A New Day
By Stephanie K. Meeks | From Preservation | September/October 2010
It is a great honor to be given the opportunity to serve as the eighth president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Though I am a newcomer to this job, I have long been deeply committed to the values at the core of the National Trust's work. Through my 18 years with The Nature Conservancy I developed a keen appreciation for the fragility of our heritage, both natural and man-made, and the importance of preserving the unique and the irreplaceable. My experiences taught me the clear connection between our national treasures and our economic prosperity as well as the vital role each of us can play in preserving what is most important to us and our communities.
I want to ensure that all Americans—from seasoned preservation professionals to people who don't consider themselves preservationists—recognize the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a reliable source of advice and assistance as they work to create and sustain communities that honor our past while also supporting the economic and cultural demands of our time.
For many of us, this work starts at home, and this issue of Preservation celebrates a collection of homes that are as distinctive as the individuals who live in and preserve them. Whether yours is a modern masterpiece or one that reflects the regional history of our nation—such as my own Norwegian ancestors' earthen dug-out in the Kansas prairie—I hope that you will share your home, its many stories, and your own preservation tips on our recently launched website, @home (check out athomenation.org).
The Claremont, Calif., house featured in this issue illustrates how historic homes can and should go green. The National Trust has been working for several years to demonstrate that the continued use and retrofit of older and historic buildings are critical components of sustainability. Our Preservation Green Lab is working to pioneer policy and research projects that will help communities incorporate preservation practices into their sustainability efforts.
Our work is shaped not only by the past but also by the present, and I have been enormously impressed by the Trust's ability and willingness to address an ever-expanding range of new issues. Later this fall, we will welcome more than 2,000 preservation leaders to Austin, Texas, for our annual National Preservation Conference, to explore that impressive range of issues. From sustainability to community revitalization to the fight against sprawl, preservation continues to be at the forefront of the discussion about our nation's future.
As a member of the National Trust, you play an important role in keeping preservation on the vanguard. We appreciate your membership, and I look forward to working with you to preserve the unique and the irreplaceable in your own community.
For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.