Ten Things to Be Happy About

December 09, 2012

Last Friday, NCLC staff gathered with friends, board members, and volunteers at the home of longtime NCLC volunteer Nancy Holmes.  It was meant to be our monthly Outreach Committee meeting, but given the lack of an office to meet at–and having a whole new reality for NCLC to deal with–our outreach agenda seemed less than urgent, and the meeting was thrown open to anyone who wanted to stop by.  Board members, friends of the trust, and volunteers stopped by share stories and just be with one another as we all grappled with what had happened Wednesday morning when our office building–housed in an old farmhouse–burned to the ground.

There was some good comfort food, a lot of hugging, and a few tears shed, but there was also a lot of laughter and determination that the land trust will go on.

NCLC Executive Director Katie Voelke, who is out on maternity leave following the birth of her son Elijah on November 13th, made everyone’s day by not only joining the gathering, but bringing Eli with her. There is nothing like a new baby to make you feel hopeful for the future!

Katie Voelke with our newest NCLC supporter, Elijah Kirby

We’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and offers of help from the community, and will be putting together a list of what we need and how people can help very soon.  In the mean time, if you are able to make a donation to NCLC to help us get through this very challenging time, it will be most gratefully received and appreciated.  You can click on the Make a Donation button on the right side of our website, or follow this link: Make a Donation to NCLC.

North Coast Land Conservancy board member Randall Henderson has always had a gift for injecting laughter into the serious work of land conservation; his wry sense of humor has gotten us all through some tough spots before. Although it’s somewhat hard to see the lighter side of having our office completely burn to the ground, at this, our first post-fire gathering, Randall once again stepped up to help us put our loss into perspective.

Randall Henderson’s Top Ten Bits of Good News
in the Aftermath of the NCLC Fire

10. End of year fundraising letters went out on Monday

9. Checks were deposited on Tuesday

8. Salmon display was saved (The only thing firefighters were able to save was a one-of-a-kind salmon display created by artist Ron Pittard, who recently passed away.  We’ll post more on this soon!)

7. Web site and email list are remotely hosted, and survived un-singed

6. The donor database can be reconstructed (Dedicated NCLC volunteer Jeanne Henderson kept a copy of our donor database so that she could work on it at home, and her version is a fairly recent one.  We cannot believe our good fortune to have these records still!)

5. Teresa’s laptop (Outreach Coordinator Teresa Retzlaff had brought her NCLC laptop home with her the night before the fire. Executive Director Katie Voelke also had her laptop at home with her. Everything else was destroyed.)

4. Do we dare dream… a LEED certified office building?

3. No one got hurt (or worse)

2. Hey it’s all about the land anyway, isn’t it?

1. We are all still here and ready to move forward and make it even better than before

Randall is right: NCLC is going through a tough time now, but we will survive this and emerge stronger, wiser and better than before, thanks to the amazing community that we serve.  You are what makes us strong, and we are very thankful for you!


  1. Donna Henderson says:

    I love the pictures, and Randall’s list! It reminds me that, just like in the natural world at large that the Land Trust both participates in a works to protect, fires (and other destructive events) are part of the cycle of life. And while the losses are no less real and devastating, fires also stimulate the dormant seeds of new life, of the kind that need heat and light and the nutrients the fire releases, to grow (I hope I’ve got my botany right, here!). So yes, hooray for the Trust’s new life in 2013!

  2. teresa says:

    Donna, your botany analogy is spot-on! Thanks for the kind words of support, they are very helpful for all of our spirits at this challenging time. And you are right, new opportunities and new paths forward have cracked open in this fire, and are germinating into what we all hope will be a strong and successful future.

  3. Rich Sutliff says:

    With a team like yours and the help of all of us, near and far, who believe in the NCLC , there is indeed much to look forward to. It is a Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes kind of thing. You all are the Phoenix. Meanwhile, all the gestures you have made to restore and conserve the land go on and on and on. Thanks for your wonderful work and your collective spirit!