Dear Preserve Community,
Some of you may already found yourselves privy to this information, but I am now writing to inform you all of the bittersweet news that Summers Cleary will be leaving VOF.
Although her time here was much shorter than we would have liked it to have been, I can confidently state that it has been an incredibly intense and productive 3 years.
I also want to share that our accomplishments here over the past 3 years would not have been possible without Summers’ expertise and dedication.
She is a natural leader that helped us confront (what feels like and very well may have been!) a new challenge or unknown at a DAILY pace.
As a GIS specialist, cartographer, and visual artist, Summers should get kudos for how we present our Bull Run Project to the world. In addition to this, she embodied our community-based approach to conservation and our “VOF preserve-first” work ethic. We have a very small team here, and needless-to-say there is zero redundancy. That is to say, that Summers has had the chance to touch nearly every part of our work here over the past three years.
I am positive that her contributions will remain a valued and memorable piece of this dynamic project’s bedrock for many years to come. She will, and should be, remembered as a pioneer of a project that is still in its relative infancy.
With Summers now heading out west to Colorado, I find it incredibly fitting. As 1) I know that the state has a deep and early sentiment for her, and 2) Colorado’s state bird is the lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys).
For those unaware, a lark bunting is a spirited sparrow that is known for its optimistic personality, positive energy, and cheery song. I can testify that Summers brought a, at times MUCH NEEDED!, “lark bunting energy” to her work. Further, this bird symbolizes both intelligence and knowledge, and it is said that it distills these qualities into its presentation (or song). And I believe that Summers did the same for us – combining a scientific approach, an uber-professional competence, and some notable artistic abilities into each and every work product.
In Colorado, I am happy to share that Summers will be working as part of the National Audubon Society’s Enterprise GIS team, where she will help communicate the value of GIS and spatial thinking (within Audubon and to the general public) through the creation of integrated web-applications and spatial storytelling through StoryMaps. She will also provide technical assistance for the use of GIS on multiple scales across Audubon’s national office, state center’s and the 500+ chapters.
To close this email, I just want to say that I couldn’t have found a better human to spend 3 years working with on the mountain. And I wish her nothing but the best as she starts this exciting new chapter in her life!
PS – For all those who have read this far, I just want to announce my brazen new VOF initiative: Demanding the state of Colorado promptly, and apologetically, return Summers Cleary to VOF! 😉