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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Adapting for Success in a Global Pandemic

"Accept the unexpected." ~ "So many details!" ~ "True dedication."

How directors of the reserve’s three core programs addressed challenges imposed by COVID-19.


Even as we respond to this pandemic, nature keeps going—seasons change; animals, plants, and tides go on with their ancient rhythms—and as scientists we are obligated to keep up. This has inspired some outside-the-box strategies.

I never thought I would be building ocean drifters in my basement at midnight on a Friday but I did, and on more than one occasion. Holding a data-analysis meeting using Zoom, at home, with a beer, was a new way to connect with colleagues and made our outcomes that much better! Science moves on. We find creative ways to adapt and overcome adversity, while remaining cognizant of the gravity of our situation. — Dr. Jason Goldstein


This spring I needed to look at our entire public program calendar through a new lens. How many people could we have on guided walks or kayak tours? How many kids could attend each summer camp? How do you achieve hands-on learning when physically distant? How many people fit in Mather Auditorium when six feet apart? Above all, how would we ensure everyone, pre-K through gray, would be safe in our programs?

I am so grateful for the education team’s enthusiasm and courage in moving forward despite the changes in routine. I’m pleased we can help our community of learners expand their minds and experience the wonders of the reserve, especially during this time of increased stress and uncertainty. — Suzanne Kahn


Our greatest challenge this spring was planting 3,000 bare-root shrubs during a brief window of opportunity. This project was designed to be done by large groups of volunteers, such as those we see during United Way’s Day of Caring or an Americorps team deployment. Instead, we had to complete the task with just a handful of staff and an incredible, devoted team of local volunteers.

Our shrub warriors worked together during the height of uncertainty surrounding virus spread and quarantine. They showed their true dedication to the Wells Reserve. — Sue Bickford

From Watermark 37(1): Summer 2020

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