The summer has been screaming by at a remarkable pace. The Institute has been filled with the laughter and excitement of visitors and summer nature program participants, the gardens are ablaze in color, the nest boxes full of hungry baby birds, and the mud flats and marsh teeming with life. It’s a glorious time to be at the Institute to witness another season at the shore.

It’s been a busy summer. The summer intern program is wrapping up and we have had a remarkable program. The energy, commitment and spark that the 10 interns brought to the Institute was impressive and they have all contributed to the growth and development in many ways. Their accomplishments are highlighted in articles in the newsletter.

Our docents, junior volunteers, and adult volunteers provide so much to the Institute and are such an important aspect of all that we do. From leading salt marsh tours or beach and dune hikes, to doing programs at the teaching tank, helping to maintain the aquarium, working with the turtle basking station, helping on terrapin road patrols, patrolling the Institute property for nesting terrapins, being field assistants at the Bird Sanctuary, helping to plant marsh grass, working as admissions greeters, or helping with special events – especially the Wings ‘N Water auction, we couldn’t deliver the quality programs and conservation programs that we do – without you. All of us at the Institute say thank you!

The Wings ‘n Water Benefit Auction was August 2nd and we had a wonderful event. Thanks to everyone that attended and bid generously in support of our programs. The business community in Cape May County was incredible and, along with friends and supporters, donated more than 300 items to the auction. The Washington Inn catered the event and provided a wonderful spread that was enjoyed by all. New this year, we featured a raw bar donated by Atlantic Capes Fisheries. Thanks to all our corporate sponsors for helping to make this year’s event memorable.

Finally, as we look ahead to the promise of the beautiful weather of fall and the onset of the south bound migration, we will be very busy with several new projects and programs. Our Education and Research and Conservation Departments have been awarded several new grants that will diversify our programs significantly. Look for more information and updates this fall as we start an international wetland education exchange program, begin a large restoration project for beach nesting and migratory shorebirds at Stone Harbor Point, and work to monitor habitat creation for black skimmers in our local marshes. All of these projects are in collaboration with numerous partners that make our efforts rigorous, enjoyable, sustainable, and empowering.

We are doing so many new things, while we continue to do the things we are known for. Your support and contributions have help launch these programs and are critical to helping us sustain and enhance them. Each week, I meet with new members and new donors that are excited to join with us to make a difference. If you would like to join with us – please let me know. I would love to show you around and explore ways for you to be part of our winning team. We are making no small plans and we want you to be a part of it.