2020-2021 Annual Appeal Letter
Dear Friends of the Fishers Island Conservancy:
It’s hard to believe that the warmth of summer has so quickly turned into the crisp air of autumn. In spite of a schedule upended by COVID, this year has been remarkable for the Conservancy in important ways. Dealing with canceled events and disrupted plans, we are gratified that the Fishers Island community responded with vigor to support the Conservancy.
When we called off our annual invasive plant removal program with the University of Delaware, local folks rolled up their sleeves and got to work in the John Thatcher Native Garden. Volunteers also mowed six-foot paths in the Parade Grounds to allow proper distancing for walkers. Picnic tables were placed throughout the sanctuary to allow for small groups to gather safely. Again, with help from the community, work continued in the Thatcher Garden. Under the direction of Dianne Crary, the garden has never been in better shape, as it continues to grow in size and scope with native grasses, shrubs and trees.
Sadly, we canceled our annual fundraiser, “Sunset on the Beach” as well as our family-friendly Nature Days program. While we expected the worst financially, again Fishers Island came through. Hearing our midsummer plea, the community rallied generously. While we didn’t make up the entire loss of “Sunset”, your donations helped fill the gap and are enormously appreciated. We remain cautiously optimistic “Sunset” will return next summer, so stay tuned.
We were able to continue our annual Audubon migratory bird counts in May and September with masks, as well as field glasses. We spotted 44 separate species in the spring and 39 in the fall, logging a record number of raptors in September. Both counts were well-attended and great fun.
Our Island Sentinels program is advancing under the leadership of Stephanie Hall to inform and educate the younger generation in environmental and scientific observation, as well as sustainability and habitat restoration. We are also collaborating with other Island entities, including the Henry L. Ferguson Museum on the Eel Grass Management Program concerning waters around Fishers Island. Watch for more news on that as we approach the spring.
On March 12, I came to Fishers for the weekend and mostly haven’t left. This gift of time offered a chance to slow down and watch the seasons unfold. I felt lucky to watch a slate gray sky in April deliver yellow Warblers, first one, then hundreds, and swallows pitching and diving as they inspected bird boxes on the Parade Grounds. The first osprey showed up March 18, and last one left October 8, or so I think. Throughout all of this disruption, nature never missed a beat. All my time here has solidified what I already knew: Fishers Island is a very special and sensitive slice of the environment and must be protected.
So during these indescribably difficult times, please don’t forget Fishers Island. Please give generously. A gift to the Fishers Island Conservancy is a gift to Fishers Island. Thank you so much!