February 2016

Dear Friend of the Sangamon Valley:

FOSV has been working since 1998 to protect the Sangamon River Watershed’s natural areas. We’ve done this with your direct help by acquiring high quality natural areas, restoring areas in partnership with private landowners and government owners, and offering our members opportunities to participate in stewardship.

We currently own 235 acres, and are actively managing in partnership an additional 2,000 acres. Thus far, we’ve been able to accomplish this through the hard work of our head land manager and executive director, Vern LaGesse, our lead volunteers and our core group of 50 plus regular volunteers. When grant money is available, we’ve been able to use contractors for large land management treatments.

That’s a lot of bang for the buck, but no one’s getting any younger and the work doesn’t get easier. Many other land trusts are able to employ part time or full time staff to perform ongoing stewardship and the Friends board of directors wants to reach that level.

We are holding this capital campaign as a means to kickstart our stewardship staffing, by using any donated funds to hire a part-time on-call steward who will:

  • Conduct stewardship activities on Friends property, such as management of invasive species, establishing and maintaining boundaries, assist with prescribed fire program, and other caretaking activities
  • Oversee volunteer activities
  • Work with our private and government partners to conduct similar activities on partners’ lands
  • Maintain equipment and supplies

Vern, as executive director and land manager, will still be in charge of overall management and stewardship planning, coordinating controlled burns, and training. But having someone to take the primary responsibility for more routine hands-on activities allows more energy to be devoted to high level planning and strategizing for the watershed.

So many of you have been so generous with us in the past by promptly renewing your memberships, contributing to our past land acquisition and year end campaigns, or generously sharing with us for no particular reason at all. We appreciate your support and simply, we cannot have achieved our success without you.

Our goal is to raise $25,000 a year to hire one part time steward who will work at all our properties and on grant opportunities. We will continue to search for grants and other income to help us reach this goal and we’ll keep you informed of our progress in newsletters. We ask that you consider making a donation to our Stewardship Campaign to help us reach our goal of a sustainable stewardship program.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

William Crook, Jr.

President

Board of Directors

Friends of the Sangamon Valley

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