I don't think I've ever been speechless (just ask Kit); if anything, there are simply too many words from which to choose to properly enunciate what I'm feeling, thinking, or intending at any given time. But writing this essay, my last for Diablo Trust, did not come easy. What am I to say? How am I to sum up the last three and a half years of my life?
Program Manager of Diablo Trust wasn’t my first job out of college, but it was my first job without a time sensitive contract, my first job that didn't rely on the seasons, my first job with (gasp) my own office! I was nervous, or as nervous as I am known to get, on my first day. I don’t remember it specifically, but I remember coming in confident and concerned.
It helped, of course, to have help.
Help from the board, help from my predecessors at the office, and help from the myriad contacts I developed in and around Flagstaff, before and during my tenure at DT.
Thank you to Derrick Widmark and Carrie Eberly, my predecessors in the Diablo Trust office. They both helped guide me in my start, giving me the low-down on what works, what doesn’t work, and what might work given the right variables. When I had doubts in my capabilities, they helped bring me back on track.
Thank you to Denise Hudson, Linda Blosser, and Sylvia Meakin, the three most loyal and dedicated DT volunteers. Denise is the owl-eyed editor of Ground Truth (and a regular at book club), and Linda and Sylvia work behind the scenes at many events throughout the year, often in Judy’s or Kit’s kitchens.
Thank you to everyone who participated with Diablo Trust over the years, from Day On the Land participants to Annual Campout attendees to Book Club readers. Most were involved prior to me, but many friends and other community contacts joined in the last few years, making my time with Diablo Trust even more special.
Thank you to every board member with whom I served: Norm Lowe, Norm Wallen, Bill Towler, Jill Rundall, Rick Knight, Ellen Parish, Stephen Williams, Chuck Phillips, Tom Sisk, Judy Prosser, Bob Prosser, Kit Metzger, and Diana Kessler. For whatever length of time we overlapped with this organization, you helped me develop into the leader and advocate I am today, and your lessons (intentional or not) will continue to affect me far into the future.
To the ranchers, Judy, Bob, Kit, and Diana, thank you for teaching me about your world, a world I “knew” about but now embrace. When I first asked Kit for a job as a cowhand back in college I said that I’d worked on farms and ranches, but never a “John Wayne” ranch - a quip I’ll never live down on the Flying M. Our perceptions of ranches in the US, and around the world, are shaped by what we see: news and media, and my thoughts of the “wild west” were shaped by John Wayne, Elmore Leonard, and Gene Wilder.
A special thank-you must go to Kit. She took a chance on me in 2012 and must’ve felt the sting of taking that risk since then. But living out on the ranch for a year allowed us to grow closer. Through our dinner conversations - just the two of us eating beef and veggies with a drink to wash it down, as the rest of the ranch crew preferred to eat in their own homes - I learned on just how many topics we agree, and that even when we disagree we can find common ground.
I had a collaborative mind before the ranch, but it was still tilted towards the social environment of my youth. Being on the ranch and working for Kit helped right the ship towards the Radical Center, and I’ve been riding that line ever since.
And thank you to everyone else who played a role in my growth the last few years: my mentors and teachers, friends, students, drinking buddies, and all of the familiar faces from around Flagstaff with whom I might have had conversations but never really got to know.
During the Grand Canyon Semester, the “study abroad” program at NAU I did in my senior year of college, I never through I’d be the one classmate to return to Flagstaff, much less return and stay for more than a season. I thought - and think - of myself as a traveler, a man of the trail. But there was something here in Northern Arizona that appealed to me, that drew me back. Some of it certainly was that sense of adventure, to see and do something that doesn’t exist on the east coast. Some of it was also the want to find a new community, make new friends, and be somewhere else for a while.
I am moving on, to the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust, based in Granby, CO. It’s a small town, just 90 minutes from Denver over the Berthoud Pass on I-40. I’m moving from the most recognizable parts of the Colorado River to the place where it all begins: Lake Granby, the headwaters of our most powerful river. To my friends who have dedicated their lives to introducing students and tourists and advocates to the River in the Canyon, I hope to do my part by ensuring that the land surrounding the birthplace of the Colorado River stays accessible, beautiful, and protected.
I am confident in handing the reins over to Megan Hosterman. She’s coming to us with an absolute wealth of experience on lands across the Southwest. Megan has bright ideas, a clear vision, and the open enthusiasm necessary to stay afloat with Diablo Trust.
I still have some irons in the fire down here, and will be back through Flagstaff from time to time. I might not make a splash when I come through, but don’t be shy about reaching out! If you would like my personal contact information, please reply to this email and Megan will connect us.
Thank you for all that you've done to make my time in Flagstaff educational and powerful.
Jeremy D. Krones