Introducing Janisse Ray… and Welcoming the Hoopla

When I first learned that UVLT Trustees were planning a party to celebrate the fact that I’ve been at UVLT for 25 years, I was, well… embarrassed. It’s not just that the spotlight feels awkward (the many people who have been my mentors and advisors over the years deserve credit for their patience and their leadership), it’s also that my service to UVLT is both fun and deeply rewarding. I feel lucky to be employed at something I love – sticking around for 25 years seems logical, not laudable.

Writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray is author of four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry.

Writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray is author of four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. Image courtesy of

Three things are helping me get comfortable with the hoopla.

1) Writer, naturalist, advocate Janisse Ray is coming from her home in Georgia to speak at our afternoon reception! When I was asked who I would like to invite for this role, I suggested Janisse Ray immediately because I’ve loved her books and essays.  I heard her speak at a national land trust event several years ago and was struck by her passion and compassion, the beauty of her writing, her deep love of place and people. To be able to introduce her to the Upper Valley community is an honor for UVLT and I am looking forward to it very much. If you haven’t yet – get yourselves over to the Norwich Bookstore and buy at least one of her books. Read it and share it. Come and meet her. I promise you won’t regret it.

2) All funds raised through ticket sales and activities at the dinner will help UVLT conserve more land. As proud as I am of everything UVLT has accomplished, I think we all know that the real challenges lie ahead. There are many special places that remain unprotected and at risk. To meet the conservation challenges of the future will require capital – and this event will help us build our funds.

3) UVLT celebrations are always fun. Nowhere else is convened such a dedicated, visionary, generous, smart and creative group of people.  Over the past several weeks, I’ve received many kind notes from dear friends and watched the RSVP list grow. What an amazing community this is! I know January 15th will be chockfull of camaraderie, inspiration, good memories and hilarity.
Upper Valley people chose to have a land trust and then they made it grow and thrive. I came home in 1987 to re-find a story I knew in my heart and now see unfolding in the landscape around me.

I truly look forward to seeing you on January 15 and working with you in the months and years ahead.

Best, Jeanie