Dear Steep Rock Community,
As the year 2020 draws to a close, we hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The surreal nature of this year has been unimaginable and unprecedented, hasn’t it? The global pandemic, political polarity, social unrest, and climate crisis have dominated headlines. Through it all, though, we were here for you; we hope you found refuge within Steep Rock’s preserves. And with heartfelt thanks, you have been here for us. That is the inspiration and resilience within our wonderful community.
As public health guidelines closed most indoor and some outdoor recreational opportunities, we kept Steep Rock’s preserves open as a place to find solace, take a hike, and enjoy nature. And you responded – our average daily attendance has been significantly higher than last year.
We heard the outcry over racial, economic, and social injustices, and Steep Rock let you know that in our preserves—All Are Welcome Here—to take a break in nature, enjoy our trails, participate in our events, and be an appreciated and respected part of our community.
The tropical storms of August rolled in and our staff, trail managers, and volunteers flexed their muscles by clearing debris and removing downed and dangerous trees from our 43-miles of trails. In the wake of the damage, our team went right to work making sure the preserves remained safe for everyone.
In Judea Garden, we adapted the way we grow and distribute vegetables to meet safety guidelines and provided over 3,300 pounds of fresh vegetables to feed people in need in Washington and surrounding communities. Thanks so much to the dedicated volunteers and interns that contributed to this effort.
As we strive to maintain and protect Washington’s scenic beauty and rural charm, our Board members, interns, volunteers, and donors helped us build a new boardwalk, staircase, and viewing platform at Macricostas Preserve. We restored ecological habitat along Curtis Brook and reduced streambank erosion along the Shepaug River. Our citizen scientists helped monitor nest boxes and protect turtle eggs from predation. We witnessed a summer burst of beauty in the newly created Bronson Fields Pollinator meadow and celebrated our traditional annual community picnic in a rather untraditional way. And we ended a tough fiscal year in good financial condition.
In times of great uncertainty, human beings naturally seek comfort and camaraderie within community. We hope that you have found a sense of connection in our preserves or through our efforts. And we have greatly appreciated your support throughout the year.
As 2020 finally comes to a close, we have one more humble request for you. As a nonprofit organization whose operations are funded entirely through donations, we count on your support to help us protect our local environment, offer safe passive recreation, and contribute to the quality of life of our vibrant community. To help us launch new endeavors in 2021, please consider making a donation today. As a thank you for your support, we have attached Steep Rock’s FY2020 Gratitude Report.
Steep Rock Association wishes you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.
Thank you so much for being part of our community and supporting our efforts!
See you on our trails,
Brian E. Hagenbuch, Ph.D.