“On Watch”—from the President’s Desk
January 30, 2017
There’s something about water that draws all of us closer to the fundamental mystery and wonder of life. And when we find others – friends, loved ones, mentors or colleagues – with whom we can share this mystical journey, we know we have been given a profound gift. All of us at NAME were blessed by the gift that was Joy Elizabeth Tally. As a friend, a colleague, a mentor and an inspiration, Joy offered her spirit and energy to us in the NAME community. Her passion for the environment and love for her community made a deep, permanent mark on NAME as an organization, and for each one of us fortunate enough to know her as a friend.
Before moving to the wind-swept beaches and wave-drenched tide pools of the Pacific Northwest, Joy grew up exploring the protected salt marshes of southern New England. This is where she first encountered something that ultimately drew her into the NAME community. Once she arrived to the Pacific Northwest she brought with her an energy and passion for environmental education that inspired everyone she worked with. I first met Joy while attending the 2010 NAME conference in Florence, OR and knew immediately that we were all in good hands. Persistent, energetic, aware and deeply committed, her energy was infectious. I had the honor to work with her on a number of projects and when I took over as NAME President last summer, I felt a strong sense of responsibility knowing I had to live up to the standards that she had set as President only two terms before.
It was with deeply opposing feelings of loss and comfort that the NAME community gathered during the weekend of January 28-29th in Des Moines, WA for our annual mid-year Board Meeting. For me, it felt very odd to be discussing issues like D&O insurance while mourning the loss of our close friend. But at the same time we all needed each other in that moment and were thankful to be together to share our memories and grief, and to do the diligent work of making NAME a better organization that could live up to the ideals we shared with Joy. Doing the hard but necessary work of running an organization like NAME is what Joy did so well, and while she is deeply missed by all of us, we carry her memory and spirit as we move forward. It is in her memory that the NAME Board voted unanimously to rename the President’s Award, the Joy Tally President’s Award, so that all future NAME members will know the indelible mark she left on us.
After the Board Meeting some of us were lucky enough to spend the night at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for a first-ever NAME Overnight at PDZA. Cathleen McConnell from PDZA helped organize the event and we were able to share our passion with new and old NAME members, as well as friends and family who also cherish the natural world. Joy was to be there with her niece and nephew, and while everyone had a deliriously good – though somewhat sleep-deprived – time, we all felt like someone was missing. I don’t think that feeling will go away any time soon. But when I walk down by Puget Sound and stare down into those breaking waves I know I’ll catch glimpses of it in the last retreating shimmer of the water’s edge.
NAME 2016-2017 President