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In Her Words
Mom's retirement from The Nature Conservancy in 2012
It is the intermediate phase of the waxing gibbous. Gibbous is the name of a shape larger than a semi-circle. Our view of the moons reflected light is growing. We are making our way to a full view of the light side of the moon on Monday 1/17/22. During the mid-primary-phase posts, I am sticking to photos or my mom’s own writing. I am using the moon calendar because it allows me to be out of sync with the solar world. It gives me a container, but a looser, more forgiving one. That’s what we are looking for here, consistency and experimentation. One of my experimentations this week has been reaching out and sharing my first post, “January 2/New Moon of 2022,” with people. If you are new to Substack, and new to this newsletter, welcome! I have posted a couple times since that first post. Substack Newsletters exist like a blog, so it is easy to go back and check the posts you may have missed. Please reach out with questions, stories of your own, or if you have concerns about the way I am doing this. Your participation in the process is much appreciated.
Below is a photo that Mom shared with my sister Becka around the time of her retirement in 2012.
At the end of the family Christmas gathering in Willets of 2010, Becka and I pulled her aside to tell her about our concerns. We had noticed that she had trouble tracking the details of the house rental and coordinating the family travel plans. She had been repeating herself and we were worried about her. It was a difficult conversation to start, but her relief made it immediately worth it. She cried and hugged us, and shared how hard the travel for work had gotten, waking always in a generic hotel and first thing unable to identify which city she was in. Thus the year of searching for answers began. Becka and I also felt such relief and gratitude and hope after the conversation. I will save the story of that year for a different post. This post is for her voice.
It was a year later when she announced her retirement in this letter to the whole staff at the Nature Conservancy. I include it below, followed by the invite to her retirement party, that she sent to her mom, her brother, her friends, her daughters and her nieces.
Thursday, January 05, 2012 10:13 AM
Subject: 30 Years for Conservation: Thank you for the Memories!
Dear friends and colleagues,
I am writing to let you know that I am retiring from the Conservancy after a total of more than 30 years of commitment. My work started in my home state of Minnesota, continued at the Arlington office, and eventually moved to California, working at the state, local, national and sometimes even at the international level. As I reflect back over the years, I realize how fortunate I have been to work with some of the most dedicated, smart and amazing people, not just in the conservation community, but in public life in this country and beyond. As my co-workers, colleagues and friends, you have enriched my life more than I can express, and I will miss you all dearly. We have accomplished a great deal together, and I know more successes are in your future.
After working to represent the Minnesota Chapter of the Conservancy at the legislature for several years in support of funding for the Natural Heritage Program and land conservation, I was privileged to bring that experience and passion to other states and beyond. I had known how to pass bills in Minnesota, but when I was able to share that experience with Kent Wommack, then the assistant state director of the Maine program, and to see it work with almost the same success in another state, a program was born. The Conservancy was willing to invest in an innovative strategy, using the powers of public opinion research, strategic design of measures and messages, and targeted communication campaigns. Now the Conservation Campaigns program, collaborating with Chapters and partners, has leveraged billions of new conservation dollars at the state and local level to protect some of the most significant and beautiful places in North America. Voters have proven their support for conservation funding by approving more than $47 BILLION in state and local conservation funds. I am extremely proud of our almost 92 percent winning ratio, winning 173 out 198 measures at the ballot box!
I’ve had a front seat to the evolution of this great organization, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to where we are today. These campaigns showed us that, despite conservation being a second, and at times, a third tier issue, directly connecting with people’s intrinsic values means that they will do the right thing.
While working to protect our natural world, I also took very seriously my role as a mentor and cultivator of talented staff. With that in mind, I am pleased to leave behind a politically savvy and hardworking team who will no doubt continue to thrive and make conservation funding a reality in the future as well.
In addition to advancing the work of my past and present teams and the advocacy programs of the Conservancy, I have always tried to be a loud voice for strengthening the role of women in the Conservancy, from the days when I was one of only two women on the senior manager’s team. I am so pleased and heartened to witness Karen Poiani’s leadership and the establishment of the Women’s Network.
My decision to retire became effective December 31, 2011 and I look forward to the new experiences that the New Year will bring. While it is my intent to focus my time and energy on my family and community, the Conservancy has graciously agreed to maintain my presence on TNC communications, and I will retain my email address for the time being. (…)
I hope to stay engaged with you and partners in a volunteer capacity, and I would love to hear from you if you see an occasion when consultation and advice from me might be of help.
I will carry within my heart all the rich, personal experiences and relationships, our laughter, our good and bad times—the good news and victories especially, and it was way more good than bad. It has truly been an honor to work with all of you.
With warmest regards,
And here is the invite to her retirement party:
FW: A Celebration - Honoring Carol Baudler on May 3rd, Arlington, VA
Dearest family and friends,
I am sending you this invitation in case you may be able to travel to join this event, but obviously I will be celebrating this retirement for years going forward, and I will be able to celebrate with you over and over again.
I am of course pleased that the Conservancy is doing this for me, but for you, please do not feel that this is the only or best way to celebrate—I will be available to continue this happy celebration for many times and places to enjoy and celebrate in Minnesota and in California and of course many other times with my loved ones, my dear family, friends and relatives.
I want to include you all in my thinking and planning, and most of all to spend more time with you all, my precious family and friends.
With all the gratitude that I can express, I want to be explicit about one more and really the most important motivation for my life work. I have loved nature and the experience of growing up in the woods and fields in Minnesota. I have to say that I wish, as I always have, that my father, Charles Harrell Loe, could have lived to have been a part of my life and a supporter of land conservation in the last few decades. Though he died so early when he was only 50, I have always thought of him as an inspiration and have remembered his presence and his statements about the value of farmland and woods, and the products of that land that meant so much to our family. Instilling that ethic and the amazing continuing strong family connections and regard for the land that my mother, Glenna Loe, has nurtured, has been a foundation beyond compare in giving me direction and perseverance.
Besides all this background I am grateful most of all to my husband and best friend, Will Baudler, without whom I could not have been as involved at every level, travelled as I needed to, or cared for our family as needed—I am so lucky and what an amazing partnership we have had!!! And of course, I must include in my thanks all my admiration and gratitude to the three amazing daughters who have had enduring patience and support for a mother who was not always in physical contact because of working travel, but who in spite of the challenges, they had faith that I loved them beyond everything else and grew up as wonderful women with great values and commitments to their chosen careers and their own families and children.
I am hoping you might join this celebration in May, but of course, travel is very hard these days, so please do not feel obligated, but if there is anything I can do to assist with planning or supporting your travel, please let me know.
Much love, Mother, Mom, Carol, daughter, aunt
Much love, Tina