To maintain good communication and achieve Asian Elephant Support's goals, the members of the board of directors have monthly conference calls to discuss on-going projects and a wide variety of other foundation business. However, once a year we have our annual meeting where we get together in person. This year we chose Orcas Island, Washington, near the home of director Gretchen.
Linda arrived from St. Louis, Missouri, April from Norfolk, Virginia, and Sharon drove up from Portland, Oregon and we met at the Woodland Park Zoo Friday morning to get our elephant fix. The zoo staff spoiled us by allowing us to meet their elephants while picking their brains about their pachyderms. It was hard not to be charmed by Bamboo's, Chai's, and Watoto's unique and mischievous personalities. A special thanks to Pat, Pattie, and Bruce for taking time out of their busy days to allow us this special visit.
That afternoon, we caught the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island. While we were wishfully hoping for some Orca sightings, we were delighted at the porpoises accompanying the ferry. Upon arrival to the island, Linda treated us to a delicious dinner and then we made our way to Gretchen's family's cabin. We are extremely thankful for the use of Ann Jones and Caroline Kingsbury's gorgeous (and extremely comfortable) cabin!
We spent the whole day Saturday, with the exception of about an hour, at our computers, discussing our projects and future. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Sunny weekends are hard to come by in the Pacific Northwest, but that's indeed what we were granted (April took the credit for bringing the sun from Virginia). No matter the sun's source, we were grateful it graced us with its presence.
Sunday morning we were back on our computers to finish up some last minute business and then we trekked back to the ferry so that Linda could catch her flight the next day and so that April and Sharon could drive back down to Portland. April was also able to fit in a visit at the Oregon Zoo, where she was a former elephant keeper.
Together we accomplished a lot of foundation business, enjoyed our elephant experiences, and enjoyed the face-to-face interaction that we only get once a year. Each annual meeting affords us renewed enthusiasm and determination to do everything possible to save these magnificent animals.