Board interview with Roger Pearce
Roger Pearce grew up in rural areas and has always had a love and concern for our natural environment. Through his work with the Land Conservancy he has met many land owners that are wondering how they should get involved. We asked Roger, “What advice do you have for folks who want to get involved with a land trust such as SOLC?”
First you have to understand that conservation easement work is a way to preserve land for future generations. Regulation is one way to do it, but isn’t always fair. So why don’t we do it ourselves? Then I explain that SOLC is an organization that preserves natural areas on a volunteer and private basis. People who want to conserve their land can partner with us to do this. It is a way to preserve natural settings, but there is also a huge educational component that can teach youth to appreciate the area.
The thing that always surprises me is how many people that own the types of properties that fit our mission. Our focus areas include Colestin, close to the Siskiyou Summit, the Cascade foothills, and the oak woodlands that provide really good habitat around here and that we have lost a good bit of over the decades. A lot of the people that own these properties, they own them for a reason. They really love them. And they would like for other people to enjoy them and so they are willing to conserve them.
One thing I would like for people to realize is that conservation and conservation easements are not all or nothing. People think either this land is going to be in a natural state and completely unused or it has to be developed to its highest and best use economically. The truth is somewhere in between. A lot of the properties we have easements on have working farms and residential areas. Frankly that really is good for the land because you have someone that is there and looking after it. We don't want to lock it up from all use. We just want to preserve it.
I invite people to go on one of the hikes we sponsor and come out and do the fun simple stuff—like at the Rogue River Preserve to pull weeds—something you can do and you don’t have to be an expert. For me that is a lot of fun. It is a great fellowship and you just meet with people you like and you learn and pull weeds for a good cause. Or come to a Land Conservancy dinner. That is a way you can get involved at the beginning and learn more about SOLC, a project that is worthwhile for the community. Just get involved in a small way and get to know people.
July 17, 2019