Huntertown-based ACRES Land Trust has reached a milestone. The organization, which works to preserve land in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan, is now protecting more than 7,000 acres. Recent acquisitions include properties in DeKalb, Elkhart, LaGrange, Kosciusko and Allen counties.
Executive Director Jason Kissel says "over the past fourteen years, ACRES has doubled in size in nearly all categories: land owned, staff, endowment, and financial support. That’s impressive." The last three years have seen the addition of 17 new properties and 10 expansions totaling nearly 1,300 acres.
The organization has launched a new strategic plan focusing on its growth and land management, as well as self-evaluation. Kissel says "this evaluation will not focus on what we do. That’s set and won’t ever change: ACRES exists to protect land. What will be under scrutiny is how we protect land. We’ll be asking big questions, such as: Is the organizational governance structure from 1960 still the most effective? Does our service area need adjusting? Should we consider regional offices? What do members want more of? Less of? Do our acquisition criteria need to be revised? We will review all aspects of our organization."
It will seek input from members, partners, community leaders and the public. You can connect to more about the milestone, including recent acquisitions and the strategic plan by clicking here.