What a new year we have had so far! As I write this, it’s snowing – again. While the marsh is a special place in the snow, I long for the vibrant green to replace the golden browns of winter. This has been a winter to remember – for a lot of reasons – good and challenging. We are excited to have just finished the renovation of the Institute 2nd floor. The dormitory is fresh and renewed and nearly ready for the summer explosion of activities as the education and research interns descend upon us. We carved out some office space as well to accommodate our staff growth and needs. Within hours of the final inspections in early January and the completion of the renovation, we had several pipes burst in the ceiling of the kitchen. So it appears we are now renovating the kitchen area. We are in the middle of this project with a goal to be up and running again before Turtlefest on Easter weekend. We’re sticking with the approach of rebuilding to be better than before!

I am thrilled to report that the elevated walkway project is underway! The contractors have removed the old, Sandy damaged walkway and have begun installing the new walkway structure! We are on a very tight timeline for completion so that we have completed the heavy installation work before the return of the Osprey. Its an exciting time and the new walkway will be a major enhancement to the Institute and our research and education programs. Look for photos and updates on our website and social media communications.

There are so many amazing things happening at the Institute and our members and supporters have enabled so many of our accomplishments. The response to our end-of-year appeal was record-breaking. Thank you all so much for entrusting us with your support and making a difference in all that we do. We honor our donors in this newsletter and on our Donor Recognition Wall in the Institute entryway. Thank you from all of us at the Institute.

We are all really busy planning for another remarkable year. We have announced our schedule of activities and are excited to continue to focus our events on mission and engage our community in impactful conservation activities. Our special events calendar reflects this focus. You will notice some changes and I hope you and your families will take advantage of some of the incredible opportunities these events provide.

We will be releasing our first Annual Report in a very long time so that you, our members and supporters can see how we are using your gifts to deliver our programs. Look for copies at the Institute and on our website in the coming weeks.

Please stop in and see what all the excitement’s about. I am happy to speak with any of you about our goals and plans for the future.