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Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Inc.

 242 Main Street #5
 Gloucester, MA 01930
[P] (978) 559-9684
[F] --
capeannvernalpondteam.org
cavpt@yahoo.com
Victoria Rolf
Facebook
INCORPORATED: 2006
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 20-2678120

LAST UPDATED: 04/04/2019
Organization DBA Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds. The issue is the preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.

Mission Statement

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds. The issue is the preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Income $52,950.00
Projected Expense $50,241.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Community Educational Presentations and Exhibits
  • Conservation Work
  • Vernal Pond Certifications and Workshops
  • Vernal Pond Field Trips
  • Vernal Pond Scouts Patch Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to vernal pond conservation and education since 1990. Our focus is vernal ponds. The issue is the preservation of wildlife habitat, which is ultimately about the health of the planet.


Background Statement

Since its inception twenty-eight years ago, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team has done a tremendous amount of work to preserve threatened vernal ponds and thereby protect the wildlife that rely on those ponds for survival. We do this by teaching and engaging people from all walks of life with presentations, exhibits, field trips and conservation work. We inspire the local community to become active and responsible stewards of wild places. We bring people into the field to discover creatures and habitats in ways they may not have experienced before. We encourage kids to come outside with us. We are a very small nonprofit with a high programmatic impact. Within the last year approximately eight thousand people became aware of vernal ponds.
 
There are hundreds of vernal ponds in the Cape Ann region. A vernal pond is a fishless confined basin depression with no permanent inlet or outlet with a unique ecology. Vernal ponds provide more food for countless upland species than any other type of wetland. If a pond has been destroyed or disturbed, obligate species  will cease to breed. The threats to vernal ponds and nature as a whole are significant. The three primary threats include the impact of human development, the degradation of nearby woodlands, and climate change. The impact of development is likely the most significant current threat, however, climate change is predicted to be the major factor in the decline of large numbers of species in the years to come. Finally, most people have no idea what vernal ponds are or even that vernal ponds exist. We focus on educating the public to understand local ecology. 
 
Richard Roth, Executive Director and founder of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, has had a lifelong interest in wildlife especially reptiles and amphibians. Mr. Roth along with a few friends founded the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team. They began by leading nighttime field trips to see the spring breeding activity of Spotted salamanders, Wood frogs, Spring peepers and more. In 2006 the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team organized our first Board of Directors and became incorporated as a 501(c)(3). In the twenty-eight years that the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team has consistently provided high-quality experiential programs to meet the demands of the Cape Ann area community. Again, we are a very small nonprofit with a high programmatic impact!

Impact Statement

In January 2017 we began a process for infrastructure development in an effort to bring the organization’s operations in line with the high level of programming being provided. Our goal was to create a solid organizational foundation for long term strength, sustainability, and increased capacity. Although our organization’s leadership team has management skills and nonprofit experience, there is not enough capacity to ensure long-term sustainability.
 
In late 2016 we identified fourteen organizational weaknesses that we are addressing in a project called Infrastructure Development 2017 through 2020. Between late 2016 and January 2019 we successfully resolved nine of those weaknesses including creating a new and more interactive website, creating a bookkeeping system for the first time, redesigning our financials and displaying them on our new website, transitioning our contact list to the new website, developing a system to log and reply to donors and members, redesigning and upgrading GuideStar including the activation of Gold Level, and the redesign and update of The Giving Common.
 
In the remainder of 2019, we hope to be funded to resolve the remaining five identified weaknesses including completing a strategic plan, redefining the organizational budget, creating board governance practices, developing orientation tools for the Board of Directors, and recruiting additional board members for specific roles and responsibilities. 

Needs Statement

In the remainder of 2019, we are in need of funding to support the remaining five identified weaknesses listed above including the strategic plan, the organizational budget, board governance practices, orientation tools for the Board of Directors, and recruiting additional board members. We are currently pursuing funding options to meet this $12,000 unmet need.
 
As we stated previously, there is not enough capacity to ensure sustainability. Our programs are at maximum capacity, and in some cases stretched to the limit. We have been unable to expand. Once our organizational development process identified above is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major organizational goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including increasing the money we need to maintain and expand. Initially, we will seek short-term funding for this capacity-building position in the amount of $60,000 over two years. 
 
Once the half-time position described above is in place, we will be seeking funding to pay program staff and expand programming. 

