Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley


’Twas our annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. Most of our normal holiday traditions had gone by the wayside — we’d hosted none of the typical gatherings, a fake tree replaced a real one for the first time in memory, and most of our deco­rations remained tucked away in the attic. But pandemic or not, we held the line with the film classic and the story of its hero George Bailey, who had to journey to the edge of despair before his reawakening to the true meaning of life and what mattered most.

Many say they are eager to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. The COVID pandemic has altered our worlds, perhaps in some ways permanently. Still, as is the nature of life, amid all the turmoil, there were silver linings — like time to slow down, to reflect, to have conversations around the dinner table versus a fast food drive-thru between ballgames or social events. And there was a spectacular and rousing return to nature for those who sought connection, solace, and healing there.

As your Department of Conservation, we did our best to pivot, adapt, and innovate during these uncertain times. We took a page from nature’s playbook and embraced these chal­lenges as an opportunity to develop resilience, while staying focused on the important work at hand. (See Annual Review on Page 10.)

Now heading into 2021, may we all take the best from les­sons learned — to be more resilient, more present, and like George Bailey, remember to always keep front of mind what matters most.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director


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