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Conserving wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations.

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A Letter from Molly

Dear friends,

I hope this letter finds you ok. I know COVID-19 has touched most of us in ways we never expected. We are thinking about you and hoping that any difficult situations you meet, are manageable. Please reach out to us if there is anything we can do for you. Our webpage has all our emails listed. I would also be happy to call you personally, as I know other Trust staff and board would.

Family, friends, and nature are the brightest lights in my life right now and I imagine this may be similar for you. I hope nature is giving you joy, solace, and peace no matter the time of day or night. And there is so much activity out there right now. No Stay-At-Home for the natural world! Tree frogs are serenading us from the wetlands you have protected. Early nesters are busy at work in Trust forests you conserved. I see Great Blue Herons flying on-high towards March Point daily - a sure sign of spring. In your neighborhood you might find a Bald Eagle on a nest, or a Red-Tailed Hawk, or a Great Horned Owl with the tufts on its head sticking just above the nest rim. Perhaps a Rufous Hummingbird has arrived outside your window. Their world is having a vacation from our human activities. I hope you have opportunities to witness or experience nature, locally.

We don’t know what the world looks like for the next year, but I want you to know that thanks to you and other members who helped build a robust organization, we at the Trust are intact and forward-looking. Our staff are working from home and busy. We are able to keep progress with many of our land acquisition projects, albeit at a slower pace. Our stewardship team, under the direction of Regina Wandler (who now works with a cat in her lap) is getting planning done. And yes, some of this does mean more trails and nature-viewing locally! As well, the stewardship and outreach team are developing ways to quickly ramp up volunteer opportunities for you to join with when we can get back out there. Here are just a few of the projects we are up to. You can read about many more on our website www.skagitlandtrust.org.

● Land team staff Michael Kirshenbaum, Jane Zillig, Hannah Williams and Kari Odden are busy securing more salmon habitat along the Skagit River. With over 32 miles of shoreline and floodplain conserved forever, this is one of the greatest gifts you are giving fish, wildlife, and future generations. We are fortunate that our current grants allow us to continue our work remotely with partners and landowners to save more Skagit River lands.

● A local landowner is collaborating with us on a “working forest” conservation easement. We are excited to do this type of easement - one of the greatest risks to the Skagit is conversion of our forestlands to sprawl. Working forests not only help landowners maintain economic viability of land once development rights are extinguished, but they also preserve wetlands, wildlife corridors, and future possibilities.

● Trust staff, volunteers, and landowners recently completed the installation of a live fascine (bundles of live trees stakes and materials) on 500 feet of the Sauk River at the Sauk-Delachapelle Conservation Easement. This spring gives us a chance to see how this innovative bank control method works to slow erosion and restore native vegetation on a pretty wild river.

● Our outreach and education staff Laura Hartner, Stacy Dahl, Tori Wood, and Abby Weaver have developed some fun ways to stay engaged with the Trust and nature from your home environment. You can access these resources on Facebook, Instagram, or on our website. Check out our Staff Book Recommendations and feel free to send us your own.

● Auction Coordinator Debbie Ensey has safely “parked” the wonderful auction items that were set to be showcased in March. We’ll have more information about our plans for this event soon. Stay tuned!

● Martha Frankel, who answers your phone calls, emails, and handles donations, is doing all this remotely. She has sent along some beautiful notes expressing your concern, thoughts and support. Thank you.

I feel such deep appreciation for what you and other members have gifted to our world. Not just for us to enjoy, but for the earth, for future generations, and for wildlife. The land you help save and steward has taken on larger meaning in our suddenly localized world. Saving Land for Tomorrow. Thank you so much.

With gratitude,

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