What a terrific day!

It was another one of these fabulous spring-like days we’ve been having. The mountains were covered with snow, the sky was blue, the sun was blazing through my windows and the caribou were grazing on the horizon.

Despite the enticing weather, I was sitting at my desk, embroiled in resumes for potential summer staff, construction documents (more on that in a future article) and e-mail.

Excitedly, Clare came running in with the news: “We did it, 10,013!”

For several minutes, we did nothing but dance.

Ten thousand visitors had seemed like little more than a dream when I joined the Preserve a year ago. Since opening in 2004, our annual number of visitors, members and school groups had grown steadily, but at the end of our 2008-2009 year we had barely crossed 5,000.

To nearly double our visitation in a single year has been an unbelievable journey, and one that could not have been done without the support of so many people – staff, visitors, members and our many partners and friends.

On behalf of all of us, thank you very much for your support!

After our brief celebration, I returned to my desk and simply revelled for a minute. I sent notes of thanks to this past summer’s staff and tried to get back to my to-do list, but I couldn’t stop smiling.

Moments later, a nearly forgotten sound startled me back to reality. The first ground squirrels of the season had returned and were climbing up the siding outside of my window.

They were much noisier – yet significantly more graceful – than the muskoxen I then noticed “climbing” (stretching) up tree trunks to snack on the few remaining tree branches within reach.

On the horizon, the caribou were still grazing and slowly, with much pride, I returned to my desk.

Thank you very much to all Yukoners and visitors to the territory who have made the 2009-2010 operating year such an exciting and memorable time at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

We have lots of exciting things planned for 2010-2011 and we hope to see you again soon. And if you haven’t visited us, we hope to see you soon, too.