2020 was many things – “unprecedented”, “extraordinary”, a “new normal”.
This holiday season, as we look back on a year unlike any other, we want to take a moment to reflect on one of the bright spots of 2020: gratitude.
It has been a tough year for many, so our gratitude is not meant to make light of the challenges. Rather, gratitude is the foundation for the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance’s work as a multi-sector, not-for-profit organization. Our work in support of a healthy, dynamic, and sustainable watershed is driven by the commitment and efforts of many people. 2020 has, perhaps more than ever, brought this reality into clearer focus.
We are thankful for the people who have contributed their time and talent. To our Board of Directors, staff, members, committees, partners, and volunteers – your contributions have made a real difference.
We are thankful for the funders and partner organizations that boost our capacity and impact. Our core funders and project-based funders helped us to deliver a broad suite of programs in 2020, including the Stories of the Watershed project, public forums, a riparian mapping project, environmental education, and much more.
We are also thankful for the restorative power of nature and for our dynamic watershed: our rivers, croplands, wetlands, aquifers, forests, riparian areas, and more. Everyday these landscapes provide recreational opportunities and ecosystem services that help filter and store water, manage nutrients, support pollinators, and benefit our communities.
And in 2020, now more than ever, we are thankful for the essential workers who keep the systems that shape our daily lives running – from wastewater operators to agricultural producers, health care providers to dam operators, teachers to truck drivers (and many more).
As the Executive Director of the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, I am proud of the work that the RDRWA accomplished in 2020. We made a film, hosted events, launched a website, issued policy recommendations, and much more. But I’m even more thankful for all of the people who supported and amplified our efforts, and for the hidden heroes who remind us that there is always something to be thankful for. As Mr. Rogers once said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Wishing you all a safe and healthy holiday season. May you find time for some Vitamin N (Nature), exploring the special places of our watershed. Be sure to check out the trailer for our upcoming short film, to catch a glimpse of some of the beautiful landscapes we call home.