VWA’s Multi-faceted Transition
As we continue to mourn the loss of our long-time president, Put Blodgett, we are also, along with the rest of the world, adjusting to our new normal. As our members and friends, you will see changes ahead both in our leadership and in the way we conduct day-to-day business. And, we want you to know, we are diligently working and planning to fill any voids as they appear.
The VWA executive committee met via Zoom conference on March 16, and I’m pleased to inform you that Allan Thompson has stepped up as the interim president. He and John Buck were co-vice presidents previously, and John will continue as the interim vice president. We are very grateful for Allan’s and John’s willingness to serve. We all know that Put Blodgett wore mighty big shoes, but, as a team, we will fill the gaps and continue to be your Voice for Healthy Forests. In coming issues of the eNews and newsletter, you’ll have a chance to get to know Allan, John, and others through personal profiles.
Your leadership team also includes all previous board members and officers who have agreed to stay on until we can hold our annual meeting, anticipated for late summer. The board will hold its monthly meetings via Zoom until we can come together again. The Executive Committee will meet via Zoom every 2 weeks. I expect that we will have technology challenges to overcome along the way as we navigate these new ways of doing business. However, we are confident that technology will help us all stay engaged with each other and with you.
As part of our new plan, we will be sending weekly e-Newsletters every Wednesday to bring you information and opportunities for learning from your home. This will include access to webinars (both live and recorded), new videos on YouTube so you can take a virtual walk in the woods with a forest professional, or even an occasional Zoom Chat where you can join a video call to check in with others. We are evaluating services that can be offered via online channels or one-to-one phone calls. You will begin to see all of this rolled out in the eNews, newsletter, and VWA’s Facebook.
During this very isolating period, where we are guarding our physical health and cancelling all in-person events, our mental and emotional health can suffer. I say this from personal experience. In just a few short days, I find myself craving human contact and missing all the opportunities to be in the world with family, friends, and colleagues. But, I also find that even seeing colleagues on a video conference provides a great sense of comfort. Our VWA board call this morning was a perfect case in point. I know that we are all feeling that sense of isolation, but we also had a chance to smile and wave at each other and confirm that all were well while working from the confines of home. I must say that I also feel extremely grateful that I can step into my backyard woods and reconnect with a natural, more sane and peaceful world. If you cannot do that, we hope to bring you those opportunities online.
Please be on the lookout for new opportunities that come from new ways of staying engaged and connected. I’d love to hear from you to know how you’re managing and to get your ideas on creative ways to change our social interactions. Please, stay in touch. It really matters!