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By Caitrin Maloney
After six great years as executive director, the time has come for me to say goodbye to the Friends of the Mad River (FMR), an organization that has become near and dear to my heart. I have recently accepted the executive director position with the Stowe Land Trust and will be making the transition in early December. While I am very excited about my new job, I will certainly miss the Friends of the Mad River: the board of directors, the wonderful volunteers, our members and supporters, the community. And, of course, the river.
The future of FMR is now in others' hands, and I am confident FMR will continue to succeed—the group is on solid ground. FMR has a clear work plan for the coming years, a strong financial base, and many supporters. FMR has had many recent successes: planting thousands of trees, conserving a key section of river corridor, building a new rain garden, and completing 33rd season of Mad River Watch. FMR's work has attracted researchers from near and far—those seeking to build on the data we have collected over the years and others seeking to quantify and characterize the factors that have made us leaders. There is much to be proud of!
There were setbacks too, such as discovering the much-feared didymo (aka rock snot) in the river in 2008, Irene in 2011, and the uncertainty of climate change and changing weather. But even in the dark times there were bright spots; everyone worked well together to recover from Irene, so well that the Mad River Valley was called "the poster child of Irene recovery" by the media.
And though I am leaving, I am taking part of you with me. The Mad River has carved a place in me, much as it has shaped the valley that gives it such a stunning backdrop. I have learned so much and made great memories and many friends. I will take this with me, and I am grateful.
While FMR completed much important work over the last several years, there is still much to do. Good luck in the next phase, I know you will do a great job. Thank you in advance, as I know you will take care of "my" river. Our river
Maloney is the former executive director of Friends of the Mad River.