2020 was an extraordinary year. It brought great loss, uncertainty and stress — but it also brought positive change. After long weeks of sheltering in place, we all gained a greater awareness of the peace and strength we can find in nature. It was with a renewed sense of wonder and delight that visitors returned to Yosemite last summer, after the longest shut-down in the park’s 130-year history.
We are honored by the continued support of everyone who has helped us through a challenging year, including our donors, volunteers, program participants and staff. The challenges of 2020 reinforced for us how fortunate we are to have such a passionate community of partners and supporters that share our vision and mission. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to continue funding critical work in Yosemite, and to offer programs and education both in person and online that help people connect with the park from near and far.
While some projects were paused or modified due to the pandemic, your support made it possible for biologists to monitor 15 peregrine nest sites, release more than 100 Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, and complete another year of research on the park’s Sierra Nevada red fox and mountain lion populations. The Yosemite Bike Share saw usage double, the Junior Ranger program went digital and attracted almost half a million curious viewers worldwide, and we published several wonderful books and welcomed program participants to numerous naturalist-led programs. Your support fueled the innovation, adaptation and perseverance that kept so many projects and programs moving forward in 2020.
We are proud of what we accomplished last year and humbled by what lies ahead. Climate change continues to alter the landscape of California, and we know we must grow and adapt with those changes in order to continue conserving and protecting vital ecosystems. And as we look ahead, we’re excited to continue working on ways to ensure Yosemite’s future is one in which all feel welcome and can benefit from the park’s inspirational, recreational and educational value.
With 2020 behind us, we are taking the lessons learned from the last year and looking toward a new chapter for the Conservancy, as we plan for the next five years of our work in and on behalf of Yosemite in partnership with the National Park Service. We’re preparing for major milestones, such as wrapping up the restoration of the Bridalveil Fall area and opening the new Yosemite Valley Welcome Center, on the near horizon, and to our centennial year, which is coming up in 2023. And we’re looking forward to the myriad less splashy but equally exciting moments that we know will mark this year and many to come: Graduates of Conservancy-funded youth programs stepping into roles in the NPS, our volunteers welcoming visitors with warm smiles, art class instructors helping people slow down and see the park through fresh eyes, birds and frogs moving into recently restored wetlands.
None of our work in 2020, or in any year, would be possible without your extraordinary generosity. Thank you.
Matt Adams, Board Chair
Frank Dean, CEO