by Allison Vincent, CREW Trust Communications
Your impact on the ecosystems in and surrounding the CREW trails has gone beyond our wildest expectations this year. We braced for a year without our largest fundraiser, the CREW Concert & Silent Eco-Auction, predicting a deficit, but wow, were we surprised! Because of your continued generosity and many new members, we’re standing on much steadier ground than expected.
We’ve all experienced many changes in the way we live this past year, and everyone has learned to pivot from our personal and shared normal. Fortunately, many of the “outside of the box” ideas we’ve applied to stay connected to you have worked very well, so well, that we might keep them up. Instead of larger groups for our programs, we limited enrollment in each one and increased the number of events or programs. This made it possible to bring more visitors to the trails, often for the first time, on more intimate tours, which allowed visitors to get a more individualized experience of CREW.
Our CREW Trust volunteers collaborated constantly on trail maintenance and improvements throughout all four CREW trail systems. We’re nearly ready to launch our newest trail connecting CREW Flint Pen Strand and CREW Bird Rookery Swamp trails, a remarkable accomplishment years in the making! This new trail is marked with purple post signs.
Last but certainly not least, membership numbers increased by marked numbers, with many of you stepping up as ‘neighbors’ (both literal and implied) to the CREW lands. Thank you all! Your support is the embodiment of true trail stewardship in action. You clearly care about the CREW Trust’s mission and the 60,000 acres of lands that surround these publicly accessible CREW trails.
Come Easter, we see a more predictable while ever difficult change when we say goodbye to many of our seasonal friends as they return to their summer homes. CREW is approaching its slower summer season as the summer heat and rainy season gives us opportunity to plan our 2021-2022 season of events for you.
Every individual makes an impact with their donation, as we have a wide variety of uses for every penny. From general trail maintenance, which requires tools and gear upkeep, to large purchases like kiosk signs to off-road vehicles and their maintenance. When you donate or become a member, every penny is multiplied by our expertly guided volunteer projects. Everything in these gritty Florida environs require continuous upkeep and periodic replacement. So, when you’re out on the trail and notice a new sign post, or observe a clear view of the wildlife ahead because the weed whacking crew was recently clearing the trail, just know that those things only happen because of your donations and the collective contributions of many friends of CREW.
Thank you for continuing to support the CREW Trust during this difficult and unprecedented time. Your commitment to environmental preservation has never been more strongly tested and proven than this season. You’ve stuck by what really matters and our South Florida environment will be stronger in the future because of your commitment.
We hope that, you and your friends and family make it out to the CREW trails a few more times before returning to your summer destinations. The CREW lands are thriving and continue to be a unique outlet for environmental preservation work, one that should give you some peace of mind in these trying times. Every time you take a drink of water, remember that it started in the CREW watershed and know you’re making an impact, and you’re making it for everyone.
For those who stay here throughout the summer, remember the CREW trails are open 365 days a year, 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. With four different trail systems, there’s always something new to explore, wildlife bucket lists to check off, and a seasonal change to observe.