Winter 2015 – Early October brought historic storms to the Jersey shore and much of the eastern seaboard of the United States. Relentless northeast winds blew for more than five days and storm tides filled the back bays to levels that were reminiscent of Sandy, but thankfully not as high. As with Sandy, our marshes fared very well. In fact, a quick look out over the vast meadows shows them to be in their fall glory with golden hues and the pink and reds of the pickleweed. The marshes did their job – and did it well, absorbing billions of gallons of flood waters and dampening waves.
As I sat in my office, day after day, feeling the fury of the storm and watching the marsh dissapear into the bay, I was once again reminded of the importance of the marshes, and thankful for Herbert Mills and his visionary leadership. He recognized the value of these meadows for storm protection and set upon a course to preserve and protect them so that half a century later they are still doing their job and protecting us. He was able to achieve his goals because so many people heard his message, shared his vision and stepped forward with the support he needed to purchase these meadows for the public good. I still meet many of you that contributed to that first fundraising campaign and made that vision a reality.
As the seasons change, we are busy working every day to ensure that these marshes remain healthy. We are actively monitoring them, teaching about them, and sharing our commitment and passion for them and the creatures that rely on them. I hope you will take time to reflect on the many ways that the marshes are valuable to you. How would your life be different if these marshes were not here?
I am so grateful to all of our supporters, past and present for helping ensure that these marshes remain. I hope you will consider the value of the work we do as we enter the season of giving.
Autumn 2015 – It’s hard to believe but the rhythms of the season are already leaning toward fall. The signs are already evident in the marsh and the Institute. Migratory shorebirds are already abundant on the beaches and in the marsh – headed southbound after nesting in the Arctic and northern Canada. Beach nesting birds at Stone Harbor Point have successfully fledged their young and are abundant on the flats and in the tide pools. Migratory dragonflies have become abundant, and the first Monarchs have been sighted starting to move south. The Summer Nature Programs have wound down and we are gearing up for the start of school and traveling environmental education and field trip programs. The Fall Migration Festival is just around the corner and we will delight in celebrating one of the last great migrations on earth – right here through our backyard. I hope you will join us for some of the fun.
Speaking of Celebrations, the inaugural Summer Celebration was held on August 1st. After 33 years of hosting the auction at the Institute, we made a break. We combined the Sunset Soiree with the Wings ‘N Water Auction and had a great cocktail party, auction, and raffles. Wear and tear on the Institute, and the desire for a fresh approach to match the fresh approach we have been taking with so many of our programs, fueled the decision to make the move. The event was a resounding success. We met many new faces and caught up with so many of our old friends. Thanks to everyone that donated items and supported the Institute. We more than doubled our fundraising totals this year. It is your support that makes what we do possible. I am so pleased to count so many of you among our supporters.
Thank you! We have made no small plans – and you are all a part of the journey to greatness that we are all on.