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July 27th marks the one-year anniversary I left my roots in Cleveland and planted new ones in Naples, accepting a position as the Friends of Rookery Bay’s first full-time Executive Director. Nearly coinciding with the Friends’ fiscal year, I reflect on the past and look forward to our 32nd year in support of Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

Coming into my new role, I was excited to build on past success while also recognizing the challenge and growing pains transforming a 30-year old organization led by a Board to one that includes a full-time Executive Director. Little did I know that five weeks into my position life would forever change. Yet, for all the terrible impacts of Hurricane Irma, its outcome resonated clear - my new community is strong, resilient, caring and steadfast. Countless actions displayed by Reserve staff left me feeling part of an incredible extended family, a feeling that resonates each and every day at Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

nesting beach 250Ominous clouds hang overhead as we travel a short boat ride from the Reserve’s Ten Thousand Islands Field Station to the Cape Romano Complex. Joined by two Reserve staff members, I recently embarked on my first sea turtle monitoring trip. I wanted to see and learn first-hand what the Friends’ Adopt-A-Sea-Turtle-Nest Program was helping support. Excited about the morning ahead, I would quickly come to learn the joys and challenges the team faces monitoring beaches and protecting nests every day from May 1 to October 31.

Dear Friends,

At the Friends’ Member Meeting in February, I spoke about staff, volunteers and members being one big extended family. Family members support each other, and that support strengthens the family. As the 2018 season in Naples comes to a close, I want to recognize the heart and soul of our family. Since last April, staff have been blessed to work alongside 211 extraordinary volunteers dedicating 14,453 of service, supporting programs and activities for both the Friends and Reserve. To each and every volunteer that has contributed your time, THANK YOU!

A decade ago, Ohio faced a pivotal decision that would affect both the health and financial well-being of future generations. Economics juxtaposed by the environment, or so our counterparts positioned it. At the time, I was working for a statewide non-profit focused on promoting economically and environmentally sustainable energy policies and practices. Roughly 90% of Ohio’s electricity was being generated by coal-fired power plants. The Ohio Senate was debating a new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that would diversify our electrical generation portfolio through an investment in renewables. Very few thought we’d be successful in passing a state RPS. But our adversaries forgot one extremely important fact that has changed the course of history over and over again: the power of people and OUR collective voice.

February 13, 2018

It’s déjà vu all over again, but this time, we’re ready.

We did it last year.
We’ll do it again.
The Reserves get by with a little help from their Friends.

President Trump’s administration released its FY19 budget blueprint yesterday, and once again, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System that supports Rookery Bay and 28 other Reserves around the country has been ZEROED OUT.

Last year’s reversal of the zeroed out budget was made possible by people of all political beliefs in communities speaking out individually and collectively with local Reserve Friends groups to members of Congress showing their love and support for estuaries.

January 10, 2018

Happy New Year! I hope all family and friends of Rookery Bay Research Reserve had a wonderful holiday season and that your 2018 is off to a great start!

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to share Rookery Bay Research Reserve with a number of out of town friends and family members. We explored the Reserve walking among exhibits at the Environmental Learning Center and by kayak and boat through guided trips led by Reserve naturalists. Each of the trips was unique, both in areas explored and information shared about this incredible ecosystem. From science and environmental issues to cultural and historical context, the trips provided my family and friends a wide array of experiences and takeaways.

December 14, 2018

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) comprises a network of 29 coastal sites around the country designated to protect and study estuarine systems with the support of federal and state agencies as well as local communities. Managers of these NERRS from departments of research, education, training, and stewardship came together at the November Annual Meeting hosted by the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in TX. The meeting served as both a training opportunity and decision-making gathering focused on developing program strategies, and long-and-short-term plans for all the NERRS.

November 8, 2017

It is with great enthusiasm that I share news of the Friends of Rookery Bay’s (FORB) new membership opportunities. Since August, we’ve been evaluating FORB’s membership plans and working to enhance benefits. To everyone that currently supports FORB through your membership - thank you! To lapsed members and those interested in engaging more with FORB and Rookery Bay Research Reserve, I encourage you to view our new offerings. Membership plans are designed to benefit students, families, and individuals at a variety of levels. We’ve even expanded our offerings to include corporate membership plans, which will formally recognize FORB’s business partners and provide perks for their employees. Enjoy reduced rates on programs, boat tour gift certificates, select pre-registration to events such as the upcoming Festival of Birds (members can register Nov. 25; the public can register Dec. 1), and discounts at our Nature Store.

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