by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

With winter drawing to a close and the promise of spring on the horizon, 2021 is rapidly coming into focus. As an organization, we are faced again with a complex landscape of external factors that will shape day-to-day operations and our future planning. I have come to think of 2020 as a reactive year. It was the year that happened to us. In hindsight, we spent the year largely playing defense. We responded as well as we could, on as many levels as possible, and almost always at the same time. Unprecedented is a word I will retire from my vocabulary, but its place in 2020 is undeniable. It really means that our tool kits were not well suited for the situations that we all faced.

In spite of 2020’s many challenges, we navigated those choppy waters of constant uncertainty and we did it with poise and strength, clear vision and leadership. Inspired by the ways people of all ages reconnected with the natural world, our team worked harder and with greater purpose in our efforts promoting appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our wetlands and coastal ecosystem. We stayed nimble, listened to trusted friends, remained true to our mission, protected our staff, and focused on core programs. And we are OK. The support from you, our extended family, made all the difference and helped carry us through. You made a difference.

Now it’s time to move beyond simply operating in a transformed organizational landscape and move forward to recovery – and the team at The Wetlands Institute has again rolled up our sleeves and are taking on 2021 with purpose and hope. Our educators have reimagined science discovery to provide engaging experiences for kids in a virtual weary world. We’ve modified our visitor programs to give you an opportunity to stay connected or reconnect to nature’s soothing yet vibrant energy. Research and conservation programs have been revamped to allow staff to continue their life-saving work, protect the most sensitive species of this coastal ecosystem, and forge ahead to make critical contributions in the fight to preserve and protect our marshes for future generations.

I have no doubt that 2021 will continue to be a challenge and we will face many difficult decisions. I know program revenues will feel an impact, but I also know that we have the ability, the drive, and the resilience to excel. With you all at our side and on our team, we continue to Make No Small Plans, and it will once again make all the difference. In 2020, we reacted. In 2021, we will again move forward with vision, conviction, and hope. As always, I welcome your thoughts, your wisdom, and your ideas.