us about what we value and it should provide a way for us to express those values.  The day was a tangible sign that groups of people can band together to change the world, as the the incredible giving from yesterday will spur more than 1000 nonprofits to do good in the year to come.

Thanks to all who helped spread the word, who gave yesterday, and who support us any time of the year.  Your trust in us to make your dreams for the Methow Valley come true makes us all very proud.  I’m looking forward to sharing many more stories on this blog of “proof” of how we are putting your conservation investments to work on the ground in the Methow.

I’m reminded of a quote I heard recently at a conference from a fundraising colleague, Peter Drury, in Seattle:  “Philanthropy is born not of wealth, but of generosity.”  We sure do live in a generous state. 

-- Sarah Brooks is the Associate Director at the Methow Conservancy.  She's hoping to run 26.2 miles this weekend in the Vancouver marathon in honor of the more than $26,000 raised yesterday!