A group of children attending a camp, standing outdoors in a row, with two of our educators

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Annual Appeal

Dear Friends,  
 
It is because of you and your support that we are here today. Without your belief in the power of STEM and Nature in our lives, we may not have survived this year, a year where the challenges of Coronavirus and our 17-month closure at Leslie Science & Nature Center tested our resolve. 
 

We thank you. 

 
Last year, when we were tested by the Leslie closure, we came to you for help. You helped us navigate through a most difficult time, empowering our dedicated team to deliver programs of the highest quality. You answered our plea, not only with financial support, but with encouragement and action. Thanks to you, we moved into 2020 with a deeply trained and dedicated staff, diverse programming, beginning a year where we anticipated reaching more people than ever before.   
 
Unfortunately, Coronavirus necessitated our closure and the discontinuation of in-person programming. Like so many, the pandemic changed everything. But, if our experience with the closure of the LSNC site taught us anything, it was that we are resilient! Within days, our team shifted all programming to a virtual platform. Losing the in-person aspect was devastating but we knew we must continue. We created a camp-at-home program featuring camp kits that encouraged the exploration of outdoor nature spaces. We began to offer free weekly virtual programming, bringing science and nature into homes across our community. Our programs continued through August and were attended by hundreds of participants each week. We’ve continued this fall, offering virtual programs for schools and small in-person programs at our newly reopened Leslie site.  
 
Throughout this pandemic, we’ve prioritized the safety of our staff and the community. With safety in mind, the Museum has remained closed to the public, shifting our focus to virtual and outdoor programming. With nearly 75% of our budget sourced from Museum revenue, we have dramatically reduced our costs by suspending on-site activities and by reducing staff by 60%. Staff remaining are on reduced hours and salaries. These decisions have been heartbreaking and are not sustainable.
 
It took a global pandemic to fully appreciate our strong foundation; a foundation built by YOU and our community. Your support has positioned us to navigate the most trying times imaginable. We are asking for your support today, so our team may remain intact and secure as we navigate the coming months. Your support, or extra support, will strengthen us and position us to maintain our amazing core staff, a staff with resolve - ready to re-open with renewed energy and new programs.
 
We can see our future clearly, and our future is all about you. 
 
Sincerely,        
 
Mel J. Drumm                                                              Susan Westhoff  
President & CEO                                                       Chief Operating Officer