Stories of Support

Leader of the Pack

November 12, 2019

Volunteer Sally Manke advances GTRLC’s mission by leading hikes


The sweeping views of Lake Michigan from the top of Old Baldy or Green Point Dunes never cease to amaze Sally Manke, and the hikes that lead to these views always instill in her a sense of calming and peace.

And while Sally certainly doesn’t mind making these journeys alone, it’s much more fulfilling when she can lead a group and share the experience.

“I just so enjoy seeing people experience these places, whether it’s their 70th time or their first time,” she said. “There’s just nothing better.”

Sally has served GTRLC as a volunteer steward for more than a decade, helping to care for preserves near the Lake Michigan coast. In addition to her important stewardship work, another huge contribution to GTRLC is her willingness to lead multiple public hikes during the winter months. These hikes have engaged hundreds of people over the years, generating awareness and good will for GTRLC.

Sally (right) with a friend at Arcadia Dunes.

“We can’t thank Sally enough for being such a tremendous ambassador for the Conservancy,” said Nate Richardson, who coordinates volunteers for GTRLC. “She helps us advance our mission by getting people excited about the work that we do.”

Sally lives in Arcadia and taught multiple subjects in the Onekema middle and high schools for more than two decades before retiring. She now runs an online quilt shop and teaches art quilting at seminars around the country. Her husband has deep roots in the Arcadia area that stretch back generations; his grandfather even served as the village’s first blacksmith.

Sally first became involved shortly after the Costal Campaign – an ambitious $35 million campaign that resulted in the protection of Arcadia Dunes and Green Point Dunes – at the urging of longtime GTRLC volunteer and fellow hike leader Paula Dreeszen.

Sally (center) with a group on a hike.

She knows that engaging people with the land is the only way to make sure people will be enthusiastic about conservation, now and into the future.

“By sharing all of this, you make sure that when the next campaign comes along, people will listen,” she said. “Look at Arcadia Dunes….people can stand there and say, wow, 15 years ago, somebody had a vision and made this happen. What can we look back on 15 years from now?”


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