I have had a special relationship with The Wetlands Institute for decades, both visitor and volunteer. Every time I step onto the Institute’s grounds I am amazed by the bustling activity. Whether it is butterflies and birds filling the gardens, ospreys raising their chicks, children exploring touch tanks (instead of keyboards), staff and volunteers educating visitors, students releasing turtle hatchlings or interns conducting research, the diversity and richness of life on the marshes captivates you. All of these activities, whether education, research or conservation in nature, have a single purpose – to promote understanding and stewardship of coastal wetlands. As I assume my new role as Board Chair, I am again reminded of the significance of this mission and am humbled to be following many dedicated Institute leaders, particularly Ray Burke. For almost 50 years, their stewardship has enabled the Institute to grow and expand despite often overwhelming challenges. In my new Institute role, I look forward to building upon this legacy and partnering with you and the entire Institute community to continue our mission of not only identifying threats to coastal wetlands and their inhabitants, but more importantly developing solutions which protect these fragile but critically vital ecosystems.
by Deborah A. Hays, Chair of the Board of Trustees