GBF 2019 - Annual Report

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR These are challenging times. Threats to the health of our families and friends are certainly top of mind as we look ahead. While it may receive less attention in the context of our current COVID-19 health challenges, Georgian Bay, and access to clean freshwater, remains a significant and critical part of our lives and our natural environment. That will not change. Georgian Bay – life giving to so many species – is an integral part of the Great Lakes, our nations most natural iconic treasure. The Great Lakes hold 21% of the entire world’s surface freshwater, and so it is critical that we protect this world-renowned gem at all costs. Many actions, or inactions, are causing irreparable damage to our freshwater, and our beloved Georgian Bay. If you look closely, you can see the dangers to the health of our water – tiny foam pieces and tossed garbage littering our shorelines; miniscule microfibres showing up in everything we eat and drink; flashier storms causing more and more raw sewage over- flows to be dumped directly into Georgian Bay; and invasive species slowly killing off our precious and unique wetlands. Each one of these threats needs its own defensive action plan, funding, volunteers and focused effort. Georgian Bay Forever is adept and has a long history proving how a small, locally based charity can deliver big impact and make a difference. Protecting and safeguarding the health of our water is our only focus. It is what inspires great action and determination in our Board, our staff, our supporters and our volunteers. This year was a banner year for Georgian Bay Forever, not only in yielding high project impact but also in support generated for our programs. All levels of government, along with our steadfast and loyal donors, continued to make positive investments on the ground and in innovative research and providing the capabilities to continue to work on the leading edge of technology. Building on existing partnerships and creating new collaborative opportunities is one of the strengths of Georgian Bay Forever. In the words of Aristotle, we know that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Only together, working with the strengths of each partner, will we all be triumphant in our goals – protecting Georgian Bay, forever. We also acknowledge that only through citizen-science opportunities and creating educational avenues for robust learning, will we create a new generation of environmentally focused advocates. A generation that better understands the need for a new way forward – a way that focuses on safeguarding the only planet we have. This is why a great deal of internal resources are focused on providing information to the community as a whole. We know that we could not do what we do without the support and belief in our mission and the work of many passionate individuals whom we consider family. We are truly indebted to our generous donors, strategic partners, dedicated board and committee members, committed community volunteers and enthusiastic staff – especially in the context of the other significant issues we all now face. Each one contributes immeasurably to our success and their efforts are truly appreciated. Please join us in 2020 as we continue our work in new and exciting ways we did not plan for or expect, in order to protect the water of Georgian Bay ... forever! Adam Chamberlain Board Chair David Sweetnam Executive Director “Protecting and safe- guarding the health of our water is our only focus.”