CEO Statement

My name is Rick Roth and I am the Executive Director of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team. When I was young I spent my free time in the woods, fields and wetlands. Anything wild interested me - turtles, frogs, snakes, crayfish, dragonflies, butterflies, raccoons, skunks and birds. Without realizing it, I was leading field trips to local wild areas at a very young age. My friends and schoolmates would join me to see where I was finding all these cool animals. 
 
More than twenty eight years ago a few friends and I founded the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team. We began by leading nighttime field trips to see the spring breeding activity of spotted salamanders, wood frogs and spring peepers. Most people not only had never seen this, they had no idea it was happening. Most of our field trippers grew up with the sound of the spring peeper indicating the true beginning of the season, but most had never seen a spring peeper let alone one expanding its throat like a balloon to make the peeping sound. And they couldn't believe such a tiny frog could make such a loud noise.
 
As young people, we understood that vernal ponds were more than just puddles of water and mud. These wet spaces were actually wildlife habitats, as well as filters for air and water, and giant oxygen producers. We learned of a process by which these delicate and undervalued wetlands, and some of the adjacent upland habitat, were provided some protections by the state. This process is called "Vernal Pond Certification". Eventually, Vernal Pond Certifications became a part of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team programming.
 
Additionally, I have always had a special interest in snakes since the time that I caught one on my way home from kindergarten. Among the most misunderstood animals, snakes are beautiful and fascinating creatures, and thousands of people have changed their minds about them after attending our presentations. To address this important topic we offer a live animal presentation called "Snakes of New England and the World". We welcome your visit to our website to discover what we do and more information about our programs.
 
Although we are a very small nonprofit, we have a high programmatic impact. Within the last year approximately eight thousand people became aware of vernal ponds. Our team is composed of highly experienced and knowledgable educators as well as a large following of participants, volunteers, donors, members, and partners. Team members come from all walks of life, and we have a strong community foundation in the Cape Ann area. 
 
 

Board Chair Statement

My name is Nick Taormina and I am the President of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Board of Directors. I have been an active member for 17 years, serving in many capacities including vice president, officer, member, and a volunteer participating in a wide range of activities and field work. I graduated from Lesley University with degrees focused on teaching middle school science. Much of my coursework included environmental education and wildlife biology. My initial experience on a nighttime field trip with the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team sparked my interest in and passion for vernal pond conservation and open spaces in the Cape Ann area.

Our success can be measured in many ways. First, our programs are very popular with the public which translates to ever-increasing awareness of the plight of nature in our area. Second, our collaborations are second to none and continue to grow and evolve. Third, our certification process continues to expand, thereby gaining needed protections for more and more vernal ponds. Finally, our volunteer educator/naturalists are second to none. These professionals have decades of experience and training informing the exceptional work they do. 

Our working volunteers and board members have provided the foundation of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team since its inception. We have very dedicated and highly skilled individuals doing work such as helping to facilitate programs, creating the annual newsletter, pulling off very complex fundraising events, managing the website, and communicating with volunteers and donors through email and snail mail.
 
Although our organization’s leadership team has management skills and nonprofit experience, there is not enough capacity to ensure long-term sustainability. As a result, we began a process for infrastructure development in January 2017 in an effort to bring the organization’s operations in line with the high level of programming being provided. Our goal is to create a solid organizational foundation for long-term strength, sustainability, and increased capacity. 
 
In late 2016 we identified fourteen organizational weaknesses. Nine of those organizational weaknesses have been resolved and we continue to move forward to address the remaining five including completing a strategic plan, redefining the organizational budget, creating governance practices and orientation tools for the Board of Directors, and recruiting additional board members for specific roles and responsibilities. 
 
Our programs are at maximum capacity, and in some cases stretched to the limit. We have been unable to expand. Once our organizational development process identified above is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including increasing the money we need to maintain and expand. Once the position described above is in place, we will be seeking funding to pay program staff and expand our programs.
 
By developing our infrastructure as described above, we will be able to serve more people and protect more wetlands. Additionally, we will be able to develop new programming to address more environmental problems related to nature and wetlands. We are very proud of the work we do!

Geographic Area Served

NORTHEAST REGION, MA
STATEWIDE
The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team provides programming primarily in Essex County, but we also travel into greater New England if requested. 

