In June, 1991, Barry Lonik was elected to the board of trustees for a nascent land conservancy in Washtenaw County called Potawatomi Community Land Trust. He had found his calling.
A year later Lonik was elected board president and soon began fundraising to create a part-time position for himself. That later became a full-time position and he led the organization—now called Legacy Land Conservancy—for ten years, establishing it as a respected, sustaining nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor.
During the latter part of his tenure with the conservancy, Lonik also led the charge to promote public funding for the purchase of natural areas as preserves and conservation easements on farmland. In the succeeding years, proposals to establish dedicated funding have been passed with overwhelming support by voters in Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor and three townships (Ann Arbor, Scio and Webster) a total of ten times.
To date over $200 million of public funds have been committed to protect open space and agricultural land in the county.
Lonik currently operates his consulting firm Treemore Ecology and Land Services, and staffs the three funded township programs. He is responsible for the protection of 110 properties totalling over 7,700 acres over the last three decades.
Lonik says he is most proud of protecting the 478 acre centennial farm of Howard and Kelven Braun on the border of the City of Saline, the 286 acre centennial farm of Charles and Catherine Braun farm in Ann Arbor Township and the sesquicentennial 160 acre Aprill farm in Scio Township as well as helping to establish a half dozen farms that are producing fresh fruit, vegetables and meat on the edge of Ann Arbor.
Lonik lives on a two-acre property west of Dexter dubbed “Rancho Tranquilico” where he grows most of his fruits and vegetables and has installed a prairie on half of it. He also hosts musical events in his 130 year old barn in the Summer (30 this year!) and loves to hike, swim, sail, ski, run and bike the woods, waters and backroads near his home.