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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Sending you this note -- my last message as executive director
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

August, 2015

Dear Friends, Members of GCBO, and Colleagues, 

Sending you this note -- my last message as executive director -- is a bittersweet experience. I’ve spent the majority of my career here at GCBO (191/2 years) so saying farewell is not easy. It has been such a great privilege and pleasure to get to know and work with each and every one of you. 

Fueled by your support, in just two decades GCBO has established a vital 71-member Site Partner Network whose hard work protects millions of acres of habitat for migratory birds around the Gulf of Mexico. With the establishment of permanent endowments for land acquisition, together we have assisted even more partners throughout the Americas with grants that have protected more than 17,000 acres of beautiful tropical forests in 10 countries. We were also able to assist with the purchase and restorations of thousands of acres of habitat in the U.S. We have conducted many avian field studies that have helped us better understand the complicated lives of migratory birds, enabling all of us to secure their protection. Some of my fondest memories at GCBO have been being in the field with many of you, helping collect data and admiring the birds we all love so much. Your passion for bird conservation has been a daily inspiration to me.

As I prepare to retire, I am optimistic about GCBO’s next chapter, knowing that I leave an organization that is stronger than ever and well positioned to build on an extraordinary legacy of effectiveness. Because you have sponsored, supported, and worked hard on behalf of GCBO -- You are a big part of that legacy. Thank you for always being there for me and for sharing your time, talent, and finances to build GCBO into a strong and influential international bird conservation organization.

One last big accomplishment has been the recent completion of GCBO’s new building – the Cecilia Riley Avian Conservation Center. If you have not already visited I hope you will soon where you can also meet the new leadership of GCBO. Chris Eberly, associate director since last September takes the helm today as executive director. Prior to his arrival last fall, Chris had served on GCBO's board of directors from 1999-2003 and the advisory board through half of 2014. He has also served as my co-editor of Gulf Crossings, GCBO’s newsletter for the past decade. I am confident that he too will derive inspiration from all of you – so be sure to get to know Chris as soon as you can.

While I may be stepping down as executive director of GCBO, as a Lifetime member I will still be a part of the extended GCBO family, and I look forward to seeing the future that awaits this great organization you and I have built together.

Cecilia Riley

Remember – Life is better with birds!

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