This year Thanksgiving was a little different for our communities. For many of us, it meant staying home instead of gathering with family. We’re having virtual happy hours and coffee dates. Our kids are adapting to virtual learning, alongside their parents and educators. It has been a challenging year. Words like unprecedented and quarantine are being thrown around so much we’re all beginning to feel numb to their intended impact. The challenges we’ve faced this year have brought opportunities as well. And it is these opportunities for which I am most thankful. I am thankful for the lessons of patience and flexibility. I am grateful to innovation and creativity. I am grateful for adaptiveness and perseverance.
Columbia Springs has been a capstone experience for thousands of children annually for over two decades. This year is the first year in a long time that we won’t be able to bring children to site in the same capacity. Our educators are so committed to serving our community that they have been looking for creative solutions to continue our programming, even if it looks a little different. We aim to continue to engage children as scientists, when they are so desperately in need of the opportunity to innovate and be creative. We’re collaborating with area educators to find ways to be supportive and provide content for which there is no virtual framework. Our Salmon in The Classroom programming has continued, bringing tanks of fingerling salmon to over a dozen schools in the Vancouver area. We are working with schools to provide virtual learning activities. On-site Education was able to provide both Summer and Autumn day camps, and through careful safety measures and contact tracing, we are proud to say that no one attending our camps contracted or spread COVID-19. Our volunteer programming has continued through individual training and opportunities to improve our site. We were able to keep our Repair Clark County program running through the Repair Goes Remote series, successfully repairing hundreds of items via an amazing group of volunteers.
At its core, conservation is putting the needs and future of others before ourselves through conscious action. It is doing what we can to leave the planet better than we found it. Columbia Springs has been benefiting our lives, communities and environment for many years. It is a safe and tranquil place to recreate, a place of learning and opportunity for every kid (even the grown up ones) to explore what it means to be a scientist. It is a place where we find value in the every day things, with opportunities to repair items once broken. It is all these things because of the love and support from our community. Now, more than ever, we need your help to keep doing what we do best at Columbia Springs. If you can give this year, please consider giving a tax deductible gift. Your donations will allow us to keep inspiring a sense of wonder and connection to the natural world.
From all of us at Columbia Springs to all of you, thank you.