Message from Our President/CEO

I can always tell when I haven’t been outside enough. I get a little stiffer; a little crankier; a little angsty. Then I have the chance to step outside and feel the sun and hear the birds and my mood changes dramatically. 

This happened to me this past summer. Long hours working on HeartLands’ many grant applications, project deliverables, financial reports, and communications had put me in quite the mood. We were also short-staffed; so, on top of everything, I had to help out with a Full Moon Hike at Bohm Woods Nature Preserve in Edwardsville. 

I am so glad that I did. 

As Land Conservation Manager, Eric, and I got things set up on-site that steamy August night, 40 enthusiastic hikers showed up. They excitedly put on the glow necklaces and chatted with each other. Then we hiked. 

As we made it up the hill to the adjoining Drda Woods, the full moon began to emerge over the tree line. As we gathered and watch the moon rise, a great blue heron flew over us so low that we could feel the wind from its flapping wings. A cecropia moth fluttered around the prairie, very confused by our flashlights. 

Making our way back, and up the final hill of Bohm Woods, the full moon was framed perfectly in the trees, congratulating us on making the journey and taking time out to be in this beautiful place. My angst, crank, and stiffness were nowhere to be found now. I left that evening with an almost euphoric feeling. Complete joy is what I and the other 40 people experienced that night. 

Sometimes we forget to go outside, but we need it for our well-being! And so, HeartLands Conservancy continues to offer opportunities (and excuses) to get outdoors and rid yourself of your pent-up crankiness. For example, the Jingle Hike Challenge is back for its 7th year – a perfect excuse to visit local parks and find some happiness in nature. 

As always, I hope to see you outside…

Mary Vandevord

President & CEO