Land Trust’s New Name Unveiled

"Legacy Land Conservancy" reflects broader scope
Legacy Land Conservancy Mugs

During an event at Cobblestone Farm on Thursday, Mark Patrick and Suzie Heiney unveil the Washtenaw Land Trust's new name and logo: the Legacy Land Conservancy.

As the nearly 160 guests started dinner Thursday evening, Susan Lackey urged them to continue making bids on the silent auction items – including, she said, “heirloom” Washtenaw Land Trust mugs. “The value of those will go up significantly before the evening is over.”

Those mugs are the last of their kind, as the land trust now has a new name: Legacy Land Conservancy. Lackey, the nonprofit’s executive director, says the name reflects a broader mission and geographical reach beyond the boundaries of Washtenaw County. In the past few years, the trust has helped protect 337 acres in Jackson County, to the west of Washtenaw. Its logo includes the charge of “protecting and preserving Southern Michigan.”

The group unveiled its new name at an awards dinner held at Cobblestone Farm and filled with local links to the land and community. The name, logo and overall new image of the land trust was developed with help from Q Ltd., an Ann Arbor design firm. The meal was catered by A Knife’s Work and included food from Tantre Farm, Zingerman’s Creamery, Café Japon and Jeff Renner’s Best French Bread in Town. Zingerman’s Roadhouse and Deli provided appetizers and desserts, and drinks came from Arbor Brewing Co., Sandhill Crane Vineyards and RoosRoast Coffee.

Sand Hill Crane Wine

A special label for Sandhill Crane Wine's blended Chardonnay reflects the land trust's new name and logo.

The evening included news beyond the name change. Scott Simonds, a land trust board member, announced the formation of the Forever Fund, a “quasi-endowment” to be used to defend conservation agreements. Simonds said that landowners have “trusted the Washtenaw Land Trust to protect their land and to protect it forever, and in fact, that’s our intention.” But attorneys told them it wasn’t a matter of “if” some of those agreements would be violated over time, but “when” – and the land trust needs funds to pay for a legal battle to protect the land, if necessary. The goal is to raise $500,000 by year’s end, Simonds said, and they already have commitments for 75% of that amount. An anonymous donor has pledged matching funds for the campaign.

Later in the evening, Guy Williams, board president, presented two Preservationist of the Year awards, calling the winners “heroes in our movement and in our region.” Harold Baker was honored for his lifelong conservation efforts in the Pinckney-Waterloo area. Working with the Boy Scouts of America, Baker helped build a network of trail systems in the Pinckney and Waterloo Recreation area, and last year he provided two acres of land as a buffer for Half Moon Lake, adjacent to the Pinckney Recreation Area.

The second award was given to Rudy Reichert, who in 2006 donated a perpetual conservation agreement to protect a 100-acre forest and wetlands near Portage Lake in Dexter Township. Del Dunbar accepted the award on Reichert’s behalf, saying he’d known him for 45 of Reichert’s 88 years. Dunbar said Reichert told him a “house of ill repute” had operated across from that property in the 1940s and ’50s. Pointing out that Dexter Township supervisor Pat Kelly was at the dinner, Dunbar joked that this fact should reduce the taxable value of adjoining properties. Dunbar noted the historical significance of the land, saying that the French explorer Robert de LaSalle had actually camped on the parcel in the 1680s. One hundred years from now – or even 1,000 years – “people will still appreciate this gift,” Dunbar said.

A final award honored U.S. Rep. John Dingell, recognizing his role in preventing the loss of federal tax deductions given for conservation easements. He not only helped head off that threat, Williams said, but he also helped come up with extra tax incentives. Those incentives expire soon, but they hope to make them permanent. Andy LaBarre, a staff member from Dingell’s office, accepted the award on the congressman’s behalf.

The main speaker for the evening was Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, a Washington D.C. advocacy group. He praised the land trust’s vision, saying they were part of a national movement of citizens who care about the land. “Land trusts help us know both where we are, and who we are,” he said.

One final note: The land trust offices are located in the NEW Center, a building that serves several nonprofit groups. The receptionist also serves the entire building, and is not directly connected with the trust. Yet when Susan Lackey walked into the building on Thursday morning, there on the receptionist’s desk sat a bird’s nest with three blue candy eggs. Just like the land trust’s new logo, which hadn’t yet been unveiled. “It was an omen,” Lackey said.

Legacy Land Conservancy

Harold Baker, left, receives one of two Preservationist of the Year awards for his work in the Pinckney-Waterloo area and the Boy Scouts of America. The award was presented by Guy Williams, president of the land trust.

Legacy Land Conservancy Mugs

"Heirloom" Washtenaw Land Trust mugs were part of the silent auction.


  1. March 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm | permalink

    I’m a big, big fan of the Land Trust, but I’m not sure about the name change. Doesn’t feel right to me yet. Maybe with time …

  2. By Steve Bean
    March 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm | permalink

    Likewise, Jim. The lack of place in the name (the tag line notwithstanding) is unfortunate. Going beyond the county and the watershed probably presented a naming challenge. Oh well, it’ll still serve the same purpose. It’ll be interesting to see if donations drop off, though it would be difficult to attribute any to the name change as opposed to the economic downturn.

  3. March 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm | permalink

    Thanks Susan, thanks to all for your heroic stewardship, nurturing and continued development of a great community trust “Legacy Land Conservancy”

  4. By Bob Martel
    March 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm | permalink

    I like the new name!