Community-driven fundraising campaign launches for Huron Pines

Courtesy Photo Students of Alcona Community School install a rain garden at Harrisville Harbor in May. The project was supported in part by the Lake Huron Forever initiative, facilitated locally by Huron Pines.

ALPENA — Huron Pines launched a $1 million ‘community-driven conservation’ fundraising campaign to assist projects meant to help local ecosystems in public parks, water systems, and more.

The nonprofit organization celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 12 and publicly started the campaign, saying that Huron Pines plans to focus on engaged community projects for the future.

Heather Huffstutler, development director of Huron Pines, said the focus on community projects is the organization’s vision forward for as long as it sees fit and hopes that local residents get involved.

“We’ll be working with engineers, but we’re really looking into what’s the best way to strongly impact the environment in a positive manner and what’s best for the communities,” Huffstutler said. “It’s important that whatever we do — if it’s a timber bridge or habitat restoration project — that we make sure to talk with the community and understand how the projects will impact them.”

The fundraiser quietly started eight months ago and publicly launched on Sept. 12. According to Huffstutler, the organization has raised about $600,000 of the $1 million, meaning there is $400,000 left to fundraise. She said cash or digital donations are accepted for the campaign.

Huffstutler mentioned that five local governments in Alpena, Rogers City, and other northeast Michigan locations have joined the Lake Huron Forever initiative, which pledges the governments to reduce polluted stormwater runoff going into the Great Lake.

In a press release from Huron Pines, they hope to work with community leaders and stakeholders in an effort to “promote water quality, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities in the communities they serve.”

“To truly succeed in conserving our natural resources, we need to nurture connections between community, economy, culture and the environment,” Executive Director Brad Jensen said in the press release. “Through our work over the last 50 years, we’ve built a framework that empowers local communities with people at the root to lead conservation efforts. When change is initiated at the ground level by those most closely linked to an area, positive lasting change is possible.”

Donations to the Community-Driven Conservation fundraiser are tax-deductible and can be made at huronpines.org/donate.


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