2023, A Year of Transition!

As the new year starts, we reflect back on 2023, it was a year of growth, a year of transition, and a year of new beginnings.
In 2023, we saw the retirement of Tracey Koenig the executive director with 25 years of service at Heckrodt.  We hired a new executive director Luke Schiller and a new naturalist educator Maddie Jenks.  The Heckrodt team also took a day to give back to our community at the Rock the Block in the Doty Island area.

The education team had a remarkable year of offering hands-on, outdoor-based learning experiences to the community.  They taught over 5,912 participants in school and childcare field trips and 4,213 public program participants in 2023. We expanded the Heckrodt Book Club which is designed to connect nature and literacy. The Heckrodt Book Club hosted seasonal public programs with the families receiving a free book. We gave out 750 books to families that attended these programs.

The site team did a remarkable job finishing new projects around the Reserve such as the pergola on the memorial brick patio and Tracey’s legacy project boardwalk and bird blind. Come out for a hike and stop by each these new project sites.

The habitat team was also remarkably busy and planted approximately 200 native trees and 1000 native wildflowers and grasses. They also removed over 900 lbs. of the invasive plants including garlic mustard and dames rocket, as well as managing over 2 acres of buckthorn. Heckrodt also had a prescribed burn in April as part of the prairie habitat management plan.

We could not have done all this without our amazing volunteers who helped serve at the Reserve. In 2023, we had a total of 1097 volunteers who gave 4194 hours of their time and talents. Volunteers play a crucial role at Heckrodt. We have volunteers who come weekly, just for events, or come as a large group to do a huge task. Every volunteer is appreciated, and they make an enormous difference at the Reserve.

We are looking forward to new adventures in the new year.  We hope to see you on the trail in 2024.