It seems like just yesterday that Carol Richardson and I sat in the Black Swamp Conservancy office in Perrysburg with Marcus Ricci, Clint Mauk and Tom Gess. We worked with them to come up with the framework for a Lake Erie Islands Chapter.
The ground work had been laid in 1998 with visits and meetings by Dan Reidel and Karin Starr of the Black Swamp and Karin Starr to Middle Bass and South Bass to talk about how a land conservancy/trust works. On Middle Bass, we had just quickly formed the Friends of Haunck’s Pond to assist with the purchase of the Kuehnle SWA. On South Bass, the DeRivera Park Trust applied for non profit status so that they could accept no interest loans to purchase DeRivera (Cooper’s) Woods. It was obvious we needed an organization to do land preservation on the Lake Erie Islands. I had taken a call from Mary Parker while working in the vineyard-we need a Land Conservancy, she said. So in fall of 2000 we held our first meeting with Tom Gess and Marcus Ricci attending and then had our first official meeting in November of 2000.
We hit the ground running with the very first meeting in January 2001 with Bob Russell asking us to check out the property for sale across from his home-the future Scheeff East Point Preserve. After years and many federal, state, private grants and donations and a new Put-in-Bay Township Park District, the Preserve became a realty dedicated in 2008. It is still our signature park and greatest accomplishment-one we can all feel proud of when we walk its shores. The new kiosk showcases the many partnerships as a result of this effort.
From then it has been non stop projects totaling 55 acres with LEIC-BSC and PIBTPD!
We are grateful to others who served as board members over the years-and our supporters without whom nothing would have happened.
With this rich history of support and hard work, we start our own course of land preservation with a new independent Lake Erie Islands Conservancy. Thanks to the Black Swamp Conservancy for their help in getting us started. Here we go!!!!