Dear Members and Friends,
Earlier this year, our tireless leader and man-in-perpetual motion, Dan Tonsmeire, let us know that he would like to retire. For a while, we pretended not to hear him and simply hoped the feeling would pass. Unfortunately, it didn’t. As a result, the board of directors has been working for some time now on a transition plan that will allow us to keep the momentum that Dan has helped us build over the past 14 years.
If you’re familiar with Dan and his work, you realize that replacing him just isn’t possible and that even finding a worthy successor will be difficult to do.
Naturalist, advocate, river guide, teacher, lobbyist, and historian. These are just some of the many hats he wears – at times, in the course of a single day. His Riverkeeper work takes him from classrooms, to board rooms, to US Senate hearing rooms. Dan listens and appreciates the views of environmentalists, sportsmen, commercial fishermen, farmers, foresters, business owners, and neighbors in communities throughout the basin. He can discuss fluvial geomorphology or fly fishing, knows about oysters and oil wells, and can carry on a friendly discussion or fight tooth and nail to protect the river and bay.
One quality (of many) that we greatly admire about Dan is his true dedication for his work. He’s fond of saying, “Que Suerte,” which means he feels lucky to have found a perfect fit for his life’s work. But the truth is that the Apalachicola River and Bay, the fish, wildlife, and plants, and the Riverkeeper organization in particular have all been lucky that Dan poured his heart and soul into our cause.
Our mission will go on. The board of directors has already begun the search for the next Apalachicola Riverkeeper. We aim to do so sooner rather than later, but we will take as long as we need to find the right person, one who can move us forward with the same depth, dedication and endurance Dan has demonstrated since 2004. We are also quite fortunate that Dan has agreed to continue working with us in an advisory role which includes training his successor.
Certainly, we will keep you posted as our board makes staffing decisions. In the meantime, however, we offer our most heartfelt thanks to Dan Tonsmeire for all he’s done and continues to do to save this most endangered American Treasure – the Apalachicola River and Bay.
Please watch for upcoming news on a retirement celebration for Dan.
Thank you for your on-going support.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Board President, Apalachicola Riverkeeper