President’s Report from the 2016 AGM
Reflecting on the some of the main changes that happened within Nature Manitoba during my four years as President, I came to realize that a lot of what we did as a board was not so much about adding to the organization, but more about taking things away. This would start with the reorganization of the office space, where we reduced the size by almost half when giving up the lease on our board room. Related to this was the reduction by approximately 80% in the size of our library materials where this is now trimmed down to a single wall unit were we retain only important reference books and other items of historical or other special value. Then of course was the milestone event of our divestiture of the Victoria Beach property, which was a long, complicated , and extensively debated process More recently, although more of a transformation than something being taken away, has been the discontinuance of the print edition of the Newsletter.
All these changes have been in response to the changing world around us. I am not sure what would have been easier; to just keep doing the same thing as last year and keep struggling financially and operationally with the status quo, or to jump in head-first as we have done and make changes to the way we do things and to remove those things that had had questionable relevance or were burdening our organization. Despite the copious deliberation by the board and its committees before embarking on these changes, I have to admit there were times where I wondered whether we were doing the right thing. But I believe the test of time will show these were the right decisions, which we made with the best of intentions for the future of our organization.
With these changes has come the freedom to explore new opportunities, and it is now time to build our organization again. Some of this building we have started on already, such as our website which is currently undergoing a major upgrade and rejuvenation as the platform on which it was running had become obsolete. We have recently hired, in a part time position, a Web Communications Specialist who will help to coordinate all the different ways that our members communicate with each other as well as how we communicate with the public. We are putting more resources to encourage and support our volunteers, where last fall we held a well-attended gathering for our volunteers at the Living Prairie Museum, and we are also dedicating more staff resources to managing our volunteers. There is even talk amoung board members of whether we can create an Executive Director position for Nature Manitoba, since currently we are missing out on many opportunities in areas such as partnering in projects with other organizations or speaking out on environmental issues due to the lack of dedicated person to champion these causes.
In conclusion, it has been a very rewarding experience for me to serve as your President for the past four years. I would like to thank the board members, staff, and the various committees for their hard work in getting us through all the changes. I believe the organization has gained new strength, and it is well positioned to take on the new challenges that lie ahead. I am also confident our board has the skill and dedication to lead the organization through what I predict will be some very exciting times.
- Don Himbeault,