Greenbelt's 2019 Annual Meeting at Cox Reservation kicked off with a creative potluck followed by awards and presentations.
Board Chair Philip Lake called the meeting to order, and recognized Greenbelt's achievements in 2018 including: two notable land conservation successes - the new Beaver Pond Reservation (Merrimac) and the Gateway to Castle Neck River Reservation (Ipswich); outstanding stewardship of Greenbelt's properties around Essex County; and far-reaching development and engagement efforts, including an increased outreach to the Merrimack River Valley.
Philip also thanked retiring board members Barry LaCroix (West Newbury) and Ken Aspeslaugh (Amesbury) for their service. Vice Chair Alison Falk introduced the 2019 slate of officers, including David Tory (Essex) to the position of Vice-Chair, and Leslie Burns (Essex) as a new Director, and Spencer Purinton (Newburyport) as a returning Director.
Treasurer Kent Wosepka presented on Greenbelt's finances, which he characterized as very strong.
Vice Chair Annie Madden offered a heartfelt tribute to former Board Treasurer Francis "Mickey" Culver," who made incredible contributions to Greenbelt's mission until his passing last December. The Culver family graciously accepted the annual Al Creighton Conservation Award, awarded to Francis "Mickey" Culver posthumously.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Art in the Barn, three volunteer awards were presented to Nathalie Meyfarth (Topsfield), Ann Jones (Groveland) and Beth Cooper (Gloucester). All three women have tirelessly offered their time and incredible talent to help make Art in the Barn a success for many years.
Greenbelt President Kate Bowditch's followed with inspirational, engaging remarks that included a description of her past work at Charles River Watershed Association. Kate noted the important, interdependent relationship between watershed protection and land conservation that has made her transition to Greenbelt exciting and smooth. Kate enthusiastically welcomes the important work ahead to sustain Greenbelt's mission.
Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of Ipswich River Watershed Association, capped off the meeting with a powerful presentation, the "Great Marsh Adaption (Resiliency) Plan." Wayne's presentation underscored the importance now, more than ever, of land conservation in Essex County.