Umpqua Watersheds Blog

Executive Director

Connecting The Dots

Published June 9th, 2024 in Executive Director

Executive Director’s Update

by Kasey Hovik

One key to creating a sustainable organization is being able to make connections inside and outside of it. For over 29 years, the collective efforts of the dedicated staff, passionate volunteers, and committed members of Umpqua Watersheds have established community connections through a variety of programs that emphasize environmental conservation, education, and advocacy. The committee chairs, who are an integral part of this collective effort, highlight these programs in the articles in this newsletter.

While Umpqua Watersheds is a small organization compared to many of our sister environmental conservation organizations in Eugene, Ashland, and Portland, we can accomplish so much because of our connections in our community, with our members, and with partner organizations. We also work hard to ensure our core committees of Conservation, Outreach, Wilderness, Education, and Restoration coordinate to maximize our impact. Many of our members sit on multiple committees, which helps ensure continuity and effective resource use.

Our recent work with the Eastwood Nature Days week-long program in May is an excellent example of how our committees work together. When we learned that the program, which has been going on for over 20 years, might be ending because of the retirement of a key member, long-time educator, and administrator, Jeff Plummer, we reached out to him and volunteered to take over the program.

Julie Lowe, our AmeriCorps Environmental Education and Outreach Leader, took the lead on recruiting teachers within and outside of Umpqua Watersheds to teach one of the nine daily sessions for 3rd-grade students from all schools in the Roseburg District. Board President and Conservation Chair Janice Reid taught a session on old-growth ecosystems.

Board Vice President and Restoration Chair, Ken Carloni, taught a session about oak trees. Education Chair, Cindy Haws, taught a session about how water flows through the watershed using the stream table. Wilderness Committee member, Susan Applegate, taught a session about pioneer life and beavers. Board Secretary and Wilderness Committee Chair, Diana Pace, worked at the registration and information table. The Executive Director and Outreach Chair worked with Julie Lowe and Jeff Plummer to plan the event, coordinate with teachers and school administrators, and reach out to sponsors and sister organizations.

With the invaluable support of Umpqua Watersheds members and our partner organizations, including the Umpqua Valley Audubon Society, we were able to provide over 450 3rd graders with a unique learning experience about natural ecosystems and their role in sustaining our planet. Each of our committees was strengthened by the connections that were made and the insights gained in the process of the event. Umpqua Watersheds received great coverage, including the front page of the News Review and news segments on two local stations.

Over the last three years, we have shared our resources with sister organizations, such as our multimedia conference room, promos on our radio station, events on our stage, and co-sponsoring events and activities in our community. In the process we have created connections to these organizations and our programs have grown while we have maximized our resources. Most importantly, Umpqua Watersheds has gained increased exposure and support from our community in ways we could not have imagined a few years ago.

By integrating education, engagement, advocacy, and conservation, Umpqua Watersheds creates robust community connections that promote a collective commitment to environmental stewardship in the 100 Valleys of the Umpqua Watershed.



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