April 3, 2020
I know we are all adjusting to a new normal with statewide “Stay in Place” orders. We are also all trying to make sense of alarming health projections that will have a devastating toll on Americans and our international neighbors. The International Monetary Fund has declared that we are now in a global recession that is unlikely to recover until 2021.
I find myself asking many questions- How do we move forward with this information and be of utmost service to our community? How can we adapt to support our most vulnerable citizens and each other? What work is most relevant in these intense times?
I recently read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education where author Aisha Ahmad offers this advice about the current crisis: “Let this distract you. Let it change how you think and how you see the world. Because the world is our work. And so, may this tragedy tear down all our faulty assumptions and give us the courage of bold new ideas."
I invite you all to let this crisis change how we think about our community, conservation, and be open to the “courage of bold new ideas” that will shape how we rebuild into a stronger, more resilient community that takes care of people and land. While we all continue to cope with the uncertainty around us, here is what I know about conservation that has been reinforced by the coronavirus crisis:
Conservation is Long-Lasting
The work of individuals completed years and decades ago is felt on a daily basis. As I walk from my home to the Garden of the Gods with my daughter or admire views of Pikes Peak, I am benefitting from the hard work of those who preceded me. Similarly, the work we do today is for future generations. We must continue the important work of conservation. Indeed, it is this time of community crisis that we turn to the places that bring us hope and solace. For many of us, this includes getting into nature where we can escape the relentless barrage of news or perhaps have a moment of reprieve from the uncertainty that grips us.
Local Food, Local Support
We are reminded that now more than ever, secure local food systems are imperative. Farm and ranchland protection - the work of Palmer Land Trust - is a critical piece of the food security puzzle. The farmers and ranchers of southern Colorado are working hard now preparing for the field season and getting seeds in the ground. They are also facing their own challenges with the uncertainty of obtaining a reliable workforce and more. Regardless, dedicated local farmers and ranchers are working seven days a week to provide nourishing and delicious food, reminding us that Palmer’s mission and relationships with these growers is as important as ever.
Nature Endures And So Will We
The power of conservation and community is not to be underestimated. Increasingly, we are seeing people turning to our public parks, open spaces, and trails for their health and well-being. They are returning to their homes, their gardens, and each other. I firmly believe that despite the uncertainty in our lives right now, there can be joy, too, in the rediscovery of what matters most: health, family, community, connection, and a good meal.
Colorado’s landscape and people are resilient. Together, through drought, wildfire, and floods, we have consistently recovered, adapted and evolved. While we know that the worst is potentially yet to come with COVID-19, nature endures and so will we. All of us here at Palmer stand with you during this time. Please call on us if you feel we can support you in any way.
Thank you for your continued commitment to conservation in southern Colorado.
President and CEO