Copper River Record January 2015
By Janelle Eklund
It is January 1, 2015. A few days ago a semi-warm wind blew in carried by its own currents from warmer regions releasing thick globs of snow from heavily laden trees. Branches that once lay over passageways popped up straight as if suddenly awakening from a long sleep. Tree snow tracks made big indents around their feet. White-winged crossbills, grosbeaks and chickadees left behind spruce cone tidbits from daily feasts in the tops of spruce trees. The spruce trees are offering an abundance of cones this year and the birds are taking advantage of the bounty. I have seen more birds this year than I have in a fair amount of years. The crumbs from their pickings are scattered on top of the snow like fallen leaves of autumn.
As I reflect on the bounty the trees are giving I am grateful for the bounty of richness we have seen in Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment. In 1999 the idea of WISE was just being born. I can't believe that was fifteen years ago - how time flies! The knowledge cones on the WISE tree have multiplied over the years and many participants have flocked to the programs and joined in the feast of knowledge.
Here at WISE we are grateful for all those who are making the feast bigger and better each year: the participants, sponsors, donors, partners, volunteers, and staff. Each WISE executive director and other staff have contributed golden cones from their stash of knowledge; each sponsor and donor has provided the support to keep the feast going; each partner has brought a main dish of knowledge and support; each volunteer has given a heart of help and preparation; and each participant has absorbed the feast of knowledge to carry it forward.
In 2014 the WISE tree made leaps and bounds in feeding its mission. Executive Director, Robin Mayo Underwood completed the Foraker Certificate in Non-Profit Management. This big cone of knowledge gave her the tools to grow and nurture the organization. Donations and sponsorships increased, correlating directly to upgraded and new programs and partner participation. For a sneak preview from the annual report, total revenue for the year was $121,164 with expenses at $114,530. The Bruce James memorial scholarship fund brought in $1,400. The annual report summarizes the programs, other events and projects, new programs, capacity building, financial report, funders, and what to look forward to in 2015. View it online at www.wise-edu.org or if you would like a copy call the office at 822-3575. If you haven't received the new 'classy newsletter' you can also view it online or call for a copy.
WISE has two seats open on the Board of Directors. We are recruiting for nominations. If you are interested in throwing your nomination into the hat and joining our mission of providing science and environmental education please call the office for more information.
Thanks to all who nourish the WISE tree of life where the wise 'ol owl makes its home and the cones of knowledge keep on growing. All the best for the new year.
From my light to yours-
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.