Umpqua Watersheds Blog

President's Corner

Presidents Corner

Published September 24th, 2019 in President's Corner

Presidents Corner… Ken Carloni

Greetings faithful UW supporters! I’d like to fill you in on some changes happening in our organization.

 

First, I am just beginning my third term as president of UW. I became UW’s second president from 1996-8, and took another turn in that office from 2009-12. I have some ideas about the directions I’d like to see the organization focus on in the coming years that I will share with you in a bit.

 

But first, I’d like to introduce our newest board members! I am pleased to announce that Janice Reid, one the foremost authorities on Northern Spotted Owls in the region and an active UW volunteer for many years, has joined our board. She brings a wealth of scientific expertise and Forest Service agency experience to the organization from over three decades as a Pacific Northwest Research Station Wildlife Biologist, and we are excited to have her join our efforts.

 

We will also be joined by another long-time UW supporter, Mark Eason. Mark is a talented entrepreneur who has spent over four decades as a contractor providing a wide array of ecological services, mostly to government agencies. He is also a current member of the board of the Yew Creek Land Alliance, one of UW’s sister nonprofits dedicated to conserving and restoring 380 beautiful acres straddling the Doe Creek-Thompson Creek divide in southern Douglas County. His business acumen and long history of forest restoration contracting in our region will be a huge asset to UW.

 

We are grateful to have Janice and Mark’s skills and energies on our team! Read more about them and all of our other dedicated board members at https://umpquawatersheds.org/who-we-are/board-of-directors/.

 

Now back to Umpqua Watersheds and our growth as an organization. As faithful readers of this newsletter will know, UW has four major programs that help us further our mission: Conservation, Outreach, Restoration and Education (CORE). These programs have their own co-equal committees, and in our newsletters, you will typically see articles written by the committee chairs associated with each program.

 

For example, Conservation is not only tasked with watchdogging the public’s natural resources and responding to management policies and decisions, but also includes the Wilderness Committee (formerly WOW or “Wild on Wilderness”) whose major goal is to secure more wilderness in the region, and DCPARC whose focus is on county lands.

 

A major goal of the Outreach Program is to inform our members of important issues via this newsletter, Watersheds Moments, open houses and the annual banquet. But Outreach is also tasked with spreading our message to a wider audience via KQUA radio, public forums, UW hikes and other events. They also raise funds to support our staff and building through the fundraisers you all know and love, including the Umpqua Brew Fest, the Banquet and Silent Auction, the Outback concerts, and River Appreciation Day. The Facilities Management Committee organizes a cadre of skilled volunteers who have made dramatic improvements to our aged but solid building.

 

Restoration continues to make great strides to reverse the damage to our battered ecosystems, building partnerships to restore degraded watersheds, lobbying for changes to management practices, raising funds to support conservation science, and working with diverse stakeholders to protect and enhance habitat for species in peril.

 

The Education Program’s major focus is on supporting our AmeriCorps members as they transform K-12 students into knowledgeable citizens of the biosphere through after-school programs, our Youth Wilderness Camp-out and visits by every 5th grader in the county to Crater Lake National Park. Students who have come through our Learn, Earn and Serve program are now doing impressive things in the world and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Education also looks for any opportunity to work with natural resources students in any way we can. Our new AmeriCorps member, Robyn Bath-Rosenfeld, comes to us with a Masters in Environmental Science & Policy and 10+ years of experience in ecology, conservation, environmental outreach and communication (see Robyn’s bio in this newsletter). We believe that she will open new and exciting possibilities for an ecotourism initiative (see the education article in this newsletter).

 

In all of the complex endeavors described above, we rely almost exclusively on volunteers. This means that all of the good work we do gets done through the kindness of friends and neighbors. We also know that many of you would be more generous with your time and/or money if we just asked and made it easier for you to volunteer and to give. That’s why I’ll be recommending to the board at our upcoming strategic planning meeting that we appoint a Membership Chair to form a committee under Outreach to improve connections with our members.

 

Another issue that I will be asking the board to address concerns our budgeting structure. As UW has grown over the years and diversified its initiatives to meet our mission, how we raise, categorize and spend money has become much more complex. Added to this is a change in our Treasurer’s position and a transition to new accounting software. Moreover, owning a building now means we have rents coming in but liabilities to pay for. Deciding how money flows through the organization to fund all of the work outlined above will be a major focus of my next tenure as president. Once that structure is in place, the pathway from strategic plan to a straightforward and transparent annual budget will be much clearer.

 

My overarching goal as your new president is to improve the lines of communication within the organization and outward to our members and allies. We will be working on these issues leading up to our annual strategic planning meeting in late October. I am very much interested in hearing any ideas and suggestions you may have to improve the way things work at UW. Please send your solutions to

ken@umpquawatersheds.org, and you have my heartfelt thanks for your support, in whatever form it comes.