A Recipe for the Year Ahead

Many of those who read this may know of Judy Anderson, an independent (and indispensable) friend and adviser to land trusts for more than 25 years. As one aspect of her work, she publishes an email newsletter titled “Climate Change and Conservation.” In the issue that arrived in my inbox this morning, Judy opens by sharing her grandmother’s recipe for creating a meaningful life. Here it is:

Recipe for Creating a Meaningful Life
3 cups of courage
2 cups of laughter
6 cups of energy, joy or zest
1¾ cups of tears
Mix the first three ingredients together well, moisten with tears as needed or necessary. Mixture should be soft but not sloppy or sticky.  – Hilma Bennett (Judy Anderson’s grandmother)

Judy Anderson, a land trust hero

Judy offered her grandmother’s recipe (written more than 60 years ago) because she wanted to start the year off with some inspiration and good news, “to help us all re-energize and face the year with a willingness to lead.”

(If you’re interested in how we, as conservationists, can help slow down climate change, here is a link to one of Judy’s past newsletters. And/or sign up to receive future issues.)

I, along with others at SJPT, became familiar with Judy’s work through the Land Trust Alliance, both in her capacity as a regular presenter at Rally (the annual convention for land trusts) and as a prolific contributor to the Alliance’s online “Ask the Expert” forum. She is a national thought leader in “community conservation”—the idea, basically, that land trusts have a duty not just to conserve land, but also to share the benefits of conservation and of time spent in nature with a diverse cross-section of our local communities.

The rationale behind community conservation is simple: When more people care about and are connected to land, then more people will want to protect it. It’s in our long-term best interest to broaden our base of support. Plus, self-interest aside, connecting more people with land is the right thing to do for society as a whole.

Wanting to inject a bit more of this thinking into the Preservation Trust’s DNA, we hired Judy to consult with our board and staff as part of our strategic planning process. From her home office in upstate New York, Judy “Zoomed” via video-conference into two of our board meetings and a session during our September board-staff retreat.

We don’t know yet what the full results of her engagement with SJPT’s board and staff will be—her influence will be felt for years. What is certain right now, though, is that Judy Anderson has added 3 cups of courage, 2 cups of (sometimes rueful) laughter, and a heaping 6 cups of energy and zest to our thinking about community conservation. Thank you, Judy!