By Penny Black
Bonnie joined the Board of Directors for Capitol Land Trust (CLT) in 2010, and served as its President during a period of major growth and change, from 2012-2016.
Prior to joining the Board, Bonnie was a member of CLT for several years while working as Executive Director for Policy and Administration for the Department of Natural Resources where she was responsible for the Department’s Natural Areas, Recreation and Land Transaction Programs, among other duties. It was through the work of the Department to conserve places like Woodard Bay and Mima Mounds, and Bonnie’s connection with Pene Speaks, former Board President, that brought her to the Board of Capitol Land Trust.
When Bonnie retired, she was motivated to continue her work in land conservation, in particular with Capitol Land Trust because of its past success and reputation as a collaborative and skillful organization, working in the South Sound area, where Bonnie has lived for over 30 years.
Bonnie is proud of her part in helping CLT as it has grown and developed a new strategic direction, one that sets a course for the next five years within the context of a 100 year vision. She also notes the importance of achieving accreditation during her watch. The accreditation process helped CLT clarify its objectives, and among other things, develop a means to ensure the long-term stewardship of our protected lands.
During a period of staff leadership change, Bonnie was instrumental in guiding the transition to the second Executive Director in CLT’s history, and developing a new strategic plan to set the course for CLT’s future. Among Bonnie’s chief goals was improving access to CLT preserves, part of an overall strategy to connect people to the lands they helped to protect. This will also help develop the next generation of conservation leaders through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning outdoors on our most resilient protected lands.
Over the next 5 years, CLT will build trails on several preserves, and hundreds of middle school kids will have the opportunity to learn science, social studies and math, while collecting the data needed to assess the effectiveness of CLT’s restoration efforts.
Bonnie has thoroughly enjoyed her time on the Board for CLT, and praises both the Board and staff for their energy, skill and dedication to the work of CLT, in conjunction with many partners, and differing interests. When asked what directions she would emphasize for the future, Bonnie said that it is important to look at the broader geographic area in concert with other conservation groups and interests, so that the work we do separately but collectively for southwest Washington can connect in a way to provide corridors and habitat sufficient to maintain the abundance and diversity of its fish, wildlife, water and land systems.
Committed to supporting the efforts of CLT into the future, Bonnie may be doing this at a bit of a distance. She and her husband built their dream house on their San Juan Island property and hope to soon be living there full time.