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation & Management
  2. Environment - Environmental Education
  3. Animal Related - Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Community Educational Presentations and Exhibits

Held throughout New England, our live animal presentations and exhibits educate the community about vernal ponds and the complex web of life they support. Our two main offerings are Introduction to Vernal Ponds and Snakes of New England and the World. Presentations are generally designed to educate a group, whereas an exhibit is usually at a community event. They both focus on educating participants and community members about vernal ponds, snakes, local wildlife and habitats.

Introduction to Vernal Ponds stresses the importance of vernal ponds and how to protect them. This is followed by up-close viewing of some of our favorite vernal pond creatures. Snakes of New England and the World focuses on the lives and habits of snakes. Snakes are some of the world's most misunderstood animals and in our presentations our goal is to dispel the misinformation and stigma attached to these animals. During these live animal presentations, eager participants have the opportunity to see and handle native and exotic snakes. Interestingly, the response to the handling of a snake is almost always positive and generates an array of emotions in the handler. People don't realize that the snake feels different than what they had expected. 
 
The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team holds presentations and exhibits at community events, schools, libraries, scouting meetings, expo's, fairs and shops. We have worked with many local organizations such as Essex County Greenbelt Association, The Trustees of Reservations, Cape Ann Trail Stewards, Gloucester Sawyer Free Library, Maritime Gloucester, Peabody Essex Museum, Kestrel Educational Adventures, the YMCA and many more. In addition, we are registered presenters for the Massachusetts State Parks. We hold nearly 50 programs each year reaching thousands of community members.
Budget  $5,600.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Bring our vernal pond and snake exhibits to community and special events to educate and enlighten visitors and participants about the many species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal pond habitat for survival. Participants see animals alive and up close, many of which they’ve never seen or heard of before. Visitors get hands on opportunities to touch and hold many snake species.

Bring vernal pond and snake presentations to community venues to educate and expose participants to the many unique species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal ponds for survival. Students observe these living creatures up close and they have the opportunity to touch and hold many of the snakes. 

 

Program Long-Term Success 

To enhance community awareness of vernal ponds and the threats that put vernal ponds at risk.

To increase the public's appreciation and enjoyment of nature and reduce the misconceptions of nature. 
Program Success Monitored By 

Exhibits - Collect contact information about our visitors through a sign-in list.

Presentations - Collect contact information about our visitors through a sign-in list.
Provide a knowledge and appreciation survey post program. 
Examples of Program Success 

We exhibited to nearly 7,000 community members last year.

We presented to nearly 675 community members last year. 

Conservation Work

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team provides wildlife assistance and habitat support throughout Cape Ann and the surrounding communities. In addition to the more than 200 vernal ponds that we have certified over the years, our organization works on a number of Federal, State, Local, and Private conservation projects.
 
Two of our recent projects outlined below include animal surveys and relocations. In the first example, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team assists in surveying the Blanding’s turtle in an effort to protect any remaining populations in the Cape Ann area. The Blanding's turtle is designated as Threatened under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to kill, harass, collect, or possess this turtle.
 
Found in the eastern half of the state, it has a dark body and a bright yellow throat, with a 7-9 inch carapace. The female turtle reaches sexual maturity at 14-20 years, and the species has a documented longevity of 83 years. For all these reasons, it is critical to preserve the turtle’s habitat in order to ensure the survival of this long-lived, and rare to Cape Ann species. Although there are historic records referencing Blanding's turtles on Cape Ann, we have yet to trap one. Most likely we are the only organization setting live traps for this elusive turtle. This spring our team was in the field about 60 times, and although we didn’t find any Blanding’s turtles, we found other species of turtles including the native Painted turtle, Spotted turtle and the Common snapping turtle.
 
In the second wildlife assessment and habitat rehabilitation project, the Town of Rockport dredged the Mill Pond in Millbrook Meadow in order to remove sediment and invasive species in and around the pond. Years of sludge, overgrown flora, crumbling granite walls, and a rerouted brook compromised the ecology of the pond. The goal of the project was to drain and restore the pond and surroundings to their natural state. Prior to the pond being drained, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, partners, and local students relocated turtles and fish to Loop Pond a half mile upstream. Interestingly, the relocated turtles, fish, and other wildlife had a direct route back to their original habitat via a natural connected unaffected stream.
 
