“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work.  You don’t give up.”  ~  Anne Lamott

It is Christmas eve, perhaps the most hopeful time of the year.  It is interesting that most holiday cards bestow wishes of peace while typically displaying a picture of a tranquil winter scene.  One of the three different kinds of cards I sent out depicted, two cross-country skiers with the caption:  “Breathe in the beauty of the season.”

As this is a Land & Community Stewardship focused blog, I wanted to end the 2012 year by mentioning the hopeful news regarding land conservation.  It is quite impressive and my deep thanks go out to all of the five million folks who are members of land trusts in the U.S., and the 100,000 persons who volunteer to educate visitors, raise funds and perform land enhancement and restoration activities.

The cadillac land trust in the world is the Nature Conservancy.  This organization has conserved 119 million acres of land throughout the world including 5,000 miles of rivers and 100 marine conservation projects.

With a stroke of his Executive Order pen, President Obama has recently doubled the amount of marine sanctuaries in California, adding 2,093 square nautical miles of ocean to the state with the largest undersea parks system in the continental United States.  To date, California has protected 16% of its state waters (from the shoreline going out 30 miles to sea).

Closer to home here in the Pacific Northwest, the highly productive Columbia Land Trust has grown to 1,800 members who have helped the organization acquire 18,000 magnificent acres from the arid desert lands east of the Cascade Mountains to the mouth of the Columbia River.

One of the most hopeful attributes of many land trusts is that they are community based and deeply connected to local needs.  As a result, land trusts can protect working farms and forests, while also ensuring that rare plant and animal habitat is conserved.

Land trust work is good and noble.  Consider becoming involved with your local group in 2013. ~