Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Padilla Bay Research Symposium Success

In her post on Wednesday, February 8th, Kay Reinhardt mentioned the Research Symposium to take place at Padilla Bay Reserve. According to Padilla Bay Reserve Manager, Terry Stevens, it was a huge success. Following is an email update he sent out after the event.

"I want to express my appreciation and a hearty congratulations to all for a
tremendous and professional job in organizing, participating, administering
and carrying-out Wednesday's Research Symposium. It took a team effort and
it all came together perfectly. From the comments I heard from participants
there was widespread enthusiasm with the range of topics, quality of
presentations, accommodations, logistics, and (of course) lunch. We may have
started something with this event and we should discuss this opportunity in
the near future. It was certainly satisfying to see the size of the crowd
with even the overflow seats being occupied. A sincere thank-you to the PB
Foundation and Shell Oil Puget Sound Refinery for their sponsorship and

For more information on this event, leave a comment or contact Kay directly. Thanks for sending the update Kay!

Photos taken by Cathy Angel during the event.
Above - Dr. Apple, Dr. Ron Thom (Battelle Labs & our keynote
speaker), and Dr. Doug Bulthuis (PB research coordinator)
Below - Dr. Jude Apple (PB Foundation & WWU) making introductory remarks

Monday, February 20, 2012

Joyner Stepping Down as President of Laudholm Trust

Diana Joyner, president of the Laudholm Trust, the fundraising partner of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, is stepping down from her position in June.

According to Bruce Read, chair of the Trust board, in an article on the Wells Reserve at Laudholm web site:

"Four years ago, Diana stepped off of our board and into the interim president position at a critical time in the history of the Trust,” notes Read. “The economy had softened and we needed someone with distinct leadership skills at the helm. Diana did such an outstanding job, we asked her to stay aboard for a few more years. Under her leadership, the organization has not only grown, it’s thrived.”

Read the full article for more information on Diana's accomplishments.

If you had the opportunity to meet Diana, you know she is strong leader and also a friend. As she steps down from her position, she will be missed by not only the Laudholm community but also all of us at NERRA and throughout the NERRS who had the opportunity to meet and work with her.

The board's search committee is now accepting online applications. Interested individuals can learn more about the position and the application process by visiting the Wells Reserve at Laudholm website at www.wellsreserve.org. Diana will assist with the transition.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

President's Budget: NERRS Program Reduced

The President's budget has been released and we are disappointed to announce that the NERRS program was reduced.

  • Operations are at $19M
  • Procurement, Acquisition, Construction (PAC) was zero-funded

It appears that the President is directing the reductions to come from program operations. This means the push at the congressional level - to educate on the importance of the program - will be essential in the coming months and year ahead. NERRA will continue to work with Senators and Congressional Representatives on Appropriations Committees and will be looking for support on these efforts.

In the words of NERRA President Dave Ruple "...The budget process is just beginning! Though the starting point may not be desirable, through the legislative budget process is where WE have an opportunity to make a difference and affect the final FY13 numbers."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clarifying of Purpose

Colleagues at Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve,
It's great to know you are strategically planning as a well rounded team. We at Padilla Bay Foundation are committed to a retreat for re-purposing; utilizing funds we were awarded in a grant administered by the National Environmental Education Foundation in sync with Toyota Motor Sales of America ... "Every Day Grants". A small purse, but specifically for use in capacity building of the awarded non-profit. After a decade of fund raising to help grow the Padilla Bay Reserve's facilities, we are working with our Reserve Director, Terry Stevens, as well as leads from Research & Monitoring, Stewardship Coordination, Education Coordination, Coastal Training Program and Facilities Maintenance to identify areas of need as the budgets both nationally and at state-level shrink. We are embarking on a new era of support for the Reserve with a different focus. One of our achievements is in having garnered financial support to underwrite the costs of an all day Research Symposium to be held a week from today. A long overdue undertaking. We will have 100 guests here to listen to 12 presenters having done research at Padilla Bay as well as a keynote speaker. We will undoubtedly have some citizen scientists in the audience. Everyone is excited to be sharing the nuanced work being done in the bay with the community. I send along my best wishes for the GTM Reserve to reap the benefits of the foundation and volunteer group's heartfelt work on its behalf. I'll report back on our plans for a board retreat when they gel. You've inspired me all over again!

Taking a Step Back to Step Forward "Smarter"

by Angie Christensen, Board Member, Friends of GTM

The GTM Research Reserve (short-speak for the Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR in Ponte Vedra, Florida) is supported, like many NERRs, by the efforts of a Friends group. Working hand in hand with the staff and volunteers of the Reserve, the Friends organization helps with funding efforts and is dedicated to the stewardship, education and research efforts undertaken by the Reserve. This January, we gathered in a unique way, having decided to dedicate part of one weekend to a detailed discussion of our mission, goals, objectives and tactics for executing against those. In other words, under the leadership of Board president Christine Rich, we embarked on a kind of mini-retreat, aiming for a clear perspective. We took a step back. Of course it's early days yet, but in the short time that's passed, that short step back seems to have re-energized us, underpinned our relationships, helped solidify understanding of roles and responsibilities, and renewed our commitment to our work as Board members.

We began with cocktails at a favorite local restaurant on a Friday evening, an informal, relaxing event that allowed us a chance to know one another better. Because we're a diverse Board, reflective of the large geographic area encompassed by the Reserve, some of us know each other pretty well; some are newcomers and some have both history and perspective. This informal opportunity to know our colleagues better bore fruit later in the session, as some relationships and committees began to take on more definition later in our sessions. A couple of key members of the Reserve's staff were able to join us, including director Dr. Mike Shirley and Volunteer Coordinator Carly Swatek. Oh, and by the way...it was fun!

The real working session was the next day, and included the same group (Board members as well as staff). We began with some things that seem very fundamental, but of which our knowledge was a bit uneven, discussing our mission and deepening our understanding of the roles played by each "leg" of our three-legged stool-type composition, with a view to the roles played by the Friends Board and membership, the staff, including educators, research scientists, and more, and the key role played by the diverse body of volunteers we're so fortunate to have. We delved into the expectations of each of our committees, reminding ourselves of the duties and looking for ways to enhance our effectiveness. And we talked about the interaction models for the committees with each other and with the larger Board, again looking for growth and development opportunities.

It was a day of hard team work, honest conversation, and dedicated collaboration, and it was a chance to step back in unison to consider our way forward together. As a member new to the Board AND the marketing committee, with a special interest in development of social media, it provided me with unique insights and perspective, and helped me prepare for some ambitious plans for the coming year. It challenged me to think about some familiar topics through a new lens. For instance, a comment from one of the Board members, herself a college professor with a doctorate in her field, prompted me to tweet about "citizen science". I included a hash tag "#CitizenScience" and became part of a much larger discussion (many thanks, Dr. Melissa Southwell!), one I hope to see continuing as we continue to grow and mature in our journey together. It was an excellent investment of time and teamwork, positioning us for the smartest possible steps forward for our NERR and Friends board.

Lots of work awaits us in the coming year, and I'd love to keep you posted on how we're doing. Meanwhile, any others out there doing anything similar? A Board retreat? A planning session for your NERR's upcoming calendar year or longer-range 3- or 5-year plans? As always, it's impossible to overstate the opportunities for shared learning, so bring on those comments, folks!