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In Your Words: Member Survey Highlights

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To help Kestrel better serve our members, we invited you to give us your feedback through a comprehensive survey in June. We were thrilled that 500 people responded, and we greatly appreciate the thoughtful feedback we received.

Here’s a snapshot of what we learned:

Protecting habitat for wildlife is why most respondents appreciate conservation land. A close second was the recreational opportunities that conserved land provides, followed by the value of the Valley’s rural heritage and scenic beauty. Many respondents mentioned that the land provides a mental or spiritual refuge. One individual said, “Preserved land provides a peaceful place to recover from the hustle and bustle of life,” and another said, “Conservation areas revitalize the soul.”

Female moose with feeding with her calfMany respondents have a favorite local nature area or trail (either within or beyond Kestrel’s service area) with proximity to home being what they particularly like about it. Some respondents have a favorite local farm that they support as well.

While many people didn’t recall how they first learned about Kestrel, those who did pointed to Kestrel signs at conservation areas, while others noted that Kestrel helped conserve land that’s near and dear to them. The sharing of event postings, trail maps, videos, and appeals are ways that respondents have come to know about Kestrel or have helped us become known to others.

Most describe their connection with Kestrel as being based on their environmental/conservation-minded perspective. More than half of respondents have attended a Kestrel event and many of those enjoyed the 5K for Farmland (1998-2018), as well as our guided walks and annual community picnic.

More than half of respondents are current members, having given a gift of any amount within the past year. Most Kestrel members made their first gift in the past decade and continue to give annually. We appreciate your steadfast support!

The primary motivators for donating to Kestrel are:

  • protecting forests for wildlife, clean air, and pure water
  • conserving land for scenic beauty
  • creating public recreation areas/trails
  • conserving land to mitigate climate change

Three kids in woods close upIn addition to supporting land conservation in the Pioneer Valley, what the majority of respondents most value about Kestrel membership is being part of a community of land conservation supporters where they live. Nearly half also said they appreciate being part of the national land trust movement.

Of the respondents who shared their personal backgrounds, many noted that they came to the Pioneer Valley as an intentional choice for quality of life and another significant portion have lived here most of their lives. A majority of those who completed the survey live within Hampshire County, and are 41 or older, retired, white, and female. In addition to the environment, many other causes are important to the respondents, with racial justice and food security at the top of the list, followed by education, economic justice, the arts, and LGBTQ rights and gender equity, among many others.

Preserved land provides a peaceful place to recover from the hustle and bustle of life.”

In response to what Kestrel Land Trust could do to better support its members, most respondents simply said “Keep up the good work!” One respondent suggested that members “Ask not what your land trust can do for you, ask what you can do for your land trust!” We are so pleased to hear these supportive words.

Of course, there is plenty of room for improvement as well. In response to the feedback we received in this survey, Kestrel plans to:

  • create a “Need help?” tool to assist in answering any questions or concerns regarding membership,
  • evaluate and improve our programming, communications, and policies to increase diversity and inclusion with a particular focus on people of color and younger generations, and
  • seek opportunities to conserve land that provides “nature close to home” so that more communities have public access to a conservation area in their neighborhoods.

We always welcome comments and input from our members, so please feel free to contact us here if you have thoughts to share. Thank you for your feedback and support as we conserve the Valley you love.

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