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Board Spotlight – Karen Reinbold

Posted on March 19, 2021 by
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Helping Others Make a Difference.

I grew up on the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York, surrounded by beautiful wetlands. I still have memories of the bullrushes swaying in the ocean breeze on warm summer evenings. My family never took the area wetlands for granted, though; I knew how fragile they were even as a young child. My mother fought hard to protect a creek that ran behind our house by forming an association to fight against development that would have destroyed its wetlands. We won, and the land is still there.

In 2015, when a friend of mine told me about Freshwater Future, I had already been living along Lake Michigan for almost 15 years. While I hadn’t been part of the Great Lakes environmental community before, I was immediately drawn to the mission of protecting these important resources.

I was able to apply my non-profit accounting and management skills to help Freshwater Future improve its financial management practices. As I learned more about the organization, I realized we shared a passion – helping others expand their impact. That’s what Freshwater Future does.

When I hear about the local groups that Freshwater Future has supported, I think about how important that work is – helping people who are trying to make a difference but may not have the skills or resources to do it. It helps people like my mom and so many other grassroots groups realize their conservation goals.

Recently, my community faced a similar threat to local wetlands; one that still hangs in the balance. I’m proud to say my family fought to protect the land – starting a petition, providing testimony, making signs and protesting. As inspiration, I drew on the work my mom did and the work Freshwater Future and its partner organizations do every day.

Many of us take water for granted. We have that luxury because of groups like Freshwater Future that are fighting on our behalf to keep water clean and accessible to all.

As I approach the end of my term on the board this spring, I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know the board and staff, and how much they’ve taught me over the past 6 years. Thank you to all of you.

Karen Reinbold is the Health and Science Director at American Medical Association and lives and works in the Chicago area.

@FreshwaterFutur

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.