by Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director

Bert DeVries, right, with Susan Handy

Earlier this year, The Wetlands Institute family lost an ardent supporter and a dear friend – Roberta (Bert) DeVries.

Bert was a truly amazing champion of everything that The Wetlands Institute is. For more than 20 years, she devoted her time, talent, and energy to furthering the Institute’s mission, sharing her passion for nature and love of all creatures great and small with everyone who came through our doors. Her tireless dedication to TWI began with helping to pioneer the volunteer docent program, training and mentoring volunteers to share their love of the wetlands with visitors from near and far. Using the vast experience garnered from her years as Travel Planner at the Philadelphia Zoo, Bert also spearheaded a robust and popular travel program at The Wetlands Institute that took her and adventuring patrons to both treasured local spots and exotic destinations across the globe. In 2003, Bert joined the Board of Trustees, and she was always ready to lend a hand wherever it was needed, doing everything she could to ensure the Institute’s continued success. She also loved the Tidepool Shop and always enjoyed exploring the offerings.

Bert, and her beloved John, showed their deep dedication to and love of The Wetlands Institute by making a Legacy commitment and including the Institute in their estate planning. Upon John’s passing, Bert established the John DeVries Research Fund to help further our research and conservation work. In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Wetlands Institute, Bert endowed John’s research fund. Now upon her passing, Bert’s family has renamed the fund The John and Roberta DeVries Research Fund in recognition of their long-standing commitment in service of The Wetlands Institute’s mission.

Bert was a wonderful person, full of positive energy and light, and she fully embraced life. Her love of nature, especially the South Jersey shore, infused everything she did, and her bright, joyful spirit captivated all who knew her. She will truly be missed.

Please join us in honoring Bert by making a donation in her memory to the John and Roberta DeVries Research Fund. You can donate online by visiting or mailing your gift to the Institute.