Witness: Tom Nelson

A lawyer and a long-time conservationist, Tom Nelson is the Executive Director of the Leelanau Conservancy, headquartered in Leland, Michigan. Tom moved to the area over 15 years ago and served as the Conservancy’s director of farm programs for many years. He accepted the leadership role in January, 2015.

Recently, we met up with Tom at the Leelanau Conservancy’s 707-acre Palmer Woods Forest Reserve to talk over plans for this important new acquisition. During our conversation, we asked if he had noticed any changes in the natural resources of our region over the time he’s been here. Tom said that he has noted a significant increase in climate variability; and that variability is making farming more unpredictable and less financially stable.

In this short video, Tom explains how a changing climate is impacting Leelanau’s farmers and forestland owners. He explains how weather volatility may threaten the Leelanau’s working  farms and forests, its rural heritage and the natural and pastoral landscapes we all love.

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