Tuesday morning we woke up to a new era at the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors; an era without the leadership of Martin LeBlanc. It was a weird feeling for all of us coming into work on Tuesday knowing none of us would be calling out to Seattle for our various weekly check in call with Martin, no e-mails coming in over the weekend following up on our latest brain storm about how we could get more people outside or tell the story of one of our amazing volunteers to a larger national audience.
For the last ten years, Martin has spearheaded successful policy, advocacy, granting, and service provision programs at the Sierra Club. His contributions to the movement of getting all of America outside have been significant, as were his travel miles and hours away from home. At conferences and on trails throughout America, Martin not only talked the talk, but walked the walk.
He was responsible for the creation of the Building Bridges to the Outdoors and the Military Families Outdoors programs. Through his leadership, Martin has helped connected literally hundreds of thousands of underserved youth, military kids and their families and veterans with the great outdoors. In Martin’s final year at the Club he oversaw the formation of a new entity, Mission Outdoors, which aims to unite Sierra Club’s programming and advocacy work to get all of America outdoors. He has set the foundation for the rest of us to really build the program in the coming months and years.
We can look around the Mission Outdoors team, and the broader Sierra Club and see different imprints of Martin and how his time at the Sierra Club has left a positive impression and the foundation for a lasting legacy. The good thing is, we will not have to look far for outside the Sierra Club to find Martin. He is taking over as the Vice President at IslandWood; a beautiful place of respite and environmental education on Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle.
IslandWood has been the host to a number of Sierra Club programs and retreats in the past, and no doubt will continue to be a place we can call home in the future. Martin, we congratulate you on your work with the Sierra Club and thank you for giving us a chance to do the work we love. We wish you all the best in the future and no doubt, we’ll see you out on the trail….after all, as we lose a director, we know we stand to gain a volunteer!