In all of our conservation work, data is collected and shared with state and federal agencies for their ecological work. Finally, the conservation work that we do is extensive and varied. In most cases, it is unlikely the work would get done if the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team was not in existence. 
Budget  $2,800.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
Provide conservation work in order to understand the health of animal species and protect wildlife habitat. We accomplish this in a variety of ways including turtle surveys for habitat protection, vernal pond certifications, and wildlife relocation.
 
Recruit volunteer youth and adults to become involved in our organization assisting with activities such as fundraising, educational programs, events and conservation work. Volunteers have told us they see and feel the value and impact of their contribution. 
Program Long-Term Success 
To ascertain the health of animal species and directly protect wildlife habitat, in-turn reducing species loss.
 
Recruit and train volunteers to become passionate teachers and stewards of the environment. 
Program Success Monitored By 
Maintain program checklist which tracks data including the type of project, the number of volunteers, the number of public in attendance, and the necessary animal and habitat related information.
 
Provide pre and post knowledge survey to select volunteers.
 
Provide annual volunteer satisfaction survey. 
Examples of Program Success 
Approximately 400 community members, students, and volunteers participated in conservation projects last year.
 
We recruited, trained and engaged approximately 20 new volunteers last year. We completed enhanced volunteer training for nearly 40 current volunteers. 

Vernal Pond Certifications and Workshops

Since its inception, the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team has certified over 200 vernal ponds in the Cape Ann area. Massachusetts was the first state to offer protection for ponds through the National Heritage and Endangered Species Program, which is part of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Once certified, vernal ponds are granted a buffer zone similar to other wetlands. Team members work on mapping, data collection, and online certification.

Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team members hold workshops to educate other organizations about pond certification. We also provide assistance to private land owners working to certify their own vernal ponds. Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team's long-term goal is to continue certification efforts, thereby protecting at-risk vernal ponds on Cape Ann. Through these educational and protective efforts, more members of the community have become active in conservation issues and local organizations have a greater understanding of the importance of these ecosystems. We educate and support surrounding communities in Massachusetts in order to replicate vernal pond conservation throughout the state and beyond.
Budget  $3,500.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Survey vernal ponds by photographing the ponds and obligate species that inhabit them. Data is submitted to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to certify the pond so it gains protection under the Wetlands Protection Act. We also provide certification training to individuals and organizations so they can certify ponds in their communities.

 

Program Long-Term Success 

To minimize the effects of habitat loss, and the loss of vernal ponds.
 
To ascertain the health of animal species and directly protect wildlife habitat, in-turn reducing species loss. 
 
Program Success Monitored By 

The number of certifications approved by the State of Massachusetts.

 

Examples of Program Success 

We have completed over 200 vernal pond surveys resulting in an equal number of certifications on both public and private lands. Annually we complete approximately ten surveys, resulting in protection of these vernal ponds and their surrounding habitat on Cape Ann and other communities where landowners ask for help. This is our way of saving critical wildlife habitat in our corner of the world.

 


Vernal Pond Field Trips

The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team offers field trips for our members, the public, schools, and organizations. Operating primarily in the springtime during the amphibian breeding season, these field trips allow participants to observe the inextricable link woodland creatures have to these ponds. On peak nights, when ponds are teaming with thousands of salamanders and singing frogs, citizen naturalists who brave the cold and wet are rewarded by this rich natural experience. Other seasons also provide opportunities for experiencing pond habitat. During the summer months, amphibians such as froglets transition by the thousands from life under water to life on land. Viewing these migrations are something to behold.

Over the years we have had a continued and enthusiastic base of participants come out to watch. Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team volunteers are on hand to answer questions and lead discussions on the importance of preserving these areas. Daytime programs consist of gathering egg mass samples, netting creatures in vernal ponds, and investigating the shoreline and surrounding habitat for other creatures and plant inhabitants. Participants experience learning through hands-on discovery and exploration. In response to these trips, participants walk away educated and encouraged to develop their own sense of conservation. Many become Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team members and volunteers.
Budget  $1,400.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Provide daytime and nighttime vernal pond field trips to members and the public. Participants learn about and explore these vital vernal pond habitats during the peak amphibian breeding season. They observe migrating and breeding animals during these interactive field trips. This discovery and exploration allows participants to experience the inextricable link woodland creatures have to these pools. 

Program Long-Term Success 

To enhance community awareness of vernal ponds and the threats that put vernal ponds at risk.

