During this time of seasonal as well as annual change, I am reminded to take stock in the past year and look forward to positive changes and growth in the coming spring. This has been a great year for GLAHNF. We again completed two successful funding cycles and made many Special Opportunity Grants, bringing our total number of grants awarded since 1996 to over 200. Additionally, our network has grown through activities and publications in each state and province, so that we are now communicating with over 1,400 citizens and organizations throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
Over the past few months we have taken the opportunity to evaluate the GLAHNF programs and publications and have learned a great deal about the services that grassroots groups and citizens would like us to provide, and how to make our programs more effective. You will notice some changes as a result of this process, such as changes in content and formatting for this newsletter.
Most importantly however, this process of reflection and evaluation has helped provide perspective for the important work we do from day to day. By looking back and taking stock in our efforts and the efforts of those supported by our funding and networking opportunities, we realize how fortunate we are to have this group of people in 9 states and provinces working toward a unified goal, protecting and restoring aquatic habitats. We are thankful to the C.S. Mott Foundation for providing financial resources for this program, and are thankful to each of the Network Hubs, grant recipients, and members of our network that work so diligently throughout the year to protect our lakes, streams, wetlands, and other aquatic habitats.
I encourage each of you to take this year-end opportunity to reflect and evaluate your own programs and/or contributions to aquatic habitat protection. By making time to reflect, we can improve our future work greatly, and reenergize ourselves by realizing how important our work is. So take a few minutes, and reflect either personally or as a group, in a formal evaluation process or with just pencil and paper, and consider what your goals were for the past year, what you accomplished, what could have been done better, and what you would like to accomplish in the future. Then make a few notes about what you have learned and how you will apply those lessons to your future work. Next year you can begin this process by referring to those notes and feeling a well-earned sense of accomplishment for having worked so diligently to meet your goals.