Executive Director Update Winter 2023
By Kasey Hovik
On December 2nd, the Umpqua Watersheds Board of Directors and Staff held our Annual Strategic Planning Meeting. It’s a great opportunity to spend time together and reflect on what our committees have accomplished over the past year, how those accomplishments align with the existing Strategic Plan, and what adjustments, if any, to make to the Plan.
I can’t properly express my appreciation for our Board and Staff. I’ve had the privilege to work with most of them for over ten years, and every year, our group can accomplish more together despite the many challenges we face as a small, underfunded conservation nonprofit organization. Many of the 4,000 volunteer hours logged in 2023 came from people gathered around the table. The group also makes up our organization’s top 10% of donors. Most of us are now retired and have busy lives beyond Umpqua Watersheds. Still, we keep returning because of our passionate love for the Umpqua Basin, our community, and our desire to make a positive difference.
Another reason we keep returning and trying to do more is our friendships with each other, our members, and many others who serve our community in one way or another. The camaraderie we feel is special.
We are a well-traveled group and have seen places of unimaginable beauty, but we come home to the Umpqua, realizing just how special the Umpqua is. It makes us more determined than ever to protect, restore, and celebrate it.
We also realize that what we are doing could be more sustainable. We need to add to our membership, increase our support, and find new leaders to move the organization forward for the years to come because the challenges we face to protect the ecosystems of the Umpqua are more challenging and complex than ever before. We need to do a better job of “telling our story,” reaching out beyond our community, and connecting with more foundations to support our important work to protect, restore, explore, and celebrate the ecosystems of the Umpqua Watershed.
As discussed in the Outreach article in this newsletter, we plan to increase our outreach, add more people, increase the organization’s diversity, find additional revenue streams to support operations and bring new leadership to Umpqua Watersheds. One of the things I am excited about is that we will have a monthly gathering downtown to check in with our supporters, talk about our work and issues we are facing, and get feedback and ideas.
Thank you for your support in 2023. We wish you special times with family and friends during the holiday season and look forward to the good work we’ll do together for the Umpqua in 2024.