Thankful for… you!

Giving Thanks

A few reasons why we are thankful this season…

Joe Moll, Executive Director
I’m thankful for waterfowl at sunrise, fresh blueberries for a mid-morning snack, an afternoon nap beneath gold quaking aspen, an evening hatch on the river, and an owl’s call at lights-out, each and every day.

Charlie Ward, Board President
I am most thankful this year and throughout my long association with MRT for the collaborative approach this organization takes to accomplish its work. People from varied backgrounds, income levels, and political views working together to move us to a more sustainable landscape. How refreshing on the heals of this election season!

Jodi Lemmer, Land Steward
My job involves land restoration, care, respect for, and continued maintenance, of our conserved lands. I’m thankful that every day I get to interact with these special lands and the very special people who share this stewardship ethic and help us carry out our mission.

Ryan Ruggiero, Land Protection Manager
Landowners who are dedicated to their land and its future compel me to bring my best effort to my work each day. I am continually inspired that they can look both backward and forward and consider the legacy they want to leave for both past and future generations. It is truly humbling to be a part of something with such endurance.

Chris Vogel, Green Island Project Manager
The Willamette Valley floodplain is always active. I am thankful to work in a setting where I regularly witness gravel bar formations, seasonal flooding, and migrations of fish and wildlife. Green Island looks different to me every time I set foot on the ground, and MRT continues to grow our support and partnerships. Together, we have great opportunities to strengthen the Green Island project.

Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager
From volunteers to local businesses, from fly fisherman to birders, colleagues and partners to our very committed supporters – when I come to work each day I am surrounded by a community of individuals who inspire me. People that are passionate about the same things I am, helping to preserve the remarkable landscapes and waterways that surround us. I was born here. I used to take living here for granted, but I have come to realize how fortunate I truly am.

Liz Lawrence, Director of Resources
As I bike to work each day beside the rushing waters of our valley’s namesake river, I’m often reminded that we live in one of the most amazing places on the planet. I’m grateful to all of you who join us on the ground to see firsthand how your donations help protect the lands and waters that nourish our communities.

Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager
I am continually moved by the dedication and land ethic of the private landowners we get to work with at the McKenzie River Trust. I am so thankful for the trust and relationships we have formed with these unique people.

Dane Moeggenberg, Stewardship Technician
I am thankful that there is an organization devoted to the protection of lands and rivers in Western Oregon. I am thankful that I am physically able to perform my stewardship duties. I am thankful for the people that I work with, the knowledge I am gaining, and the network of support in the area.

Most of all, we are thankful for you!

Your support is critical to protect and care for special lands in our region.

If you are on our mailing list, you will soon receive a letter asking for your donation. Inside the envelope, you will also find a small token of our appreciation. To provide a head-start to our year-end fundraising campaign, you can GIVE NOW through our secure online server.

We are thankful to have supporters who are so committed to our local land conservation work. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!

Landowners donate 91-acre forest easement

"Our vision for Woodpecker Ridge is not to have it just be a wild refuge," says landowner Max Gessert, who recently worked with his wife Kate to donate a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust. "We also want the forest to be a place where humans can be part of the land."

As you walk through the forest and farmland protected in the Woodpecker Ridge Conservation Easement near Crow, mature conifer trees tower above while your feet squish into the rich floodplain of Trout Creek. Passing tall oak groves, you reach a small wetland. A flock of sheep grazes in the farm fields. It’s easy to see why Kate and Max Gessert wanted to protect this special place.

Kate, an English as a Second Language teacher at Lane Community College, and Max, an artist and writer, donated a 91-acre conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust in May. Grant funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act helped pay for some of the transaction expenses.

Landowners Kate and Max Gessert.

After living on 20 acres of the property for a few years, the Gesserts learned that the second-growth forest next door was owned by a timber company and about to be cut, so they bought it. “We first talked with the McKenzie River Trust about an easement about 10 years ago,” says Max. “We wanted to protect the land, but there were some staff changes and it was easy to put off. Many years went by. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly, all kinds of issues became foregrounded. We began thinking about lots of things we had considered before that hadn’t been finished.”

Red-legged frogs, pileated woodpeckers, yellow-breasted chat and other sensitive fish and wildlife species are likely to benefit from the land’s protection. In keeping with the Gesserts’ Forest Stewardship Certification of the land, the easement allows for limited, sustainable forest harvest.

Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, MRT’s Willamette Program Manager, emphasizes that customized legal agreements can meet landowner needs while protecting critical habitat. “In working with Kate and Max to develop this easement, I learned how much this forest means to them,” says Nicole. “Conservation easements are as unique as the landscapes they protect, and we’re grateful that future wildlife and people will coexist on Woodpecker Ridge and be protected.”

Here at the McKenzie River Trust, we are also grateful to you, our supporters, for your help in bringing conservation agreements like this one to life.

“There are many ways we all try to take care of the world,” says Kate. “But it’s hard to know which ones will work. This seemed like something effective we could do.”