Program Success Monitored By 

Collect contact information about participants through a sign-in list. 

Provide a knowledge and appreciation survey post program.

 

Examples of Program Success 

We guided approximately 96 community members last year.


Vernal Pond Scouts Patch Program

In 2006 a local Girl Scout Troop partnered with the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team and launched the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Scouts Patch Program. To date, over 100 Girl and Boy Scouts have earned their patches. The Scouts Patch Program was created to provide an understanding of local ecology through vernal ponds. Patch requirements include the following topics: What is a vernal pond? How is the land around vernal ponds used by animals? Why are vernal ponds valuable and threatened? What effect do humans have on these areas? Are vernal ponds automatically protected in Massachusetts? What does it take to document your vernal pond for certification? What careers are associated with vernal ponds?
 
The Patch program requirements also include the following activities:
Documenting vernal ponds using photography, videography, and audio recordings.
Using the recordings to make presentations and displays to educate the public.
Using a field guide to identify vernal pond critters and documenting their migration distances to and from vernal ponds.
Making signs and displaying them outdoors to show how far the animals will travel to and from the ponds during the year. Learning how to use GPS (Global Positioning System) and mapping ponds.
Going through the steps of certification using a certification sheet.
If a pond is not yet certified, help to get it certified.
 
Finally, integrating all the information they have learned, the scouts design a comprehensive and in-depth lesson to teach vernal pond ecology and preservation to other youth. The scouts are challenged to create teaching tools such as puppet shows, games and interactive displays. To the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team members, the scouts appear full of excitement, wonder, and joy when participating in this unique program. We feel good about passing important scientific information down to generations who may be able to protect the natural world in ways that we cannot.
Budget  $700.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) K-12 (5-19 years) General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Survey vernal ponds by photographing the ponds and obligate species that inhabit them. Data is submitted to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to certify the pond so it gains some protection under the Wetlands Protection Act. We also provide certification training to individuals and organizations so they can certify ponds in their communities.
Program Long-Term Success 
To enhance community awareness of vernal ponds and the threats that put vernal ponds at risk.
Program Success Monitored By  Success is measured by obtaining the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Scouts Patch.
Examples of Program Success  Over 100 Scouts have earned the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Scouts Patch.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Note: Our current primary challenge remains constant throughout all aspects of our organization including programs, management, governance, and financials. Given our quantitatively and qualitatively high level of programming, our organization is still challenged to develop a foundation upon which a solid structure of programs can stand and grow. For example, our organization is like an inverted pyramid, we are strong and wide at the top (programming) and conversely we need to expand and strengthen the bottom (operations).
 
The Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team has done a tremendous amount of work to preserve threatened vernal ponds and thereby protect the wildlife that rely on those ponds for survival. We do this by teaching and engaging people from all walks of life with presentations, exhibits, field trips and conservation work. We inspire the local community to become active and responsible stewards of wild places. We bring people into the field to discover creatures and habitats in ways they may not have experienced before.
 
We are a very small nonprofit with a high programmatic impact. Within the last year approximately eight thousand people became aware of vernal ponds. Our programs are at maximum capacity, and in some cases stretched to the limit. We have been unable to expand because we are at maximum for our organizations current state.
 
In January 2017, in an effort to bring the organization’s operations in line with the high level of programming being provided, we began a process for infrastructure development. Our goal is to create a solid organizational foundation for long-term strength, sustainability, and increased capacity. Once this organizational development process is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including increasing the money we need to maintain and expand. Once the position is in place, we will be seeking funding to pay program staff and expand our programs to create newly identified needs.
 
By developing our infrastructure as described above, we will be able to serve more people and protect more wetlands. Additionally, we will be able to develop new programming to address more environmental problems related to nature and wetlands.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Richard Roth
CEO Term Start Mar 2009
CEO Email cavpt@yahoo.com
CEO Experience
Richard Roth, Executive Director and founder of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, has a lifelong interest in wildlife especially reptiles and amphibians with extensive field experience in wetland ecology. He is a 35 year member of the New England Herpetological Society, and has served as the Director, President and Treasurer. Also trained by the Vernal Pool Association, as well as employed by HYLA Ecological Service, Mr. Roth has carried out hundreds of vernal pond and rare species habitat surveys. He produced and directed a movie entitled “Vernal Ponds” filmed on Cape Ann earning three merit awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival. He is also trained in nonprofit management. As the Executive Director, he continues to lead the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, and will inspire and guide our organization into the next decade.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Victoria Rolf Assistant Director
Victoria Rolf, Assistant Director, first became involved with the organization as a participant during community events with her family and later on field trips. She joined the organization in late 2016 as a volunteer and began working on an organizational project called "Infrastructure Development 2017 through 2020 project".
 
