MNA Welcomes New Trustee

In March, MNA held the election for the Board of Trustees. Trustees Mary Ann Czechowski and Debby Igleheart were re-elected. MNA also welcomed a new Trustee, Aubrey Golden.

Aubrey, from Southeast Michigan, came to MNA as the current president of the Michigan Karst Conservancy. With an interest in nature that traces back to his early years as a boy scout, Aubrey values Michigan’s special natural features. He has an appreciation for stewardship activities and enjoys maintaining MNA’s sanctuaries at work days.

Recently, we sat down with Aubrey to ask him about his work with MNA.

How and when did you learn about the Michigan Nature Association?

I became interested in MNA because of the partnership MNA and the Michigan Karst Conservancy formed to protect the Mystery Valley Karst Conservancy and Nature Sanctuary. As president of the conservancy, I knew about MNA’s program. I learned more about the organization from MNA Executive Director Jeremy Emmi.
My initial interest was in the Michigan Karst Conservancy forming a partnership with MNA. We knew MNA was an organization also interested in the diverse aspects of nature in Michigan; as president of the conservancy, I knew about MNA’s program. I learned more about the organization from MNA Executive Director Jeremy Emmi. Once I became involved with MNA, I became very interested in the stewardship days.

What activities are you currently participating in with MNA?
I’ve been involved in a number of events with Regional Stewardship Organizer Katherine Hollins and have attended almost every event of hers this fall and winter. I’ve enjoyed being out in the field removing invasive species and helping to maintain sanctuaries. Stewardship activities have been my primary involvement since my greatest interest lies in MNA’s stewardship program. It’s one thing to have sanctuaries, but it’s another thing to do stewardship at those properties.

Do you have a favorite sanctuary or plant preserve?
Mystery Valley is my favorite, obviously because we developed a management plan to protect one of the most unique features of the state. I’ve visited several other sanctuaries in the state, but Mystery Valley – with its disappearing river, unique flora and cracks – is one of the most unique properties protected by MNA.

What is your background and are you from Michigan?
I have lived in southeastern Michigan (Detroit and Oakland County) since 1948. I am married to Martina and have 2 sons – Lucas and Thomas. I taught in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District for 34 years and also served for several years as the President of the Walled Lake Education Association during my tenure in the district; I have been retired since 1999. I currently represent the Waterford Township Board on the Drayton Plains Nature Center Advisory Board. I attended Union College in Kentucky, where I studied English and political science and had a minor in biology and received both my bachelors and Master’s degrees.

When did you first become interested in nature and the natural environment?
My interest in nature traces back to the time I spent as a Boy Scout in the 1950s in Detroit. I enjoyed working on outdoor projects, hiking and wondering why nature was the way it was.

What, to you, is special about the state of Michigan?
The fact that there are so many unique, and sometimes little known, karst features throughout the state is very special to me. I’m especially interested in how varied Michigan’s landscape is. You can go from mountains in the Upper Peninsula to sand dunes along the lakes. These aspects prove how diverse Michigan is, and how special.

What, to you, is special about MNA?
MNA has accumulated so much land. Saving 10,000 acres of land, and more importantly varied land, is incredible. MNA has its stamp on the Upper Peninsula and western, northern and southern Michigan. It’s important that MNA is not an organization that just focuses on one thing; it focuses on the totality of the state’s landscape.

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