Letter from the Director


Chris Swanston headshot

This has been a tumultuous year. Our nation has suffered heartrending loss of life, engaged in a widespread and painful awakening to pervasive racial injustice, and endured economic hardship and upheaval. We’ve been physically separated from our friends and even our families, just when we need each other the most. Most of us have shifted to working from home, many coping for the first time with the realities of full-time telework and the breakdown of numerous support systems such as childcare. It’s important for me to acknowledge that these things are happening and have strained NIACS as a group and as individuals.

But that's not where this story ends.

What amazes me is the continued and expanding demand for our carbon and climate services. Now – while we’re all struggling – would be the best time to sideline the hard work of mitigation and adaptation, right? Yet that’s just not what I’m seeing, which is both humbling and inspiring. Our partners are doing the hard work to look past the darkness of the moment and fulfill their long-term commitment to conservation and investment in the future. Their continued and demonstrated commitment gives me what I need most: hope. Adapting to the combination of COVID-19 and increasing demand for our services has forced NIACS to walk our talk: we set out our plans for the year, considered evolving risks associated with the pandemic, and then reconsidered some objectives while adapting our actions and working spaces to meet others. We’ve shifted to virtual work, flexible hours, and more concentrated work time – and I’ve never seen this team work harder or more creatively than they have this year. They’ve risen to every challenge and maintained a dizzying pace. We’ve made significant gains in our work in carbon science and stewardship, and continued to accommodate the rapid adoption of our processes and services in the adaptation realm. You’ll see these accomplishments reflected in the text, numbers, and pictures in the pages of this report. I’ve always felt honored lead this team, but never more than now. Every day I see their dedication shine through as we light each other’s paths and keep moving forward together.

With kind regards,