I want to thank each and every one of you for the critical role you play in making our work possible. This past year demonstrated that with perseverance and dedication we will thrive. From the Rocky Mountains to the Colorado River Delta, we’re all connected, and I am filled with a renewed sense of purpose to see communities unite and celebrate the natural beauty around us.
Every trip I take to the Colorado River Delta fills me with awe and a new sense of appreciation for the scale of what we’ve already accomplished. This year we opened our Laguna Grande Interpretive Center at our restoration site–definitely an occasion that called for a party! Over one hundred people representing the local community, government agencies, nations, donors, and Sonoran Institute staff, family and friends gathered along the Colorado River in Mexico. Watching the Cucapah ceremony that blessed both our work and our beautiful new facility was unforgettable. The day after the party we got right back to work and planted 1,200 trees in just a few hours! Tree plantings have been part of our “Family Saturday” events, which have become so popular that even after expanding the program to six times a year we have a waiting list of eager participants.
Have you heard that our Santa Cruz River work is winning awards? Our collaborative Living River project with Pima County and the Regional Flood Control District received the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Public Information and Education. Our work was also recognized locally in Tucson by Metropolitan Pima Alliance Common Ground as a project that celebrates a collaborative spirit. We’re setting the example of building partnerships to achieve positive outcomes for all, and I’m so proud that the hard work and dedication of the Sonoran Institute team is improving the lives of the people in this community.
This year our Colorado Growing Water Smart series trained over 80 community representatives and impacted the lives of over 1 million Coloradans. But we’re not stopping there. With your continued support we will assist 24 additional communities covering more than 20% of the state’s population by the end of 2019. We’ve also added webinars to our toolkit at ResilientWest.org which increases the number of communities we can help exponentially. We’re committed to helping Colorado reach its Water Plan goals and we’ll be there guiding and supporting Colorado communities as they become more water resilient.
We faced many challenges in 2018 but we met them head on and the results fill me with gratitude. Once again we proved that the Sonoran Institute model of collaboration and civil discourse is the best way to connect people and communities with the natural resources that nourish and sustain us all. We are stronger when we stand together. We know this, and we embrace it in everything we do.
Your appreciation for the immeasurable beauty of our landscapes, and your dedication to protecting our precious natural resources make it possible for us to provide a space where everyone who has a stake in the future of the North American West is welcome. You are a vital part of our effort. You are at the heart of everything we do. Thank you and Happy New Year.
Blog Post By: Stephanie Sklar, Sonoran Institute
Stephanie Sklar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sonoran Institute.