by Dr. Dottie Ives-Dewey, Trustee

My family’s roots in Stone Harbor and Cape May County date back generations to when my maternal grandparents, Hugh and Dorothy Grove, purchased their house on 104th street. Some of my earliest memories include trips to the shore with my brothers to visit my grandparents, where we learned the simple joys of crabbing off the dock, lazy days on the beach, and long walks to the point. Our roots grew deeper when my paternal grandparents purchased a house on 111th street. And when my parents purchased their own house in Stone Harbor, our summers grew longer.

An aerial view of The Wetlands Institute and Stone Harbor

Aerial view of The Wetlands Institute and Stone Harbor

Much has changed on the island over the years, but the beauty of the natural environment has remained constant. Growing up, my parents and grandparents tried to ensure that my brother and I, and our children, understood and appreciated the intricacies and beauty of the physical environment. Stone Harbor and Cape May County have a special sense of place, in large part as a result of the distinctive natural environment and unique coastal ecosystem. Coming to better understand the functions and value of the natural system was always a part of my family’s shore-time experience.

The Wetlands Institute held special meaning for my father and mother, Blair and Lynne Ives. My father served on the board of trustees.. During that time he drew on his business experience to strengthen the organization. My mother was a tireless advocate for the education programs at the Institute and my children had the benefit of the educational programs. Last year, my family was pleased to announce my father’s estate bequest to the Institute, a final gesture of his passion and commitment to its mission.

I am honored to be able to extend his work and offer my own contributions as a Member of the Board of Trustees. Like the island, the Institute has evolved with new leadership. But the core mission has remained the same. Protecting what is special about Cape May County requires continued awareness, understanding and appreciation of the unique ecosystem. In the face of a changing global climate and continued development pressure, the work of the Institute is more important than ever. Through conservation, education, and research, the Institute can play an important role in protecting this special place for the benefit of future generations of my family, and for others who share these special connections.