FROM THE PRESIDENT
By Janice Reid
We have a lot to be thankful for in this beautiful valley, especially to our sponsors, donors, and supporters. Big things are happening in every corner of the organization. As you will read in this newsletter, our motion is forward, and our momentum is building. We are especially excited to have Cindy Haws rejoin the organization. In the past, she has been president and Executive Director. She has now agreed to chair the education committee, and what a natural fit. Seamless really. Cindy has already spearheaded numerous educational activities and restoration work in the Umpqua Valley. With the collaboration of Umpqua Watersheds, the education committee has widened its reach in the community.
We’ve held a few events recently, including planting trees on a parcel of land within the devastated area of the Archie Creek Fire of 2020. Martin Luther King Day River Cleanup turnout kept a lot of trash out of our rivers. We wish we could do more. Sometimes it seems that issues in our community do not relate to Umpqua Watersheds and the mission. Although tackling the homeless issue is not one of Umpqua Watersheds’ missions, homelessness negatively impacts our environment and concerns conservation organizations such as Umpqua Watersheds. Many of the homeless in our area live in tents near our waterways. The lack of proper sanitation and refuse disposal is becoming a huge contributor to the degradation of our water quality and, thus, our quality of life. Seeking quiet solitude takes more effort recently to find places to enjoy nature. The number of homeless individuals has noticeably increased in the last few years. Because of the scope of the problem, Umpqua Watersheds lacks the ability to tackle it. Eventually, we have to realize that we, as individuals, cannot do more than we are already doing. We need to do what we can, focus on what we are passionate about, and support others tackling issues we cannot.
In the words of Edward Abby:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”