Polishing Halos With The Nature Conservancy


At the Nature Conservancy's luncheon celebrating 50 years of conservation in Oregon,  Russ Hoeflich, the Oregon chapter’s director, delivered a compelling talk that took us through a half-century of preserving great places.

Russ’ presentation had a variety of elements that kept our attention:

An Easy-to-Follow Format.  He went decade by decade through the past 50 years, with each decade having a theme.  The 60’s were a time of “risk, persistence and determination”.

Intriguing Facts and Statistics.  He shared the how it took 100 tons of explosives to help restore 7,000 acres of wetlands in Upper Klamath Lake!  

Stories.  Many stories.  Like how the Conservancy scrambled to preserve 27,000 acres in northeast Oregon’s Zumwalt Prairie, just before they were to be sold at auction on the steps of the Outlaw Café.

Voices.  As he finished his review of each decade, Russ played an audio interview with a leader from that decade who shared his or her memories and inspirations.  Using audio was an effective choice.  It made us really pay attention, so we sensed the speaker’s emotion.

Russ also thanked the hundreds of trustees, thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of members who have made the Conservancy’s success possible.  A highlight came when he profiled the accomplishments of Lifetime Conservation Achievement award-winner Cliff Heselton.  Cliff’s first words upon taking the stage were: “If I knew you were going to say such nice things about me, I would’ve polished my halo before coming up here.”

Cliff’s humility and humor is not unusual for people involved with the Conservancy. They do great things and don’t care who gets the credit.