Lenore P. Tedesco, PhD, a professor of Earth Science and director of the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, has been named executive director at the Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor.

Dr. Tedesco will begin her Wetlands Institute career in October upon the retirement of Cindy O’Connor who has served as the executive director for 27 years.

In announcing O’Connor’s retirement, Wayne Renneisen, chairman of the board of trustees at the Wetlands Institute, detailed a list of accomplishments under her leadership that includes membership growth from 250 members to 3,000, a nationally recognized terrapin conservation program, increased visits from students and the acclaimed Wings n’ Water Festival. Building expansion and improvements during O’Connor’s tenure include a library, aquarium facilities, a classroom adjacent to the dock and a $1.2 million entrance that is ADA compliant, restrooms, kitchen, additional administrative space and classrooms.

Tedesco earned her doctorate from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, in 1991. “Dr. Tedesco has extraordinary qualifications as an environmentalist, a research scientist and an educator,” Renneisen said, and added that O’Connor will continue as a consultant to the new director through the end the year and will continue to be available in that capacity in 2012.

Click here for Dr. Tedesco’s vision statement for the Wetlands Institute


Below please find a note from the Chairman of the Board, Wayne Renneisen

Chairman’s Message from the Autumn 2011 Newsletter

By the time this message appears in our Newsletter, many of our readers will know that Cindy O’Connor will be retiring as our Executive Director onOctober 3, 2011.  Following a search process that began with the Board of Trustees asking, “How do we find Cindy’s successor?” and continuing for more than a year, Lenore Tedesco, Ph.D. was retained as our new Executive Director.  In the coming months, I hope that most of you will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Tedesco and to learn about her vision for our future.  Dr. Tedesco has extraordinary qualifications as an environmentalist, a research scientist and an educator.

Cindy O’Connor has been the Executive Director of the Wetlands Institute for more than 27 years.  During that time, Cindy’s leadership was invaluable.  An unused attic was transformed into a handsome library.  We expanded our buildings by adding theDillerBuilding(housing the aquarium), the fire tower extension on the north end of the building, the Herd classroom adjacent to the dock and a $1.2 million entrance extension giving us anADAcompliant entrance, new restrooms, a new kitchen, additional administrative space, and more classrooms.

27 years ago we had 250 members.  That number has grown to 3,000.  When Cindy took office, we had limited programs to educate visiting school children – now we have 6,000 to 8,000 students arriving by bus for environmental education in the fall and spring.  Educational outreach has been developed along with more and better summer nature classes.  Our 20 year old Terrapin Conservation Project is nationally known.  Graduates from our summer intern program hold research and educational positions throughout the world.  Cindy founded the nationally acclaimed Wings ‘n Water Festival, most of our annual special events and over the years, a cadre of over 200 volunteers.  Clearly, Cindy and her staff, including Dr. Wood, have set the stage for a glorious future.

On my behalf and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I sincerely thank Cindy O’Connor for her years of service and all that she has done for the Wetlands Institute.  However, it is not time to say good-bye.  Cindy has agreed to act as a consultant to the new Executive Director until the end of 2011.  She will be available in that capacity in 2012.  I truly hope that Cindy will remain involved with the Wetlands Institute for years to come.

Wayne Renneisen
Chairman of the Board