Dear Friends of the Fishers Island Conservancy,
In spite of a schedule upended by COVID, this year has been remarkable for FI Conservancy in important ways. We are grateful to the entire Fishers Island community for responding with vigor to support our work.
When we called off our annual invasive plant removal program with the University of Delaware, 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. 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, and while we didn’t make up the entire loss of “Sunset”, your donations helped fill the gap and are enormously appreciated.
We were able to continue our annual Audubon migratory bird counts in May and September with masks and 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 collaborating with the Henry L. Ferguson Museum on the Eelgrass Management Program concerning waters around Fishers Island, and we’re working with FIDCO on the Middle Farms parcel where our newly-planted American chestnut trees are thriving.
Fishers Island School oceanography students are engaging in environmental learning using a new fluorometer to measure phytoplankton population density, purchased through a grant we provided.
And, as of September 2020, we removed 9,715 pounds of waste from our shoreline through our Marine Debris collection program.
These efforts would not be possible without your ongoing help.
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 see 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 the last one left October 8, or so I think. Throughout this disruption, nature never missed a beat. All my time on the Island this year has solidified what I already knew: Fishers Island is a very special and distinctive slice of the environment and must be protected.
So, as we come to the end of 2020, please don’t forget Fishers Island. Please give generously. A gift to the Fishers Island Conservancy is a gift to Fishers Island.
Thank you for your support.