Kelle Loughlin helps band an osprey alongside Great Bay 5K Race Director and master bander Bob Kennedy

Education Coordinator and Discovery Center Director Kelle Loughlin has been working alongside the Great Bay Stewards for more than 20 years. She’s an integral part of the success of the Art of Great Bay and the Great Bay 5K, doing everything from hanging artwork before the show to sponsoring the MacKenzie Mile award at the race.

How did you get involved with the Great Bay Stewards? 

I first became aware of the Great Bay Stewards when I became the Director of the Great Bay Discovery Center, way back in 1998! The Stewards were already a very active and effective organization back then and welcomed me with open arms into my new role.

What is a favorite memory you have of working with the Stewards? 

I have many memories over the years and of course they all involve fun. For more than 20 years the Great Bay 5K road race has been an incredible partnership between the staff of the Reserve and the various board members and race committee members. In some years the race has drawn close to a thousand runners and pulling a fundraiser of this magnitude off requires great communication and dedication. Every year the Stewards are all in!

What is your proudest accomplishment, or the accomplishment you’re proudest of being a part of? 

I am most proud of securing a very large donation to the Great Bay Discovery Center working hand in hand with the Stewards. Without their willingness to handle and manage the donation it would not have happened.

How did you benefit from your involvement with the Stewards? 

One of the most important roles the Stewards play for the Reserve is financial. And by that I mean, the Stewards are an integral part of our success.  Over the years, with their help, we have been able to fundraise, write and receive grants, host visitor events, and just generally be so much better than we could be as a simple program within a state agency. Whatever education vision I may have for the Center the Stewards help to make it a reality.  Many of our greatest accomplishments here, for example a new boardwalk, picnic pavilion, Teachers on the Estuary Workshops, and many exhibits inside the Great Bay Discovery Center, would not have been possible without the hard work and financial support of the board and members.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of getting involved with the Stewards?  How have you benefited from your involvement with the Stewards?  

If you love the environment, if you love Great Bay, if you understand that conserving and protecting the invaluable ecosystem services that this estuary provides to our communities, you will love what the Stewards make possible. They are a force behind a force and getting involved with that only strengthens their ability to do their work and the work of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Anything else you’d like to share?  Any funny or interesting memories? 

The Stewards willingness to support all programs within the Reserve; research, stewardship, coastal training and education, means that their mission of long-term protection and conservation of the Great Bay Estuarine System, has a boots-on-the-ground team of coastal managers, scientists, and educators working alongside them to accomplish just that!