As I drove over the snowy pass on the way to the sanctuary this morning, I was reminded how snow signifies new beginnings and a fresh start. While I have spent many years in the non-profit and primate world, I view my role as executive director at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest as a new beginning for me. For most of my life I have wanted to serve primates in a sanctuary setting and to live in the northwest. I now have been given the opportunity to marry both dreams and I could not be more thrilled. Sarah and the CSNW team have poured their hearts into this organization and have accomplished many things such as providing a safe and healthy environment for seven amazing chimpanzees, expanding space for the Cle Elum 7 by building a greenhouse and Young’s Hill, advocating for all primates by creating Eyes on Apes, and developing a visitors’ program (the list goes on and on).
Today, I take the proverbial leadership baton and am looking forward to the future (not just for the organization, but for all chimpanzees). I look forward to helping the organization grow, advocating for chimpanzees around the world, and continuing to care for the Cle Elum 7. In the meantime, I will be getting acclimated to the sanctuary and to the area. I have already met many of our dedicated volunteers and supporters and am eager to get to know all of you. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest team and the chimpanzees have also been incredibly welcoming. I have begun forming special bonds with Jamie, Foxie, Missy, Negra, Burrito, Annie, and Jody…how can I not love them?
Thank you all for welcoming me with open arms. During this transition, feel free to e-mail me with suggestions as to how we can better serve our chimpanzees, community and supporters.