We have all faced so much loss in these past few months. We have lost hundreds of thousands of lives to the pandemic around the world. We have lost jobs and livelihoods and millions of experiences, too. Family vacations, the joy of holidays together, festivals, graduations, and the simple act of spending time with our loved ones have all been compromised.
Here at home, many have lost their homes and neighborhoods to the flooding and subsequent disaster in our watershed. Businesses and organizations have been washed away or greatly stressed by the rising waters. Driving US-10 yesterday, I passed by what was once Sanford Lake, and I was crestfallen at what had become of a special place I've known my entire life.
At the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, we have been adapting and responding, answering the needs of those we serve. We spent the shutdown producing online educational content for our little ones. We spent it planning our 2020 work season, which has been thrown into disarray. We spent it cutting costs, adjusting expectations, and making sacrifices to ensure that your conservancy remains strong and intact. We have not had to enact layoffs, and we are working harder than ever to earn your trust.
We have also spent this time reflecting on what is important. Like many of you, we've spent much of this time at home, with our loved ones. I know I have developed new, profound connections with my son, and my wife and I have a relationship that is stronger than ever. We have also spent it reflecting on others, and on how we can (and do) help.
At the SBLC, we condemn systemic racism in our world. We do our level best year-in, year-out to demonstrate those principles by tackling blight in hard-hit areas of our watershed and prioritizing conservation projects in areas that are traditionally underserved for access to nature. Over the past several years we have employed men and women from differing traditions, races, and communities. We are proud to have hired local talent in Saginaw, keeping the dollars we raise local, creating opportunities in the conservation industry for young people of color that may otherwise look past our industry.
We have created a powerful small community at the SBLC. We are a tight-knit little band, but we are against the ropes. We have found strength in one another, and in the community around us. We have been inspired by the volunteers tackling the fallout from the dam failures and the peaceful protesters standing up for black lives and all people of color. We are deeply appreciative of the front-line medical professionals and essential workers that put community first all these weeks and months. We are proud to be from Michigan, and draw strength in her beauty and her resilience.
Things may be different now. We must put others first more than ever. We must recognize that our actions have an impact on those around us, and harness that recognition to inspire positive action. We are doing our best at the SBLC to bring compassion to everything we do, delivering our services the best we can, in many new ways. In the coming weeks, I will tell you all about them.
With hope for our community and an open heart,