The clock strikes midnight. Glasses clink, fireworks light the sky, lovers lean in for a kiss – and a new yearunfolds, withall its endless possibility. For me, like many, this isa time to start fresh and set mysights on new goals; an occasion to appreciate the distance I’vecome and to chart the pathahead.

As the Executive Director of Eastern Sierra Land Trust, I know in my heart that you – ESLTmembers and partners, volunteersand friends- are family. You are ourESLT Family:related not by blood, but by our shared love of this land. And with the arrival of the New Year, ourESLT Family hasa little something extra to celebrate: 2016 marks the beginning ofour 15th year of land conservation.

McAfee II SIWe’ve come a long way since 2001, and have so much to be proud of and thankfulfor when welook back at the remarkable progress we’ve made together.As a supporter of ESLT, you’ve helpedsafeguardover 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat, working ranchland, and beloved mountainscapes from the threat of poorly-planned development. You’ve preserveda critical migration corridor thatallows wildlife to pass more safely as they travelbetweenthe valleyandthe high meadows each year. You’ve built havens for our buzzing pollinators to keep the Eastside in bloom for many years to come. You’vesupportedsmall family farms and ranches that embody a way of life that has persisted since the Gold Rush days, and havehelped find a balance that allows our protected working lands to continue to benefit our local economy AND providea safe home for rare wildlife. You’ve inspired young boys and girls to put binoculars to their eyes, get dirt under their fingernails, and discover the wonders of this magical land. Every one of these is a conservationvictory, and all were made possible because of you.

ESLT's staff, from left: Sara Kokkelenberg, Kay Ogden, Mini Mantzouranis, Sus Danner, Catherine Tao (not pictured: Marguerite Merritt)

ESLT’s staff, from left: Sara Kokkelenberg, Kay Ogden, Mini Mantzouranis, Sus Danner, Catherine Tao (not pictured: Marguerite Merritt)

Looking ahead, 2016 will be a year to appreciate these successes – and hopefully celebrate a few new ones! We have severalmajor conservationprojects in motion, and arebetterpositioned than ever before to take advantage of new land protection opportunities when the time is right. We’ll be hosting anniversary events to commemorate our accomplishments of years past (and those still to come), spearheading new community projects, and getting out on the land with every chance we get. And we hope you’ll be with us every step of the way.

Thank you for being a part of our ESLT Family, and for helping to protect the Eastern Sierra’swild and working lands forever. We wish you and your loved ones a healthy and joyous 2016!

Happy Trails,

Kay Ogden

Executive Director, ESLT