Time flies. This past summer, I was reminded how quickly time flies as I watched my daughter hold her newborn son, Tatum Robert, or “Tater Tot,” as we affectionately call him. A few days later, I sat on the porch rocking my new grandson and listening to the birds usher in a new day to the Michigan woods around us while his mother got some much-needed sleep. It seemed like only yesterday that I held her as an infant. One of our staff members, Mandy Harling, told me how her mom describes this feeling: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
That phrase resonated with me that morning, especially as I made the same promise to Tater Tot that I had made to his mother many years before: To do everything that I could to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. for his generation.
As I give thanks at this special time of year, I think of all of you and am grateful to be able to work alongside this special group of people, volunteers, donors, partners and staff, who are so committed to keeping that same promise. I recently had a partner at a national meeting ask me how NWTF can be so strong. My immediate answer was passion — passion for our mission by all of you!
Fueled by your passion and commitment, we reached some significant milestones in 2018:
• WE exceeded our 2018 conservation acreage goal, and we will surpass a total of 20 million acres conserved since the NWTF was founded!
• WE exceeded our annual hunting access goal for acreage opened for hunting, and we even expect to exceed our 10-year Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. goal for hunting access!
• WE exceeded our annual goal for hunters recruited!
• We closed the 2018 fiscal year above our budget goal!
Together we are keeping our promises!
As the days grow shorter in the late fall, we all try to pack as much into our time afield and holiday season as possible. But this time is also the time of year for reflection. This past year has been a time of many long, rewarding days. It seems like just yesterday, I wrote this column for the 2017 November/December issue of Turkey Country. During this year of long days and short time, together we have worked hard to Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. The tremendous efforts by you — our volunteers, staff, donors and partners — have accomplished much. Thank you!
You will all hold a special place in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season. I hope to return to my beloved oak ridges of Michigan and share Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and friends. As I reflect back on this year, I will relish the long wonderful days filled with the opportunity to work on our mission with truly great people — you, our NWTF volunteers. As I hold my new grandson Tater Tot, he will not only remind me of the special birth of new life we celebrate each Christmas, but the opportunity of a bright future. We have much to accomplish in the days ahead, and I know that working together we are well poised to be successful. I look forward to working with you in the bright new days of 2019!
May your holiday season be filled with gratitude, laughter, joy and grace.
— Becky Humphries, NWTF CEO