by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

Yep, it happened again. Summer flew by and once again, I’m not sure how it went so fast. As we settle into the rhythm of fall, it’s a time when I take a minute to reflect on all the wonderful things that we accomplished together this busy season. I am pleased to say that we had many outstanding moments here and your support was a contributing factor.

Summer Nature Program enrollments were near record levels again this summer. The energy and excitement of children connecting to nature, learning about the incredible animals of the marshes and the wonder of the marshes themselves is a gift. It’s a gift for all of us here to see the spark of connection in a child’s face, and also a gift we’re so proud to provide to each and every child in these programs. Following a several year hiatus, Turtle Fest was back this summer and was very well attended. This is an event that is planned and produced by our Environmental Education Interns and a cornerstone of their experience here.

As September rolls in, we take the time to acknowledge the incredible talents and contributions of all of our volunteers who give back in so many different ways throughout the year. They provide a supporting structure that enables us to do so much more than we could without them. Our volunteers were on beaches helping to resight birds we study and rescuing stranded horseshoe crabs; they were on our roadways and trails helping diamondback terrapins; they were out paddling to document marsh conditions. They were in the aquarium at the teaching tank, on beach and dune trails teaching ecology. They assisted instructors with the Summer Nature Program, helped us with mailings, were in the Tidepool Shop, and gave time and ideas to make this Summer Celebration the best ever. Our volunteers are making a difference, and to all of them – a heartfelt THANK YOU!

I am incredibly excited to share that this Summer Celebration, our largest fund-raising event of the year, was record-breaking. We had a great night with friends and supporters of the Institute and our mission. More than 200 people joined us, having fun from the moment they walked in the door. Brian Taff was our celebrity emcee and shared his authentic connection to our mission, and the evening included the auctioning of VIP tickets to the annual Eagles-Dallas showdown by none other than Jaws! We greatly exceeded our fundraising goals for the evening. Thank you to all of the people who donated items, supported us through sponsorships, joined us through auction item bidding, and brought your excitement in support of our mission.

I am excited for the next season in the rhythm of a Wetlands Institute year where we take time to regroup. There is much to plan for and to do. Stay tuned as great things are ahead!