This Land Is Your Land; This Land Is My Land


Friends of Panthertown joins forces with local and national organizations to conserve and protect Panthertown Valley


It’s the kind of feedback that led Friends of Panthertown to shift from a membership-oriented funding strategy to a stewardship-oriented one. Because Friends isn’t an arts-oriented nonprofit, says Carton, it can’t offer comparable membership benefits. “We can’t offer you special parking in the parking lot, or a discount on a performance,” she explains.

Besides, volunteers are equally important. So, Carton says, shifting focus to natural resources stewardship is a more inclusive way of allowing residents and visitors alike “to be a friend of Panthertown in whatever way that means for you.”

“For some people, it’s being a volunteer on the trails,” she continues. “For some people, it’s writing a check once, and for others, it’s writing a check every year. Everybody is a friend, whether you give us money or you put on a hard hat and do chainsaw work for us.”

This strategy also supports Friends of Panthertown’s efforts to diversify and include underserved, underrepresented populations. Groups like the local Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as educational institutions, work with the Friends to deliver outdoor education.

The stewardship fund further offers more flexibility to the organization’s maintenance and public education work. Rather than process membership renewals at the end of each year, says Kimenker, the annual fund will allow for funds to be available sooner—in spring and summer, just as the valley’s busy season begins.

Read more at Plateau Magazine

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