Denise Robertson became involved with IRLC at its very first meeting when a group of lake and local people gathered around a kitchen table to discuss the opportunity to begin a land trust in the Indian River Lakes area. From its inception in 1998 she provided crucial service to IRLC as its de facto administrator of office operations, processes and procedures. This was a natural step for her as she approached retirement from her role as Chief Financial Officer of a commercial construction company in Rochester, NY. Her experience with the daily operations of a closely held company was excellent preparation for the key volunteer administrative role she held with the IRLC during its formative years as an all-volunteer land trust and through the transition to its first paid staff.
In 2013 Denise was elected to the Board and continued to manage the organization’s administrative functions while also serving as the Co-Chair of the finance/administration team. In 2016-17 Denice and Ed devoted countless hours to the leadership and legwork needed for IRLC’s successful application for national Accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance. Denise’s ability, in particular, to organize and manage the overall process while at the same time delegating and following up with IRLC Board Members, first paid staff member, Accreditation consultant and volunteers were essential to that successful application.
Denise first came to Butterfield Lake in 1966 when her family purchased a summer camp on the lake. She and her husband Ed purchased their family camp in 1981. Since their retirements in 2002 they have spent all summer plus much of the spring and fall at Butterfield Lake enjoying the fresh air, wildlife and scenic beauty that originally attracted them to the Indian River Lakes. Denise feels it is critically important that we protect and nurture this unique place we call home for future generations.
For years of their retirement, Denise and Ed spent winters at their home on the St. John’s River Florida where they hosted many legendary Bobby Burns Dinners. In 2013 they built a year-round home in Theresa, NY on a 373-acre grass farm where Ed raised yearling and Highland cattle. Ed and Denise now split their time between their cottage on Butterfield Lake and home near their daughter and grandchildren in St. Augustine, Florida.
We cannot thank Denise enough for the 17 years of leadership, innovation, and energy that she devoted to a wide array of programs and activities. The Indian River Lakes Conservancy would not be where it is today without her. Thank you, Denise!