From the Center

The shock of crimson from a red maple growing at the edge of a wetland, the spying of a kettle of broadwings flying south, the evocative sound of a katydid suggesting that a return to school is imminent all reinforce the fact that the times are indeed changing.

Here at Northern Woodlands, autumn triggers several important organizational transitions. Our fiscal year ends on September 30, so each fall we close one set of books and start fresh with a new budget and new staffing, marketing, and work plans. Last year, 70 percent of our readers faithfully renewed their subscriptions, and a good percentage of those renewed for more than one year. Going forward, we’ll try to increase the ranks of the faithful. We’re also trying to attract new readers, and we ask that you consider giving subscriptions as gifts, especially during the holidays. You can also let us know about a store in your neighborhood that sells periodicals but doesn’t sell Northern Woodlands. Increasing our visibility is important for our business model and to our mission of advancing stewardship.

There are several other important transitions to note this fall, as four board members bring their official service to a close. Jim Hourdequin, Mark Rivers, and Charlie Thompson joined the board in 2003 just as the organization was completing the critical transition to a not-for-profit. During their eight years on the board, Northern Woodlands weathered some challenging financial times as it strove to build its identity and footprint as a regional publication. These men opened doors to funders and lent a hand in securing the organization’s foundation during this critical period. Darby Bradley, who joined the board in 2008, is also retiring after three years of exemplary service, especially in guiding the executive succession process. At the annual meeting of the board of directors in October we will elect new board members.

We enter this fall with other substantive changes in the personnel column. The executive succession process comes to an end with co-founder Steve Long’s formal departure from the organization. Long-time associate editor Chuck Wooster, who has played several important roles during his tenure, leaves to devote more time to the demands of his growing community-supported-agriculture farm operation. And just about the time this issue of the magazine hits mailboxes, a new editorial assistant should be boning up on the Chicago Manual of Style as he or she settles into a new job.

A sincere and hearty thank you to Jim, Mark, Charlie, Darby, Steve, and Chuck for their remarkable service, both in front of and behind the curtains.


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