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Allen County Reads: Jason Kissel, Acres Land Trust

by Becky C | May 11, 2016
Images Jason Kissel

"From age 5, I knew my career choices would revolve around caring for trees.  Most people like trees, but I couldn’t find anyone else I knew who was as inquisitive and excited about trees as I was.  The local library made me realize there were others throughout the world who cared about trees as much as I did – and that many career options did involve trees.  Miss Twiggley’s Tree and The Lorax were my favorite bedtime stories.  In fact, to this day, my mom can still recite Miss Twiggley’s Tree in its entirety from memory!" 

Except for 5 years living in Indy, Jason has always lived in rural areas, so while growing up and still today, he has directly paid for access to libraries as he has always lived outside of the tax base.  He likes this relationship.  "When you pay directly, you realize what a bargain it is."

Jason fondly remembers using card catalogs before they went online.  It was exciting for him to find the index card that let him know that the library owned a copy of the book he was looking for.  Because the old card catalog system wasn't able to let him know if it had already been checked out though, the better thrill was actually finding the book on the shelf!

Today, interlibrary loan is one of Jason's favorite services, and it's easy to understand why.  Even though we have an extensive collection at ACPL, interlibrary loan gives our resident and subscription borrowers access to books in public library collections throughout the United States.  That's a lot of value for the dollar! Jason also appreciates the meeting spaces we offer, the community events we sponsor, and Access Fort Wayne.

Having just completed a master of ministry degree a few weeks ago, Jason's reading for the past several years has been consumed with theology and ancient near east history.  Now that he has time to read for pleasure again, he's found himself returning to authors who blend nature and spirituality – John Muir, Annie Dillard, Thomas Merton. And, of course, his current reading still includes tree books -- like The Life of an Oak by Glenn Keator and Seeing Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo.  He's looking forward to reading Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees once it's released in English later this year. 

Jason has been the executive director of ACRES for almost 10 years.  ACRES owns and maintains 98 nature preserves, totaling over 5,900 acres – giving him the opportunity to live out his 5 year-old self’s dream of caring for trees.  

Images Jason Kissel 2



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  1. Becky C | May 16, 2016

    Thanks for commenting!  Glad you enjoyed Jason's recommendations! 

  2. Cathy B | May 11, 2016

    Thanks for reminding me of Annie Dillard.  I've read most of her work but it needs to be reread!  And I just put one I hadn't read on hold.  I'm a fellow tree person. Thanks!

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