I’m excited to join Groundswell Conservancy as its new executive director! Before joining the team, I spent decades helping to protect the environment and working with underrepresented communities with groups like Wisconsin Conservation Voters. I’m a hiker, biker, paddler, and I love getting out in nature. I’m also a storyteller. To introduce myself, I thought I’d share the story of the week leading up to my first day with Groundswell. It goes like this…

It was late February, and there was a chill in the air. I was feeling overjoyed after landing an amazing job. Unfortunately, as with all lucky streaks, the universe decided to strike back. You’ve been there, I’m sure. First, my computer broke down. Then my collie Rose developed a stomach bug. Last but not least, my car stalled in the drive-up lane at the local Walgreens. “Why me?” I remembered thinking, only to be met by the harsh, cold stare of my darkened dashboard. What could I do? I turned towards the intercom to let the pharmacist know that my car decided it needed a rest. That’s when I noticed them – two tiny snowflakes on the driver’s side window. Just before they melted, I took in their lacy, intricate designs and thought “no two snowflakes are identical”. It was something I’d known…well…forever, but at that moment, I was filled with awe. Suddenly, my horrible week seemed pretty insignificant. Nature in all its wonder and diversity had come to the rescue and put everything in perspective.

Now it’s spring, and, if we’re lucky, the snowflakes are fewer and far between in Wisconsin. The cranes and robins are nesting, and
the prairies, farms, and wetlands we love so much are reborn. Yes. There are challenges ahead: overdevelopment, pollution, food insecurity, inequitable access to the land, and the greatest of all – climate change. But I’m an optimist. I know what engaged and empowered people can achieve. And I know that our Groundswell community is strong and diverse. I also know how committed we are to protecting the land forever and for everyone, and that fills me with hope. Finally, I know that, in a world where billions upon billions of snowflakes have fallen and no two have ever been alike, anything is possible. I can’t wait to meet you and get started!

To read more stories from our Spring 2022 Newsletter, click here.