Retirement is Calling My Name

Author: Jessica | 01/20/22

The other morning I woke to an absolutely stunning sunrise that spread its glow throughout the eastern sky and over the Cascades. A few days later, while still at work, I was graced with a magnificent pink and gold sunset that illuminated the entire sky. I was in awe.

That seems an appropriate way to summarize my nearly 20-year career as executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. I started with a sunrise opportunity and now I am about to retire in my sunset years with the Land Trust in ideal position for a new leader to take this wonderful organization to new conservation heights. The sky’s the limit, and I’m excited by the opportunities ahead.

And it is most definitely time for me to follow Edward Abbey’s sage advice, paraphrased for my purpose here: “Do not burn yourself out. Save the other half of yourself and your life (at this point, perhaps just a quarter of my life!) for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and breathe deeply of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious and awesome space.”

I am fortunate to have been able to work for 33 years to pursue my passion in Washington, saving the wild places and open spaces I love while there’s still time. And I’ve been especially fortunate the past 20 years to help accomplish significant, permanent land conservation right here at home—protection focused on keeping these cherished islands healthy, wild and wonderful, now and for generations to come.

But don’t push me out the door just yet. I’ll be here about five more months until the new executive director arrives. We’ll work together on a seamless transition to ensure the Land Trust continues its important mission without a hitch. We do plan to have several open houses and at least one virtual meeting to greet the new executive director, and, if you are so inclined, to “high five” me on my retirement.

It’s possible I may be hired to work on special projects (outside the office). But when I do depart as executive director, I know I will greatly miss all of you, my conservation friends —those who financially support the mission, volunteer time or donate important lands and conservation easements—the key parts that help keep intact the islands’ quality of life.

Stay tuned for more information to come in our newsletters, E-news and special invitations.


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