Ed and Bobbie Collins founded the Leelanau Conservancy in 1988 after becoming increasingly concerned by the growing development pressure upon the land and water of our beloved Leelanau County. With the help of the late attorney Larry Verdier, and the advice of the venerable Brandywine Conservancy in Pennsylvania, they formed a 501©3 corporation and purchased our building on First Street in Leland which they donated to the fledgling organization. The dedication was on October 9, 1988, attended by many supporters which included the late Harlan Hatcher, past-president of the University of Michigan and internationally-renowned conservationist, who was the Conservancy’s Honorary Chairman until his death.
Ed received his MBA from Stanford University and was a successful small business owner in the Detroit area for many years before moving to Leelanau County in 1979. In 1980, he and Bobbie purchased and renovated the Riverside Inn in Leland and owned it until 1988. Ed has served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Leelanau Conservancy. Bobbie has served as Treasurer, President, and Chairman. They have mandated from the beginning the importance of excellence and integrity in all aspects of the work of the Conservancy.
Bobbie and Ed have given of their time and energy to other organizations as well. Bobbie served on the Board of the Leelanau Memorial Health Center for 9 years, and is currently a corporate member of the Munson Healthcare Board. She is also a past board member of the Traverse City Arts Council, the Traverse Community Foundation, and the Glen Arbor Arts Association. Ed has served on the Leland Township Fire Board and Chamber Arts North, and has mentored several of our local youth. They both are members of the Leland Community Methodist Church and sing in the chancel choir.
“I’ve been coming to Leelanau County since 1937, first as a summer kid at my grandparents’ cottage on Little Glen Lake, then moved with Ed to Leland permanently in 1979,” says Bobbie. “Ed and I are so grateful that so many have joined in making the Leelanau Conservancy the success it is and find, as we do, this way in which to ‘give back’ for the great blessing we all share for the privilege of living and working here.”