It’s December 31, 2020 – the end of a year that has been incredibly challenging for our country and our world. I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I wanted to thank all of you for your incredible support this year. You have truly made a difference!
I started in the position of Director of Development & Programming in May 2020 – smack dab in the middle of the lockdown. It’s not easy to get to know people in the middle of a raging pandemic, but everyone at Avalonia was really welcoming, kind, and helpful. I was struck by the fact that, even though we were not providing basic services like food assistance, Avalonia was supporting the community during the pandemic by providing beautiful outdoor open space to enjoy. Our regional land trust helped thousands of people this year by relieving their stress, increasing their connection to nature, offering them a place to find peace.
I have also been so impressed with our supporters and volunteers! If you are not aware, Avalonia has many committees that meet regularly to keep things running smoothly. I won’t be able to list everything that every committee does, but here are some highlights.
First, our Board of Directors is filled with energetic people with tons of experience, knowledge, and passion for this work – they work constantly to both guide and grow Avalonia.
Our Communications committee puts out the awesome newsletter that our members get each year. The Stewardship Committee manages the stewardship of our preserves, while the Town Committees in each town do incredible work building and maintaining trails. This was especially apparent after Tropical Storm Isaias, when I watched our Town Committees and our Tree Team mobilize to address fallen trees and blocked trails. Within days, all the issues across our preserves had been addressed!
Avalonia has continued to conserve land, thanks to the hard work of the Acquisition Committee, which has resulted in closing on several properties in Ledyard, North Stonington, and Norwich. They are supported by our truly amazing Development Committee, which has tirelessly fundraised to support our efforts. Plus, we were able to launch our first annual Great Avalonia Trail Trek, which raised money for Avalonia and got people out on our trails. (In fact, because of the Development Committee and our Great Avalonia Trail Trek Planning Committee, we have successfully paid off the Conservation Fund loan for the TriTown Forest Preserve, five months ahead of schedule!) And of course, both the Acquisition and Development Committees work closely with the Finance Committee to make sure that our money is managed properly. You can be confident that your donations are used wisely and well!
In addition to all of these committees, we are also lucky to have some wonderful volunteers filling specific roles, like our fantastic graphic designers , our wonderful GIS map creator, and our terrific website manager.
And, last but certainly not least, there are the warm-hearted people who support Avalonia with contributions throughout the year. I have been so overwhelmed by the continuing support and passion that all of you have for helping save our planet. We could not do this work without you and we are deeply grateful for every donation that comes in.
I’m excited and hopeful for 2021. We have some wonderful projects in front of us that will allow us to take more of a leadership role to address climate change through forest management, provide more educational opportunities for our visitors, promote diversity, equity and inclusion on our preserves, and of course, conserve more land for future generations.
So thank you for a great first eight months! I’m grateful for all of the people that I met this year and I hope that I will meet more of you in 2021. Happy New Year!
Very best regards,
P.S. Because I am the Director of Development, I am genetically coded to include a fundraising request, so….it’s your last day to support Avalonia in 2020 – please click below to donate or join today! 🙂