- December 22, 1956 – George B. Fell (Executive Director – Washington, DC) to Board of Governors and Friends of the Nature Conservancy –
There are so many interesting recent developments that I thought you would like to have a year-end report on them.
Most gratifying is word that on December 13 Mr. John S. Apperson executed the deed conveying Dome Island to the Nature Conservancy. Mr. Apperson deserves an immense amount of credit for all he has done for the preservation of Dome Island and the other features of Lake George – not only through his gift, but with a lifetime of work. Similarly Dr. Irving Langmuir, Mr. Philip W. Ham, Mr. Whitney, Dr. Rienow, and others are to be commended for their untiring efforts. A formal acceptance of Dome Island by the Conservancy will take place at a meeting of the Eastern New York Chapter on January 27. Should you wish to write Mr. Apperson, his address is Mohawk Club, Schenectady, New York.
Another important development concerns the acquisition of purchase rights to Beckley Bog in Connecticut. Drs. Goodwin and Niering completed negotiations with the owner on December . Of the #21.000 needed for the purchase, about $4,000 has already been raised by the Connecticut Natural Areas Committee.
The campaign for funds from Tannersville Bog in Pennsylvania has reached a successful conclusion, with $2,415.50 raised. It is expected that acquisition of this tract will be completed soon.
Woodbourne Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary, given to the Conservancy by Mr. Francis R. Cope, Jr., Dimock, Pa., now has an active local management committee. The organizing meeting for the Committee was held on September 29 at Mr. Cope’s house. Governors Palmer, Pough, Rienow, and Whitney were present, as well as Bill Drake and myself.
The Quaker Lane tract, near Pawling, New York, was visited by Dr. Rienow, Mr. Whitney, Mr. Drake and myself, on October 8. At the November 19 meeting, the Executive Committee approved proceeding with negotiations looking toward donation of the tract to the Conservancy. Since then Mr. R. M. Gunnison, leader of the group that owns the area, has begin necessary arrangements.
The Angelo tract in Mendocino County, California, has been the object of a considerable amount of our attention. On September 17, I flew to California and Bill Drake and I spent 4 days at the Angelo’s. They are delightful people and have been doing a wonderful job of preserving their 3,000 acres of forest in the fact of considerable difficulties. Bill Drake visited them again on November 3 and 4. I believe you received a brief report from his shortly after that. At the November 19 meeting, the Executive Committee approved further explorations regarding the possibility of Nature Conservancy participation in this project.
(Incidentally, the flight from coast to coast on a clear day is a truly stupendous and breath-taking experience. It is worth the $176 round trip tourist rate just for the view! Looking down, I felt as though the earth had turned into a vast relief model of geological forms.)
Besides visiting the Angelos, I had the good fortune of spending an hour with Mr. Goethe and also of visiting with former governors Newcombe and Leopold, and a number of other people in the Bay area.
New chapters were organized this fall in Maine and Missouri and were chartered by the Executive Committee at the November 19 meeting. Both groups give promise of wonderful future development. The Missouri Chapter, showing the results of groundwork by Drs. Schery, Steyermark, and others, is making a particularly spectacular start. The Massachusetts Nature Conservancy group under chairmanship of John Brainerd held a meeting on October 6 which Bill Drake and I attended. The Long Island Chapter held it annual meeting on November 16 with Dick Goodwin and myself present.
Minutes of the November 19 meeting of the Executive Committee are temporarily held up pending clarification of a technicality, but you should be getting a copy soon. Fifteen governors were present at the meeting, more than at any other in the history if the organization, and a great deal was accomplished despite limited time.
Our new Investment Committee met on December 10 at the home of the chairman, Rear Admiral Neill Phillips, USN (Ret.), here in Washington. In addition to Admiral Phillips, Mssrs. Gravatt, Hamershlag, Arnold and I were present. Minutes of this meeting will be sent to you shortly so I won’t go into details now except to say that many aspects of investment management were taken care of and the Committee decided to engage E. W. Axe and Co. as investment counsel to manage the endowment funds. Current fund investments are to be handled directly by the Committee.
President Goodwin has been devoting much effort to activities and travels in behalf of the Conservancy, as indicated by the communications you have received from him. He is now undertaking the preparation of material for a special issue of Nature Conservancy News, reviewing all the natural area projects to which we have given a significant amount of attention.
Bill Davis, as mentioned in the last newsletter, is now our official Western representative. Bill is rapidly building up an impressive array of evidence of his ability to get results and I am confident we will be seeing some real accomplishments in the western region before long. Following approval by the Executive Committee of establishment of a Western Advisory Board, President Goodwin has asked Drs. Leopold, Linsdale, Macnab, Fautin, and Mason, and Mssrs. Goethe and Munns, to serve. The Board should hold an organizing meeting in the near future.
Bruce Kilgore, our other new employee, just started to work this week at the central office. To start with, he will be concentrating his efforts on the pubic relations aspects of our work. His undergraduate training was in wildlife conservation under Dr. Leopold at the University of California. He then went to the University of Oklahoma where he received a master’s degree in conservation public relations. During the two years since that time he has been in the Army.
There are several bits of news of special interest from outside our organization. The National Park Service has received from an undisclosed donor a grant of $70,000 to conduct a shoreline survey of the great Lakes and another grant of $40,000 to make a similar survey of the West Coast. These will be completed by the National Park Service and made possible by a grant from Old Dominion Foundation.
The “Mission 66” program of the National Park Service has been an outstanding success from the standpoint of gaining increased appropriations with which to put the parks in respectable condition. As a result, similar efforts are brewing in other agencies. The Fish and Wildlife Service is coming out with a proposal for a ten year expanded program including a great increase in acquisition of wetlands. There are lots of other items of interest concerning the federal agencies and perhaps we can write you a special letter on them before long.
Before closing, I should mention some of the fine gifts that have been coming in lately. Dr. Chapman has just sent us a contribution of $1,380, to be used partly for general purposes and partly for special purposes. This is the 5th year he has made such a gift to the Conservancy. Mrs. Anna Butler has presented the Conservancy with a contribution of $5,500 for the A. W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary.
This just about winds things up for the year, except for the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to be held in New York City on December 17-19. A number of Conservancy people will be there and we should have a chance for some good discussions.
Best wished to you for the holiday season!
George B. Fell
I thought it might be an inspiration to you, as it was to me, to read the following note which accompanied a recent letter from Dr. Whitney: