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To celebrate the 25th birthday of KWF this year, on the 25th of each month we are sharing thoughts and memories from founding, former and current board members and staff as well as from partners we have worked with over the past 25 years. 
Dear Community and Members,
 
Most Tuesday and Thursday mornings I ride my bike on the beach on the north side of the mouth of the Kenai.  It is a time to reflect, connect, appreciate, give thanks, and get centered.  Recently I have witnessed one of the largest tides of the year coincide with the wind and storm surge of a typhoon remnant.  This was followed a few days later by an awe-inspiring rainbow at sunrise with soothing sounds of waves lapping on the shoreline.  The stark contrast of nature’s power and beauty displayed at the River’s mouth represents a small part of what brings us to this place. 

I grew up on my family homestead perched above the North Fork of the Anchor River.  My earliest memories include swimming in the river while spawning king salmon bumped into me, catching my first rainbow trout, and exploring the river’s banks with my dog, Sadie.  With all those experiences, and more like them, a fundamental appreciation for the wild places grew within me.  Over time I realized protecting these places is not just important but necessary for the health of our communities and survival of that for which we are stewards.  We cannot limit our thoughts of stewardship to fish.  Fish, especially salmon, get most of the attention for obvious cultural, subsistence, and economic reasons.  Salmon have been an integral part of my life, from spending summers on the family’s set net sites on Kalgin Island, learning the best fishing holes on the Anchor, to dipnetting the first time for our year’s supply of fish.  We are salmon people.  But even more than that, I for one, connect with water.  I feel this connection strongest while kayaking around the Kenai.  The rivers and ocean we live around on the Kenai Peninsula are unique today.  This place is special.  The center of what makes it special is the water, the rivers and ocean, and the web of life it supports.  At its core, The Kenai Watershed Forum is here to achieve the mission of “working together for healthy watersheds of the Kenai Peninsula.” 

I joined the board of directors because of the mission, especially the “working together” part.  This year has included distinctive challenges as the board of directors has searched for the next executive director to lead KWF.  We have been exceptionally lucky to have longtime supporter, Mitch Michaud, able to work as the transitional executive director while we continue the search.  During this time, we have welcomed a new crew of employees to join our experienced team members.  It is an exciting time at the Forum as the new team members get comfortable with their roles.  Our summer intern program was another huge success that expanded our capacity and reach.  The Forum is as strong as ever.  I am honored to be the current Board of Directors president.  In this capacity, I hope to continue serving to fulfill our important mission.  We appreciate your trust and support.  We look forward to working together in the future.
 
With Gratitude,
 
Matthew Pyhala
Kenai Watershed Forum
Board of Directors, President
Anniversary donations can be mailed to: 
44129 Sterling Hwy, Soldotna, AK  99669
or donate online:
Celebrate 25 Years with a donation!
Do you want to support this work?
 
A tax-deductible gift to Kenai Watershed Forum is a great way to support the local community and the health of rivers systems throughout the Kenai Peninsula. Thank you for your support! 
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