“Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.” -Harvard Medical School, Mental Health Letter, 2011
We are entering the season of gratitude and in a year that has been like no other in recent memory, gratitude is something we wish to honor and celebrate.
- To Our Members:
Whether you’ve been giving for decades or have joined us anew, we recognize that the decision to give does not always come lightly. You give because you believe in the value of environmental and outdoor education in the community, because conservation of the biodiversity of the Abbey Arboretum is important, because an experience with Outdoor U was meaningful, or because you’re looking for a meaningful experience for yourself and others. Whatever inspires you, we receive your gifts with humility as we continue to pursue our work in your names.
- To Our Volunteers:
Working the land, helping with field trips, leading and supporting events, serving on our advisory council. It’s not always glamorous, but the richness is immeasurable. Working in community toward a common goal that is bigger than us all gives us strength, resolve, and purpose.
- To Saint John’s Abbey, the College of Saint Benedict, and Saint John’s University:
You provide the foundation upon which all our work stands: the landscape of the Abbey Arboretum; the incredible vision of these institutions to harness the power of the natural world for education, recreation, and spiritual renewal; the Benedictine Values, a blueprint for an environmental ethos. All of these ground us in our pursuits to service and environmental education in our community.
- To the CSB/SJU Students:
You make us feel older and younger in the same breath. You bring renewed energy to our programming, and you continually push us to stretch our mission to have a brighter, fresher, more inclusive and just future while continuing to honor the legacies of our past. You make us a little crazy sometimes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
- To Our Community Partners:
Schools, non-profits, local businesses, and sponsors: the breadth and scope of our programs would not be possible without your support and collaboration. To connect people with the natural world, increase environmental literacy, and inspire another generation of environmental and conservation leaders takes a village and we are grateful to have you in ours.
The annual December Open House is one of our favorite ways to celebrate our community each year. And with the generosity of many local artists and businesses, our silent auction fundraiser has been a festive way to support our programming. But we cannot invite you to celebrate with us in person this year.
In place of our auction fundraiser, we ask you to consider an extra donation of $20.20 (or $2.020, $202.0, $2020, as it were) as we bid farewell to the strange, difficult, and beautiful year that was 2020. We look forward, with excitement and continuing gratitude, to seeing you again in 2021.