President’s Message: 2020
As I watch Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks and Kestrels hover over beaches and meadows, I am reassured that once again, the fanfare of spring has arrived, transforming our Island into a glorious oasis.
The Fishers Island Conservancy (FIConservancy) has been an important partner in sustaining and enhancing this delicate ecosystem with ongoing stewardship and oversight. As we celebrate 35 years of supporting the island, we find ourselves facing unforeseen challenges that require a new approach to outreach and planning.
Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of the entire Fishers Island community. With that in mind, we have canceled “Sunset on the Beach” for 2020. This will significantly impact our fundraising goals. But we are already looking forward to July 17, 2021, when we will continue this great and much-anticipated tradition. We remain committed to providing family-centered (and socially distanced) events as we move through the summer, including Nature Days in August and a showing of the movie Big Little Farm.
Our ongoing projects continue at full throttle, such as this year’s Audubon-structured migratory bird count May 2, when we happily counted 44 different species, despite our masks and gloves. Also, our partnership with FIDCO is on track as we renew badly-damaged micro-environments at targeted spots around the island.
Other active FIConservancy initiatives include guiding students in our Island Sentinels program, partnering with off-island organizations to lobby for environmental best practices, sponsoring the pump out boat in West Harbor, and allocating grants, one of which recently led a Fishers Island School student to first place in a prestigious science fair.
One aspect of life that COVID-19 can’t change is the magnificent beauty this island affords its residents. It’s more important than ever to take time to appreciate the enduring gifts that nature bestows on this small corner of the world. Take a moment to stroll through the Parade Grounds during a summer sunset or sit in the John Thatcher Native Garden (formerly the Demonstration Garden) and watch the local birds take wing. We will be providing socially distanced picnic tables beneath the black gum trees to enhance your enjoyment.
Please know that FIConservancy is still working hard to sustain and enhance our island’s natural resources, even though we are battling a significant reduction in our fundraising dollars. We deeply appreciate any donations you can give to help cover the shortfall due to the loss of “Sunset On the Beach.” A donation to the FIConservancy is a donation to Fishers Island.
Many thanks and please stay safe and healthy.
For the Conservancy,
Tom Sargent, President