President’s Report

President’s Report
For the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017

Valley Falls Farm
As owners and stewards of Valley Falls Farm, we have continued our ambitious mission to preserve and maintain the land and its buildings. Maintenance of the grounds continues to be a major effort and expense.  The gardens are cared for by Ellie Fiske,  the Vernon Garden Club, and Betty Wardrop.  Our tenants maintain and harvest vegetables in the lower cold frame.  The beehives are thriving, thanks to beekeepers Allen Valli, Tom Kaminski and Marcie Lavoie.  We continue work on the restoration of buildings to prepare for the planned establishment of the Valley Falls Heritage Center in the stable, using the $150,000 grant from the State of Connecticut.

This year we have focused on community outreach–improving our website and providing more opportunity for the community to enjoy the premises through our summer “Farm Tours.”  This year we also participated in Connecticut Open House Day in June, and welcomed over 50 guests.

Valley Falls Park
In pursuit of our mission to provide nature education, and to show off our beautiful park, we held our annual “Three Walk Weekend” in May to observe birds and wildflowers in the Park, and share information on the geology and historical sites in the Park.  We continue to provide support and assistance for the Vernon Parks and Recreation Department in their care of the park.

The Organization
Financially, the organization is healthy. We are especially grateful for the tremendous support and encouragement we receive from the community, our members and our contributors. We continue to work on the recommended actions in our Strategic Plan prepared by organizational consultants, Musevue 360.  We established the “Valley Falls Fund” with Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.  As a type of endowment fund, it offers the opportunity for donors to provide for the long term viability of the Friends.  We are grateful to Bunny Shepard whose significant donation enabled initiation of the fund.

Charting our course for the next decades is vital for the preservation of Valley Falls Farm.  Recruiting a core of new volunteers is absolutely essential to the long term sustainability of the Friends. We will need your help and look forward to working with many of you.

Respectfully submitted,
Ginny Gingras, President