by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager
This marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the partnership between Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary and Natural Lands Trust. In 1992 the two boards signed a management contract that detailed the working relationship between the two organizations. Natural Lands Trust would take on the day to day management of the property. Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary would remain its own entity and would fund operations. The partnership provided a small organization, like Mariton, a network for managing staff insurance and benefits, as well as resources for large physical projects.
I was hired on April 6, 1992, twenty-five years ago today. I started work on the property two weeks later. Over the years I have had a good working relationship with Mariton’s Trustees while remaining an NLT employee. This could be a tricky line to walk, but it never was for me because there was always a great staff at NLT, and a great group of Trustees at Mariton. I have managed to keep the budget within Mariton’s means, which continues to be a challenge. Over 25 years, I’ve witnessed changes in the forest that precipitated changes in the animals that call Mariton their home. I’ve learned a lot about resource management from seeing what worked and what didn’t over the course of decades. And I have really enjoyed the Friends of Mariton, and the educational programs that I started here .
After 25 years, I realize that this partnership has been a great benefit to both organizations, and I feel honored to have played a role. I doubt I’ll work at Mariton for another 25 years, but I am excited about the future.