Reflecting on Our First 25 Years
As we approach the final days of the 25th year of the Foundation’s existence, it is important to take a moment to look back on how much we have accomplished in that quarter century. We have gone from a few words on paper establishing the foundation to a vibrant organization that is a leader in wildlife science and education. The Foundation’s impacts are broad and significant: from playing a key role in the development of a General Permit that streamlined the process and reduced the costs for conducting routine and emergency repairs on thousands of acres of impoundments critical to wildlife conservation, to advancing our knowledge of wildlife management and contributing to the education of a new generation of wildlife professionals. I believe our accomplishments exceeded the dreams its founder, Eugene duPont III, may have had when he established this organization through his will two and a half decades ago.
The first years of the Foundation were lean times which forced us initially to take baby steps. In time we developed the idea of a “Friends of Nemours” group and the financial support from these champions meant we could initiate new, broader research studies and involve more students. By my count we have supported some 25 graduate students working on projects that include waterfowl and other marsh birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates. These students have worked on topics critical to some of our most iconic species, such as whooping cranes and southern fox squirrels, and other species most of us rarely see but which are still ecologically important like clapper, king, and black rails. Other students have assessed traditional land management practices such as flooding regimes in wetland impoundments and prescribed fire in pine savannas while testing alternative practices which may produce more desired outcomes. Some students have studied species some might consider a threat or undesirable, such as Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes and the American Alligator, but they too are a valuable part of our coastal ecosystem.
These studies have resulted in more than 30 publications in peer reviewed journals and have increased our collective scientific knowledge dealing with coastal ecosystems. We have given one-of-a-kind work experiences to 65+ interns (students working on undergraduate degrees) which have helped them navigate their professional paths. The breadth of work we have done and number of lives we have impacted in 25 years is remarkable, and we should all take a moment to enjoy and fully appreciate these achievements.
If you or an organization to which you belong would like to join us in our important work, please contact us. Your support is vital to our continued success.