Clear skies and the 80-degree temperatures of a perfect summer afternoon didn’t keep more than 100 people from turning out for the GLA Annual meeting this August. The commitment of this organization’s members has not waivered for more than 75 years now.

Meeting participants were treated to two special videos; the first highlighting the history of the GLA, current programs and a vision for its future, (watch it here); and the second congratulatory messages from longtime community partners in watershed protection (see who they are). Additional acknowledgements from Senators Stabenow and Peters and State Senator VanderWall, State Representative O’Malley, Lt. Governor Gilchrist and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were also shared, thanking the GLA for 75 years of service to Leelanau County.

Another historic milestone recognized during the meeting and acknowledged by elected officials was 40 years of service by Watershed Scientist, Rob Karner. Since 1979 Rob has built an outstanding curriculum vitae of science-based initiatives that have vaulted the association to recognition as one of the premier lake organizations in the Midwest … and one closely followed and often imitated by groups countrywide.

The many contributions of tireless volunteers and generous donors were also acknowledged including special thanks to the Greg and Sue Besio family. Their $100,000 gift to the popular Discovery Boat Program will help ensure this popular educational program created by Rob Karner will continue into the future. The Discovery Boat Cruises virtual or live are one of the best opportunities for the GLA to educate and share critical preservation information. They are just one more example of Rob’s relentless desire to share his knowledge with so many.

The State of the Watershed address by Rob Karner was comprehensive as always and generated great questions. A few highlights include the Watershed Protection Plan Update, a proposed Watershed Protection Overlay District and Swimmer’s Itch prevention. Slides from Rob’s presentation can be viewed here; video coming soon!

The business portion of the meeting included a solid finance report from outgoing treasurer David Herr (read it here). All three outgoing board members, Dale DeJager, Bill Witler and David Herr were thanked for the donation of their time for their wise counsel during their time on the board. Numbers from elections included 178 votes cast online and 15 proxy votes received resulting in election of all three highly qualified board candidates. Dave Cheney, Kris Fishman and Jennifer St Julian were welcomed onboard.

A message of thanks was delivered to outgoing president Dave Hayes, the GLA “won the trifecta” under his leadership by completing the first ever GLA Strategic Plan, implementing a new communication software, and adapting staff roles to better poise the GLA to meet the organizational and educational challenges ahead. A final message of gratitude for all our volunteers and encouragement to get involved was shared by Dave. Check out the full recording here.