A Time for Renewal
by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

With summer comes renewal and hopefully the end of a long and difficult time for us all. These past several weeks have brought the first glimpses of a return to more normal times. Visitors are back at the Institute enjoying the wonders of the spring migration and myriad of remarkable creatures that spend the summers here – or are moving through to their final summering grounds. We’re gradually hearing the laughter of children again as educational programs begin to return. Every day we welcome seasonal staff, dramatically expanding our staffing numbers to meet summer program needs. With all the hustle and bustle here, the silence of last year is gradually fading into a distant memory.

There is so much that we missed over these past 15 months, but also so much that we have learned and discovered. Our staff have been simply amazing. They have navigated massive operational disruptions, retooled processes and procedures to continue the life-saving research and conservation work we do, and re-envisioned educational programs to help people connect – or reconnect – to nature.

It’s been a massive undertaking that stressed us to our core. It’s often said that you don’t learn your true strengths until you are tested. All of us have been tested. And we learned that we are strong, innovative, and valued. Perhaps equally important, we were reminded that our friends and supporters will stand by us. Stand by us you did – and more: your support and encouragement helped carry us through.

We’re looking forward with excitement. Though last summer marked the first time in more than 30 years that we were without our interns, we have welcomed them back and are thrilled to have a wonderful cohort of undergraduates working with us again this summer. Our seasonal scientists are here gaining valuable early career experience and supporting critical field research operations. Summer Nature Program registrations are robust. We are planning for in-person celebrations throughout the summer, and hope to see you at the Institute soon. Our future looks bright and your steady support was an important part of making that happen.

I’ve missed seeing you and sharing the excitement, but there is more ahead. As we emerge from the challenges of the pandemic, we are turning our attention to defining strategies for building additional resilience into the organization. You will be hearing about these efforts in the coming months.

Be sure to stay connected to all that is happening at The Wetlands Institute. I look forward to seeing you all. My door is open and most days you can find me here. Drop by, share your thoughts, and know I am always listening.