A Message from the President

Posted on November 30, 2016

November 2016

Dear Friends,

On Columbus Day, I hiked up Mount Kearsarge in Warner to see the spectacular fall colors.  The mountain was packed with families and friends, all walking at different paces.  As I watched the leaves fall, I remembered that nothing is static; my shiny new title and role as NH Audubon President is already seasoning and I am edging closer to my first 100 days.  It’s time for me to share some reflections on my vision for our future together, and where my attentions will focus in the coming years ahead.

Nature has value.  We all recognize this.  We are connected to nature, and each other, because of shared values.  We share something that has connected us to nature, whether it is birds, or hunting, or fishing, or hiking.  Whatever your story, it is likely that your time in nature is enriched by sharing that experience with other people.  These shared experiences, these connections to nature and to people are so wonderfully tied together in our mission:  Protecting New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people.

New Hampshire’s residents deserve a strong NH Audubon because as a statewide independent organization we are unique in what we offer, and how we achieve success. I want to make sure that as we do our work for birds and other wildlife, we all remember that our strength and purpose are for people.  It is because of people like you that we can do our important work.  Our shared values are the reason our volunteers donated over 21,000 hours of service to NH Audubon last year. That’s nearly 12 years of volunteer time in one year!!  That is astounding, and wonderful.

Tudor Richards wrote in 1964 that NH Audubon was getting more media coverage on TV and radio.  He wrote about field trips to his beloved Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary.  He reflected on how birds were our best indicators of environmental health.  He was concerned about rapid habitat loss and conversion.  He wrote that “the next 50 years are going to be the hardest, but let’s all face up to this.”  His words were, of course, prescient.

NH Audubon’s work is as critical now as it was 53 years ago.  Who else in New Hampshire is as uniquely qualified to influence state and federal policy supported by wildlife and environmental science?  Who else runs state-wide environmental education programs every week informed by the best wildlife and environmental science?  Who else has a network of lands that offer the platform for monitoring changes in our wildlife and our environment?

It is in this spirit that I will work to unify our programs and facilities and chapters under the banner of One NH Audubon.  Our diversity is our strength, but we must be unified by clear priorities so that we are all moving in the same direction—like the diversity of hikers on Mount Kearsarge all walking up to the top of the mountain.  By working hard to enrich our relationships with partners and supporters in every region in New Hampshire, I believe we can grow our programs, our impact, and ultimately, our organization.  This will take time, but I believe it is the most valuable investment of my time, to ensure NH Audubon’s important work touches every New Hampshire resident.

We are One NH Audubon.  United, we will be the most influential and effective statewide environmental non-profit in New Hampshire, again.  Our Centers will be well-known and attractive destinations for people planning their trips.  Raptors will remain a priority of our work because they are a focus of our education programs and important ecological indicators of the environmental health of our world.  School teachers around the state will look to NH Audubon for resources to help meet STEM or Core Curriculum goals.  NH Audubon will be the primary source of environmental and wildlife information for legislators and citizens.  And visitors will enjoy and return to our Sanctuaries, because they had fun with their families in a healthy and safe environment.

In the coming year, I will be spending more time meeting with supporters like you to make sure we are meeting your expectations.  I will be working on improving our organizational governance and management.  We must expand our board, and I will make sure that is front and center in my mind as we grow.  I will make sure our priorities and strategies are more focused and realistic as we strive for financial strength.  And, of course, I will do everything I can to build on our excellent programs and environmental influence.

Frankly, I’m the luckiest person in New Hampshire.  I come to NH Audubon at a time when we are ready to grow our impact.  Please let me know your thoughts.  A few weeks shy of 100 days, I am testing this vision with you, our most trusted and loyal supporters.  I need your help to achieve One NH Audubon; to grow our network of people; to re-emerge as New Hampshire’s preeminent statewide environmental leader.

Thanks for being there!  I am undaunted by the challenge and excited to write our future together as One NH Audubon.



Douglas A. Bechtel