EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
By Kasey Hovik
As we head into a new year, it is always amazing to look back at the events, activities, and hard work that the Staff, Board of Directors, and our committees have accomplished over the past year. Umpqua Watersheds is driven by the work of our committees — Conservation, Wilderness, Outreach, Restoration, and Education.
Our Committees and Staff review and update our Strategic Plan every November. Part of this process involves looking back to see what we have achieved and tracking the progress we are making on our long-term goals to sustain the organization in years to come. I am happy to report that we are making steady progress in developing programs, projects, and events to achieve the mission of Umpqua Watersheds. Once again, we had over 4,000 hours of volunteer work that made this happen in addition to the great work of our staff.
One of the major goals this past year was to increase our efforts to grow by collaborating with partners in the community and using our building, facilities, and KQUA radio station to support collaborators and our community. We have created a multimedia conference room that has been used for several events and presentations, as well as for meetings of collaboratives that we are involved in. We continue to use KQUA to provide great music entertainment, and original programming, to inform the community about our programs and events as well as those of our partners. Our collaboration with Umpqua Valley Audubon Society (UVAS) is huge for both organizations as we can share space. UW AmeriCorps member, Jessica Sexton, and UVAS AmeriCorps member, Tracy Maxwell, work closely together to support education and outreach programs for both organizations.
In 2023, we will significantly expand our footprint through two major projects under the umbrella of a plan we call “Operation Access”. The goal is to increase our ability to utilize our facilities and radio station to hold more community events in and outside of our building and reach more of the community by increasing the signal strength of KQUA. We will be working closely with neighbors Old Soul Pizza to utilize our whole parking lot by constructing a balcony at the back of the building, reconstructing the shed so it will have a flat roof, and building a covered stage that will incorporate the width of the parking lot. When we are finished this will enable us to have indoor and outdoor events downtown as opposed to renting space for those events in other areas. We will also make our space available to partners and community groups to hold concerts, presentations, and movies.
These plans will require a lot of work and financial resources. We are in the process of writing major grants to support the project, with several of our partners providing letters of support for the project, and soliciting volunteers to help make it happen. We will keep you updated on progress in our monthly Watershed Moments and quarterly newsletters. Thank you for your support. We wish you all Happy Holidays and hope the coming New Year will bring us many opportunities to do good work together.