“Fresh air, the earth under your feet, kindred spirits coming along for a hike in one of the Conservancy’s many delightful natural areas, what could be better on a lazy day in Leelanau?”, is newly-graduated docent Bert Thomas’ philosophy. Although not a true native of the county, Bert has been coming to Leelanau since birth and is now a full-time resident. He says, “I sailed the waters, fished some of the lakes and streams, picked the cherries at various points in my life and feel more a part of this beautiful place than just about anywhere.” Bert enlisted in the Air Force as a young man and learned Chinese, was a historian by education, but his career led him to Federal employment where he worked, lived and traveled overseas in foreign service capacities mostly in Asia. He founded a land trust conservancy in northern Kentucky, chaired it for half a dozen years and is proud to now serve the Leelanau Conservancy as a docent.
Although not a seasoned birder, Bert watches them with interest and photographs them and other wildlife around the house and nearby. He is board president of Saving Birds Thru Habitat, a local conservation organization with a national reach dedicated to native habitat restoration and improvement for vitalizing declining bird populations. “By nature I am an outside person, hoping to impart my passion for the environment to others,” he states. Bert lives in the Northport vicinity with his wife Diane and their cat Jake; their kids are scattered with a couple in California.