Edward M. Robertson (Ed) was one of the original IRLC Board Members when it created in 1998 in response to an offer by Henry Carse, a Butterfield Lake land owner, to donate a parcel of land once a land trust was established to protect it in perpetuity. Subsequently, Ed, with Denise as his not quite silent partner, played a key leadership role through IRLC’s formative years as an all volunteer land trust. Elected as IRLC’s first Secretary/VP, Ed served in all four of the IRLC’s Officer positions in his 17 years on the Board, as Vice President for 3 years, President for 5, Secretary for 3 and Treasurer for another 6.
Ed was instrumental in identifying, evaluating, acquiring and integrating significant parcels of land to create larger and more effective habitats for the unique flora and fauna of what became the more than 1000 acre Grand Lake Reserve. Ed was also a leader in the early stewardship of that preserve, gathering the resources to develop parking areas and helping with the boundary marking and construction of the trail network in that preserve, including the recruitment of trail clearing volunteers from participants in the hunting program on the reserve, which he also helped initiate.
In 2016 he took on a similar leadership role when IRLC added Doris Baker’s gift of the 354 acre Baker Woods Preserve near the headwaters of the Indian River in the foothills of the Adirondacks. In 2016-17 Ed and Denice devoted countless hours to the leadership and legwork needed for IRLC’s successful application for national Accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance.
During the latter part of his Board service Ed refocused much of his attention and energy on IRLC’s efforts to identify and implement an array of innovative activities and programs which could improve water quality in the Indian River Watershed. The comprehensive and in depth approach the IRLC is currently taking toward water quality and related issues throughout the Indian River Watershed today reflects Ed’s early involvement and dedication to this challenge. Having lived on a working cattle farm in Theresa for many years, Ed and Denise now split their time between their cottage on Butterfield Lake and home near their grandchildren in St. Augustine, Florida.
For more than 17 years Ed was a driving force in IRLC’s growth and development. His leadership, energy, and creativity helped establish IRLC’s reputation as a model all-volunteer land trust in New York State. Thank you, Ed, for all you have done for IRLC and the future wellbeing of the Indian River Lakes.