On December 14, about 20 people braved cold, gusty winds, intermittent snow showers and ice slick roads at Put-in-Bay to attend the Annual Meeting of the General Membership of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy at the South Bass Island Lighthouse, graciously provided by the Stone Lab of The Ohio State University.

The General Meeting highlighted the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy. When the first meeting of the LEIC was held in 2000, five members made up the Board of Directors: Lisa Brohl, Lianne Genzman, Claudette Moore, John Ladd, and Carol Richardson. Kelly Faris served as the Secretary/Treasurer. Lisa Brohl, chair, of the LEIC Black Swamp Conservancy reviewed the highlights of the year: the dedication in April of the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail Addition, the dedication of the Middle Bass Island East Point Preserve in October, and the formal transfer of the Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to Put-in-Bay Township Park District.

Lisa stressed the accomplishments of the Lake Erie Islands Black Swamp Conservancy over the last ten years which included a host of programs from the Elderhostel groups to the annual Nature Camp which has reached well over 1000 youngsters who participated in environmental education programs. The LEIC Black Swamp Conservancy has also been involved in establishing a Nature Camp at Middle Bass Island, participating in the annual Arbor Day and Earth Day Celebrations, and launching other educational programs such as “Wild Tuesdays” at the Nature Center and “Days of Discovery” for adults and youngsters at Put-in-Bay.

The LEIC was instrumental in the purchasing and creation of the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center which functions under the auspices of the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society. The LEINWC is in the process of becoming its own independent, non-profit organization. At the General Meeting, the members formalized their involvement with the Put-in-Bay Township Park District by accepting the position of Advisory Council to the Park District. Lisa thanked the members for their hard work and dedication and hours of volunteer efforts on behalf of the LEIC Black Swamp Conservancy. Lisa also mentioned some of the numerous organizations with whom the LEIC has worked: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the Trust for Public Land, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Put-in-Bay Township Park District, Put-in-Bay School Recreation Committee, the Middle Bass School Board, the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society, the Village of Put-in-Bay Tree Commission, The Ohio State University, and the Black Swamp Conservancy.

Today nearly 200 people make up the membership of the LEIC Black Swamp Conservancy Members approved by popular acclamation Lianne Genzman, John Ladd, Valerie Mettler, and Bob Russell to two-year terms as members of the Lake Erie Chapter Board of Directors. Lisa Brohl, Kristin Stanford, Susan Byrnes, Peggy Leopold, Marsha Collett, and Matt Thomas are the other members of the ten-member Board. Kelly Faris is the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization. John Dodge, Richard Gump, and Carol Richardson comprise the advisory council to the organization. Members gave themselves a round of applause and toasted ten successful years with champagne provided by Marsha Collett.

The group looked forward to more successful years in carrying out its mission: “…to encourage conservation and protection of natural and agricultural lands in the Lake Erie islands for the benefit of future generations.” After the formal business of the meeting was completed, the attendees enjoyed a prime rib dinner prepared by Russ Brohl and member chefs and quenched their thirst with a keg of Great Lakes Christmas Ale.