AERO Annual Report and Letter from Board Chair

AERO Board and ED Jan 2017AERO Board President’s Report:

AERO is rocking the Kasbah! It’s time to jump on the train and get involved in some of this awesomeness. The board met for our annual yearly planning meeting at a rustic cabin in Seeley Lake. There, surrounded by piles of snow and while throwing more logs on the fire, we took our strategic plan and decided on a few key tangible foci for the next five years.

Among the core ideas, we’ve decided to pour energy toward:

  1. Increasing urban sustainable community gardens into a wider range of Montana communities.
  2. Initiating Montana’s first community shared renewable energy installation, with the goal of expanding that to multiple locations.
  3. Influencing Montana’s public education for young kids to incorporate sustainable practices and ideas (kids will know what we grow!).
  4. Empowering robust local food economies, with 20% of food being able to be sourced locally.

We have nine strong board members, who I am thrilled to be working with. We are a fun and productive board, moving fast and tackling large challenges one step at a time. We’d also love one or two more board members, so consider it! 🙂

Our interim executive director, Janet Hess-Herbert, has done an excellent job of holding down the fort in the office, managing staff and grants. We are also actively interviewing potential ED candidates for a longer-term position. Although we are well along in the process and have strong candidates to consider, we are still taking applications, in case you or someone you know may be interested. I’m personally significantly excited about working with the new ED to rock this work and make Montana one of the nation’s leading states in cutting edge sustainability practices. Exciting times!

We hit record-breaking end-of-year campaign numbers, raising a whopping $52k! Can you believe it!? This small group of us are truly out to make a difference in this state, and I’m proud to be with you all. This kind of money empowers us to take on greater challenges, build infrastructure, and initiate even more grant funding. Huzzah!

One of the board’s main goals this year is focused on member engagement. Yes, that means YOU! 🙂 We did a huge brainstorm around what it would take for every single one of AERO’s members to be involved in making Montana a better state, because let’s face it, that’s what it will take. One small board can only do so much. 😛

Now, we assume that every one of us is making our own efforts for sustainability, and these are acts that mostly don’t get recognized as “AERO” per se. That’s good! Keep at that! But now, we’re looking to boost involvement to the next level. I encourage you to look at those five-year goals listed above, and ask yourself, “Where do I fit in here?” Our hope is that the organization as a whole would find grants and other funding focused on these goals, that the task forces would take initiative with them, and that our membership (aka YOU) would work closely with us to make them a reality. What do you think? Want to join the awesomeness that is happening? It’s time to jump on the train!


Ephie Risho

AERO Board President

PS. Want more? Don’t forget to check out AERO’s vision document, here, to learn more about our goals and future projects.

AERO 2016 Annual Report

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