Every day at The Wetlands Institute, I am reminded of the importance of the work we do. As I sit in conservation project meetings, or work with staff on new education programs, or meet our members and supporters, I see remarkable progress and opportunity, excitement in what we are undertaking, and the evidence of the success of our projects so far. The Wetlands Institute is in the midst of a great transformation that began with my arrival at the end of 2011. Our members and supporters were seeking a renewal of The Institute. You asked us to enhance and revitalize education programs – and we have. You asked us to diversify and expand research – and we did. You asked us to engage the community in impactful conservation – and we are!
Thank you for your support and encouragement – and most of all – thank you for making such transformation possible! Let me share a few things that your support allowed us to accomplish.
Research and Conservation – This year, staff, interns, and volunteers worked tirelessly to:
- Rescue and protect diamondback terrapins by:
- Saving more than 200 adult female diamondback terrapins crossing roadways;
- Hatching more than 325 orphaned baby terrapins from recovered eggs that will be returned to the marsh next year; and
- Rescuing more than 450 hatchlings from storm drains this spring.
- Lead a program that rescued more than 30,000 spawning horseshoe crabs trapped on Delaware Bay Beaches and returned them to the breeding population;
- Engage in regional conservation planning for diamondback terrapins and coastal birds;
- Begin restoration of nesting and roosting areas for beach nesting and migratory birds at Stone Harbor Point; and
- Enhance and improve the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary.
Education – Our staff and summer interns:
- Delivered impactful and engaging discovery programs to 274 youth in summer nature programs;
- Shared the wonders of the ocean on SEAS trips conducted on boats off the shores of Cape May and Sandy Hook with 1,100 students that rarely have the opportunity to be on the water; and
- Brought remarkable animals and lessons to more than 7,000 students from 81 schools through field trips and traveling education programs.
As if this wasn’t empowering enough, we spent the past two years working tirelessly on Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts. Donors responded to our urgent appeal in record numbers and because of your support we were able to:
- Completely rebuild the dock;
- Resurrect the Skimmer, kayak and stand-up-paddle nature tours in the back bays; and
- Open the new elevated marsh walkway that provides unparalleled access to the marsh.
As far as we have come and as much as we have accomplished with your support, there is still more to do if we are to become a center for excellence in coastal and wetland research, conservation and education.
Our excellence has brought us remarkable opportunities to move the Institute to the next level and achieve the greatness in programs, service and impact that you all expect.
Memberships, admissions, and other program service revenues cover many of our costs, but we need to do more. In order to sustain our growth and capitalize on the amazing opportunities before us, we need your support.
With your support, we can finish our walkway since disaster assistance grants paid for less than a third of its cost.
With your financial commitment, we can renovate labs to meet new research and conservation project needs and update equipment and supplies to continue to engage undergraduate interns in summer programs.
With your generous contribution, we can improve and enhance the quality of our existing programs, build new and exciting ones, and continue to deliver excellence in every facet of the Institute’s operations.
I ask you to join us on this journey of transformation. We have so much more to do and we are making no small plans! As the year comes to a close, please consider a generous donation to The Wetlands Institute. Help us continue to educate tomorrow’s environmental stewards and solve critical issues facing coastal and wetland ecosystems and the communities that rely on them for their well-being.
Thank you in advance for helping us promote appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of coastal and wetland ecosystems through our excellent research, conservation, and education programs!
Lenore P. Tedesco, Ph.D.
P.S. We invite you and your friends and family to come visit us this winter! We have a new Director of Development and she would love to meet you!