Looking forward and loving parts of the look back…

Looking forward and loving parts of the look back…

KAW 173 Team

I’ve read many end-of-the-year letters that have been coming out the last few days…and it’s hard not to reflect on a pandemic that has certainly shaped 2020. My family would tell you that I’m a glass always full type of person – probably so optimistic that I dare to ever look at the down side. So, it is appropriate for me to reflect on what went well in 2020.

Sunrise KAW 173 Day 9

Did you see a gorgeous sunset on the Kaw this year?  How about otter tracks in the sand?  Or maybe you enjoyed the quiet waters of a river and snuck up on a pair of beavers?  Did you spend more time outdoors THIS year than ever before?  Or maybe, just maybe….you were blessed to fall asleep to the sound of beaver splashing in the summer breeze.  Those are just a few of my very favorite things about this year.  The KAW 173 Journey was a highlight of my life and I’m sure my six companions.  Immersing ourselves in the beauty of the Kansas River for nine days was an amazing experience and test of our individual strengths, our collective will, and our deep friendship.  Thank you to my friends and colleagues – “Steady, My Favorite, Mr. Gadget, Sugar Cookie, Sherpa, and my Soul Sister”.  My gratitude for one of the best years of my life.  

Friends of the Kaw was like every other business (nonprofit or for profit) this year – trying to figure out how to keep moving in a moment in time that is new and unknown to all of us. We had to figure out how to keep moving our mission forward, how to educate youth, how to help people discover the Kansas River and how to keep a non-profit afloat during a pandemic – and I’m happy to stay that we made it. I know that those words are not exciting, but the truth is – we made it – and that’s all any of us wanted. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our volunteers, members and donors. We could not do any of this important work without all of you. You are, and will always be, the heart of Friends of the Kaw.

Kansas River

I would like personally thank Kim and Denise for their hard work, creativity, flexibility, and patience as we navigated this year.  I’m so grateful to have had colleagues to muddle through this year with.  We learned a great deal about each other and about how to survive the tough times together.  

Looking forward, we have some really great programming planned for 2021.  Who wants to paddle the entire Kansas River with Friends of the Kaw?  We’ve got some plans coming up that might just be something to get excited about!  And we are so very hopeful that come mid-year we will be able to bring back our Members Only Events up and down the Kaw.  Stay tuned for the annual Kaw River Guide Workshop, educational paddle trips, BIG cleanup events, Beers of the Kaw, Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the KAW 173!

Our biggest news yet is that we will celebrate 30 YEARS of Friends of the Kaw in 2021!  We have some big celebrations planned for later in the year along with some fun social media trivia and events – all about the Kansas River.

Let us know how we can help you to PROTECT. ADVOCATE and DISCOVER the Kansas River in the New Year!

Our heartfelt thank you and wishes for good health for all.

For the river,

Dawn Buehler

Kansas Riverkeeper & Executive Director