CONCORD, N.H. - As New Hampshire Audubon prepares to bid farewell to the leader who has overseen the organization for the last eight years, New Hampshire's conservation community and the public have several opportunities to celebrate retiring President Michael Bartlett and his many contributions to the Granite State's wildlife and people. The organization's annual Earth Day Festival at Massabesic Audubon Center on Saturdayand Fish Fest at Amoskeag Fishways on April 28 both include special tributes to Bartlett. In addition, NH Audubon's McLane Center in Concord is hosting a farewell party on May 26. Well-wishers may also send a note to Bartlett through nhaudubon.org/celebratemike.
"Because of Mike, NH Audubon has much to celebrate today," said Sean Gillery, the organization's director of membership. "His unwavering and thoughtful leadership has enabled our organization and our partners to inspire children and adults alike to regard the natural environment with respect and wonder, and advance our mission of protecting the environment for generations to come."
During Bartlett's tenure, NH Audubon has watched over and provided stewardship for more than 8,000 acres of wildlife habitat and wildlife sanctuaries. Bald Eagle counts have been restored to record numbers and Peregrine Falcons - which happen to be Bartlett's favorite raptor species - continue to increase in number. From a business perspective, Bartlett navigated NH Audubon through a period of financial challenge to approach its centennial celebration in 2014 with a strong and stable fiscal outlook, enabling the organization to reach more than 20,000 children and adults each year through its programs and partnerships, and securing its role as environmental steward and champion for the next 100 years.
Prior to assuming his post at NH Audubon in 2008, Bartlett was director of the New England office for U.S. Fish and Wildlife. He enjoyed a brief retirement before joining NH Audubon. He holds a Master of Science in Wildlife, Fish and Wetlands Science and Management, and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Rhode Island. Among his many accomplishments, Bartlett helped restore NH Audubon back to a position of financial stability. In the last eight years under Bartlett's watch, the organization eliminated 80 percent of a $3 million debt that had inhibited NH Audubon's ability to advance its programs and mission. In addition, the organization virtually eliminated a $400,000 annual deficit through creativity and efficiencies, such as implementing a modern accounting system that reduced audit fees by $75,000 a year, for example. This, combined with recruiting and sustaining highly-qualified staff and leadership teams, illustrates Bartlett's forethought and legacy for success by ensuring NH Audubon is poised for a successful future; for the first time in the organization's history, NH Audubon is receiving Charity Navigator's highest ranking for financial stability and governance.
The community is invited to the following events to celebrate the outgoing president and his many contributions, and if you can't attend one of them, you're likely to spot Bartlett hiking or fishing along New Hampshire's many trails and lakes, so be sure to say hello!
- NH Audubon's Earth Day Festival is 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday, April 16 at Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn and includes a special presentation at 11:30 am. NH Audubon leadership will honor Bartlett with remarks and tributes, and a cake cutting with Ranger Rick.
- Then on Thursday, April 28 at Amoskeag Fishways during Fish Fest, Bartlett will serve as Grand Marshall of the much-loved Fish Parade and oversee salmon released into the Fishways' fish ladder. The event also includes crafts and activities for fish enthusiasts of all ages.
- Finally, NH Audubon members, donors, partners and friends are invited to a farewell cocktail party at NH Audubon's McLane Center in Concord from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday, May 26.