Welcome to 2020!
Coming off our 30th Anniversary celebration year, we are excited about what the future brings for our great and growing organization!
We’ve had so many successes in recent years, but continue to look forward as well. In particular, Friends of Dinosaur Ridge’s Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, as well as Jefferson County, have worked hard to develop aligned plans for the next 5-10 years. While this isn’t the place to share every detail, we want you to know our main priorities for this coming year:
Complete the Crocodile Creek Project.
This project, which includes a rock stabilization effort and a ramp, stairway, and viewing deck to approximately a dozen tracks at Crocodile Creek, has been re-started. Updated engineering plans are currently being developed, and supplemental funding will be sought.
Implement Jeffco’s Dinosaur Ridge Master Plan, Particularly Laying the Groundwork for the New Visitors Center and Track Site Cover.
The newly minted Master Plan lays out many improvements for visitor safety, improvements for visitor experiences, and preservation projects, all of which will improve our site for our guests and the treasures we preserve. However, none of the plans are more important than our Track Site Cover, and the new Visitor Center. While we will not be able to begin constructing either in 2020, it is a high priority to be able to continue laying and refining the planning and fundraising groundwork for both of those major projects during the coming year, while also tackling smaller but critical preservation projects at our main stops on the Ridge.
Continue Focus on Evaluation and Dynamic Offerings in the Education Department.
In 2019, our bus tours, summer camps, and adult field trips attracted more participants than ever. Even more exciting, we finished our first full year of program evaluation, including evaluation of our bus tours, Dinosaur Discovery Days, and school tours. We also added popular new programming, such as winter break camps, Dinosaur Ridge After Dark events, and our Science Quiz Bowl on Colorado Public Television. We are committed to offering a mix of innovative and fresh programs, as well as our traditional program offerings, and bringing them all online for evaluation in 2020.
Strengthen Volunteer Recruitment, Retention, and Rewards.
Volunteers have always been the lifeblood of Dinosaur Ridge. Even as our staff grows, the need for volunteers has only intensified as our visitation numbers surge past a quarter million. Our new volunteer team has created more volunteer training and is also working on new ways to enhance and enrich volunteers’ experience here at Dinosaur Ridge.
Continue to Enhance Operational Efficiencies.
In 2019, we implemented major, successful operational efficiencies with our bus tours in particular, including adding a “hop-on, hop-off” shuttle, and reconfiguring the bus schedules, ticketing processes, and passenger handling. We made similar strides in other areas as well; in 2020, we turn our attention to a fresh review of our Gift Store, including our selection, pricing, merchandising, customer service, and more.
Increase Numbers of Individual Donors and Larger Donors.
With an increased emphasis on individual donor development and education of the public around the fact that we’re a nonprofit that relies on philanthropic giving, we are developing robust plans to both increase the pool of smaller donors as well as the cohort of larger, major donors, so that individual giving becomes a major strand in our long-term sustainability. We have also laid the groundwork to apply for more foundation grants than ever.
Launch a ”Curb Appeal”/Beautification Project at Our Current Visitor Center (VC).
Community surveys and internal discussions have aligned around the idea that our VC property has a number of failing or unsightly elements. Acknowledging that we’ll be in our current location at least another 5-6 years, we will likely see a million or more visitors yet to our current VC location and need to complete short-term improvements for our visitors before we move to a new site. A plan is being developed to guide a coordinated suite of beautification and enhancement projects that make the VC grounds more welcoming.
Renew and Enhance Triceratops Trail.
Triceratops Trail is ranked as the #3 most important dinosaur track site in the nation, according to paleontologists, yet it continues to need more infrastructural improvements and more convenient parking for it to be fully utilized and appreciated. We will be planning and working towards these two goals—improved infrastructure and parking at Triceratops Trail—in 2020.
Prioritizing Organizational Culture.
From developing and implementing a formal Values Statement and Plan, to creating a Diversity Committee, to the launch of a new Communications Committee, we are collectively responding to the needs and wishes of our visitors, as well as our staff and volunteers. These new efforts are intended to create a safer, more welcoming, and ultimately more education-friendly culture that also has positive impacts on financial sustainability as well.
That’s where we’re guiding our energies this next year. We’d love to both have your support, and to hear your ideas, about how to best achieve these goals! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Jeff Lamontagne Marsha Barber
Executive Director President, Board of Directors