2016 Volunteer of the Year: Ann Nichols - The Leelanau Conservancy

2016 Volunteer of the Year: Ann Nichols

Conservancy Executive Director Tom Nelson thanks Ann Nichols for her years of dedication
Conservancy Executive Director Tom Nelson thanks Ann Nichols for her years of dedication

Leelanau Conservancy Names 2016 Volunteer and Conservation Partner of the Year at Annual Picnic on August 4

Since its founding in 1988, volunteers have been the heart and soul of the Leelanau Conservancy, bringing time, talent and expertise to help in the Conservancy’s mission to conserve the land, water and scenic character of Leelanau County. This year the Conservancy recognized long-time volunteer Ann Nichols.

2016 Volunteer of the Year

“Ann has been volunteering since our earliest years,” said Nelson. “She has dug wildflowers, worked in our information booth, served on our auction committee. Ann and her late husband, Herb, wore costumes at this event, and drove around the county to put up signs when we had a farmland tour. Over the years, pretty much anything that we asked of Ann, she did.”

Over the Conservancy’s 28-year history, volunteers have logged over 100,000 hours, worth over $1 million, Nelson added. Last year alone, over 350 volunteered for the Conservancy.

Leelanau Children's Center Logo

Conservation Partner of the Year

The Leelanau Children’s Center was named Conservation Partner of the Year. “Since 2012 the Leelanau Children’s Center Staff has taken on the job of organizing and running the ever-popular Kids Tent at the Picnic. Because they do, families with young children can attend and enjoy this event. The Children’s Center has also been a great ambassador for the Leelanau Conservancy to the next generation for years.  They take the children on hikes to nearby natural areas and are always including nature in their programming. We know that engaging the next generation is crucial to ensuring that Leelanau remains as special in the future as it is now, and the Leelanau Children’s Center is a great partner in helping to make that happen.

Gorgeous Setting, Big Crowd and Standing Ovation Made for a Special Night

Nearly 800 people attended the Picnic at the Kalchik-Newton Farm—private lands preserved forever in 2004 with a conservation easement. Among those who attended were Conservancy Founders, Ed and Bobbie Collins, along with founding leaders, Brian and Susan Price. The Prices received a standing ovation from the crowd when Chairman Warren Watkins announced the Conservancy’s decision to rename the central trail at the new Palmer Woods Forest Reserve “The Brian and Susan Price Trail.”

Local food and wines were featured along with a Kids Tent and Silent Auction. Unique Leelanau experiences, dinners and great gifts—along with a “Glamping Raffle” raised over $65,000.

Diane Thomas won the Local Leelanau Door Prize, an array of locally produced foods and items meant to showcase all the great products that are made in Leelanau. Joanie Woods’ name was drawn as winner of the Glamping Raffle, an array of camping equipment donated by the Coleman Co.

Nelson concluded by thanking attendees for coming out to celebrate the successes of the past year and for their ongoing support.