The Kristin Manwaring Insurance team on their team-building volunteer day at Valley View Forest.
Where does Jefferson Land Trust end and our community begin? It’s impossible to say. A network of volunteers, donors, board members, and business partners sharing resources, knowledge, and a whole lot of heart allows us to keep working to preserve land in Jefferson County for the benefit of all who live here. Kristin Manwaring of Kristin Manwaring Insurance (KMi), a longtime partner of the Land Trust and one of the sponsors of this year’s FutureFest gala, puts it this way: “Community building community.”
“Kristin and her team have been great partners of the Land Trust for a long time,” says Sarah Zablocki-Axling, Jefferson Land Trust’s Development Manager. “They’re a great example of a small-town business that’s connected to a lot of people in the community and that gives back to the community in really meaningful ways.”
Many years ago, when the Land Trust was growing and exploring the possibility of employee benefits, we reached out to KMi, and they’ve worked hard alongside us ever since. Over the last fifteen years, KMi has been a steadfast Land Trust supporter. “Even through the times of COVID, they did what they could to support us,” Sarah says. “It’s a team approach. It’s a small community, so we’re all working together.”
A couple of years ago, the KMi team started to explore the ways that they could connect to their community outside of event sponsorship. “We asked ourselves, ‘How could we really be boots on the ground, in the community?’” Kristin recalls. “Jefferson Land Trust was one of the first organizations that came to mind.”
A portion of the Valley View Forest loop trail.
The result was a volunteer day at Valley View Forest, the Land Trust-protected forest preserve in Chimacum. Disrupting the day-to-day routine and getting their hands dirty was a great approach to team building and a fun way to give back to the community. “I have a whole team of employees who have an appreciation for the outdoors,” she says. “They have an appreciation for what the Land Trust does. It was a real treat to be out and serving not just the community but the Land Trust in that way.”
At KMi, sponsoring local nonprofit work is more than just writing a check. It’s being an active participant in the community and recognizing that we all play a part in making Jefferson County a great place to live. “KMi is each and every person on my team,” Kristin says. “I want my employees to feel that they are truly a part of this giving and this sponsorship. My hope and desire is that my team feels just as attached to the cause as the dollars we donate.”
One of the things that personally connects Kristin to the Land Trust’s mission, she says, is her family’s farming roots. Although she grew up in Seattle, her great-grandparents and grandparents had a dairy farm in Whatcom County where her great-grandmother grew a bounty of fresh food to share with the family.
“Land is being preserved here, creating space for farmers to do what they love to do, and we have these great resources for fresh organic food in Jefferson County. We’re really fortunate,” she says. “Coming from the city, I have such an appreciation for open space. We have a lot of open space here in Jefferson County, and that’s thanks in part to Jefferson Land Trust.”
The caves at Tamanowas Rock.
Seeing that Jefferson Land Trust is preserving not only farmland and open space, but recreational outdoor spaces as well — places where everyone in our community and beyond can come to walk, bike, explore, learn and connect to nature — is another one of the reasons KMi continues to support the Land Trust. Kristin names Tamanowas Rock as one of her favorite spots in the county, and says she’s grateful for Cappy’s Trails, in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor, which allow bicyclists to travel through the city with minimal time on the road.
Walking on the trails, eating food grown on the farmland protected by Jefferson Land Trust, greeting fellow community members in the grocery store: “It’s all connected,” Kristin points out. Sarah echoes, “These kinds of connections, the interlinking of so many organizations within this community, and the way our missions align — it’s really pretty cool.”
Sarah adds, “We had an amazing array of FutureFest sponsors this year. It’s more than just sponsoring one event, really — by partnering with us, they support the Land Trust and all the work we accomplish.”
The Land Trust would like to thank the whole team at Kristin Manwaring Insurance for all they’ve done and continue to do to support the farms, fish, forests, and people of Jefferson County, and the many other sponsors who are joining them in helping to advance the Land Trust’s mission!
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Land Trust business sponsor, please contact Sarah Zablocki-Axling at szaxling[at]saveland.org.