FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
To many of us, the past two years have seemed more like five. While we have continued to work hard to fulfill the mission of Umpqua Watersheds and have accomplished so much in the process, not being able to have regular in-person events where we can meet with our supporters has taken a toll on all of us in the organization. Finally, it appears that things are getting better and that very soon we will be able to create a new normal. As I mentioned a year ago, I couldn’t be prouder of how UW volunteers and staff have responded to the challenges of the pandemic and feel we are coming out of the pandemic much stronger than when we went into it.
One of the critical committees of Umpqua Watersheds is the grant committee. Over the last two years, we have written several successful grants and I feel confident that we will double our funding support through grants for our programs this year. It takes a lot of information and a team effort to write a successful grant. Melanie MacKinnon, our Office Manager and Grant Coordinator has been invaluable in organizing our online grant resources and helping us stay organized and focused on following through with reports related to grants. Mark Eason, our treasurer, has also played a very important role by helping us to provide critical financial information and working with team members to create budgets. Each committee develops projects that support our mission and appeal to grant funders. It is exciting when one of our projects gets funded and especially exciting when we get support for operations because nothing could happen without our paid staff. For each of the grants we write, it takes between 20-40 hours to develop a program, carry out research, and coordinate elements with committees.
As I write this update, Ryan Kinkaid is putting the final touches on an Oregon Community Foundation grant that will dramatically expand the Kids for Nature program created by Emily Cannon, a 10-year old who won first place in the Eco Innovations Challenge program that Ryan created in 2021. When we are writing grants, the group is exchanging emails, phone calls, and texts in order to get it just right, and once submitted, we all take a collective huge breath of relief. I don’t have adequate words to express my appreciation for everything Ryan does except to say I am very proud of her. We are anxiously waiting to hear if grants submitted earlier this year to support our radio station, KQUA, will be funded.
We applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a noncommercial education radio license last fall, and we are very excited that it was approved. This will allow us to dramatically expand the reach of our terrestrial signal from a 10-mile radius of downtown Roseburg to the entire Umpqua basin! It will also enable us to pay our volunteer program manager, Patrick Schneider, and provide much more original programming in addition to excellent music for our listeners. The station will continue to be available over the internet, but with the antenna on a tower on Scott Mountain most people in the Umpqua will be able to tune in on their car radios.
We have also submitted grants that will support the development of a multimedia conference room and radio studio. This will help to expand the breadth and variety of our programs. It will also enable us to provide these resources to other nonprofits and individuals in the community, and by doing so find ways of leveraging our shared resources to make a difference in our beloved community and to the beautiful natural resources that make the Umpqua a special place to live.
We will keep you posted on our projects with our monthly Watershed Moments and at upcoming events. As always, we greatly appreciate your support and all of us are looking forward to seeing you soon. Thank you!