What is public land worth to you?
Lately at BHA, we’ve been thinking about aspens – in particular, their remarkable ability to grow, survive, reproduce and thrive throughout long lives buffeted by challenges over which they have no control: drought, fire, disease and development.
Aspens can reproduce in the same way so many trees do – with blossoms, seeds and help from many other players: the pollinators necessary for reproduction, birds and other animals that depend upon and disperse the seeds, wind and rain and, of course, some luck.
But what makes the aspen particularly successful is that it has another very effective way to multiply. The aspen also reproduces from within by sending up shoots directly from its own roots, allowing it to colonize large swaths of land from one shared system.
The aspen’s strategy utilizes both community and self-reliance. It is a diversified strategy for sustainable growth. And it works. There’s a reason that one of the largest single organisms on Earth isn’t a single towering sequoia but an aspen. In Fishlake National Forest, Utah, a 107-acre grove, affectionately called Pando – numbering approximately 47,000 visible trees – came from just one seed.
Why is the aspen so successful? It’s because the aspen is a tree that’s not taking any chances.
We can learn a lot from trees.
Just like the aspen constantly battles to survive and grow in the face of unpredictable events, our work to conserve public lands and waters and fish and wildlife – to sustain and expand public access opportunities and to uphold our fair chase hunting and fishing traditions – is a challenge that never ends. The details of those challenges may change, but so do we: growing, adapting and getting stronger so we can carry on the legacy that was gifted to us.
That is why BHA is launching a bold new campaign called Project Aspen.
It’s our own diversified strategy, one that will ensure that no matter what the world throws at us, we can and will grow, thrive and expand from within.
The goal of Project Aspen is to raise $1 million dollars in support of our work to conserve our public lands, waters and wildlife. It’s a big challenge, but the payoff will be immeasurable. Every dollar raised will be used to create an investment portfolio that includes an endowment and board discretionary fund. The initial investment of $1 million, combined with newly established perpetual deposits for growth, will be a key resource that will allow us to take advantage of opportunities and weather the storm in years like the past one…all while sustaining the work already being done by our amazing, boots-on-the-ground members.
As various funding streams fluctuate, this expanded investment fund and endowment will allow for continual support and growth of our chapters – and increased opportunities for work on behalf of BHA’s most important resource and source of power: our incredible volunteer member leaders and membership base. Project Aspen aims to make sure that BHA’s leaders and members have the resources you need to do your work advocating and acting for wild public lands, waters and wildlife for generations to come. We all saw just how disruptive an unexpected emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic can be. Thanks to some deft footwork, BHA survived in good shape.
When we began voicing our intentions to broaden and diversify our funding, support came quickly. We are proud to announce that we’ve received a matching fund grant of $350,000 to seed Project Aspen. For this we are humbled and grateful.
Now the hard work of Project Aspen begins.
This is a matching-funds grant. Simply put, we have 18 months to match those funds with our own fundraising efforts or we do not receive the money. We are asking you to join us to make certain we do.
As BHA members, we’ve all proven we have something to give to our wild public lands, waters and wildlife: Time. Treasure. Talent. We already have what we need to get this job done. If you can give cash or investment donations now
or can plan to give over the next 12 months, thank you! If you know fellow lovers of the outdoors who have the resources to give, let us ask them together for their financial support. If you have the time to devote to hosting events, let us work together to earn donations. These individual actions add up quickly, but it’s going to take all of us to get the job done.
Join BHA and our North American board in making this investment today. We share the land, and we share the responsibility for its future stewardship.
Header image courtesy of Lee Kjos.