Ms. Rolf noticed the high level of commitment to the protection of natural places, and the exceptional quality of the educational programming provided by the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team. She brings her skills and interests in web design, organizing, and financial matters. A priority of Ms. Rolf’s is ensuring that all interested parties know that they are welcome and appreciated. 
 
She retired from the field of air traffic control after 24 years of service.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Recognition Award Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church 2011
The Ecological Landscaping Award for Most Innovative Exhibit ELA Conference and Eco-Marketplace 2010
Merit Awards for Educational Value, Conservation Message and Excellence in Hi-8 Photography 23rd Annual Wildlife Film Festival 2000
Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award Garden Club of America --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Overarching our entire organization are the relationships built with other organizations. These relationships allow us to reach many people in different walks of life beyond our local community and they add value to our mission.
 
Collaborators include:
City of Gloucester
Town of Rockport
Town of Essex
Town of Manchester
Town of Ipswich 
Mass Wildlife
New England Herpetological Society
Vernal Pool Association
New England Wildlife Center
The Trustees of Reservations
Essex County Greenbelt
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Mass Audubon
Massachusetts State Parks 
Parker River Wildlife Refuge
Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Maritime Gloucester
Kestrel Education Adventures
Cape Ann Trail Stewards
Gloucester Library
Essex Library
Cape Ann YMCA 
 
We in turn enhance the programs of other conservation organizations. By partnering with a myriad of other community organizations, schools, and agencies, we share a common ground for our learning platform. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Note: Our current primary challenge remains constant throughout all aspects of our organization including programs, management, governance, and financials. Given our quantitatively and qualitatively high level of programming, our organization is still challenged to develop a foundation upon which a solid structure of programs can stand and grow. For example, our organization is like an inverted pyramid, we are strong and wide at the top (programming) and conversely we need to expand and strengthen the bottom (operations).
 
In January 2017 we began a process for infrastructure development in an effort to bring the organization’s operations in line with the high level of programming being provided. Our goal was to create a solid organizational foundation for long term strength, sustainability, and increased capacity. 
 
In late 2016 we identified fourteen organizational weaknesses that we are addressing in a project called Infrastructure Development 2017 through 2020. Between late 2016 and January 2019 we successfully resolved nine of those weaknesses including creating a new and more interactive website, creating a bookkeeping system for the first time, redesigning our financials and displaying them on our new website, transitioning our contact list to the new website, developing a system to log and reply to donors and members, redesigning and upgrading GuideStar to Gold Level and The Giving Common.
 
In the remainder of 2019 we hope to be funded to resolve the remaining five identified weaknesses including completing a strategic plan, redefining the organizational budget, creating governance practices and orientation tools for the Board of Directors, and recruiting additional board members for specific roles and responsibilities.
 
Once this organizational development process is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including increasing the money we need to maintain and expand. Once the position is in place, we will be seeking funding to pay program staff and expand our programs to address newly identified needs. And finally, we would be able to leverage additional and potentially sustaining financial support which is a key goal upon completion of our Infrastructure Development 2017 through 2020.

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 50
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 1
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? No
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability
Professional Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Nicolo Taormina
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer and Taormina Tile
Board Chair Term July 2018 - July 2020
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Colleen Anderson Good Harbor Graphics Voting
Katherine Bevins Student and Community Volunteer Voting
Richard Roth Executive Director of the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Voting
Nicolo Taormina Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Note: Our current primary challenge remains constant throughout all aspects of our organization including programs, management, governance, and financials. Given our quantitatively and qualitatively high level of programming, our organization is still challenged to develop a foundation upon which a solid structure of programs can stand and grow. For example, our organization is like an inverted pyramid, we are strong and wide at the top (programming) and conversely we need to expand and strengthen the bottom (operations).

In January 2017, in an effort to bring the organization’s operations in line with the high level of programming being provided, we began a process for infrastructure development. Our goal was to create a solid organizational foundation for long-term strength, sustainability, and increased capacity.
 
Although our organization’s leadership team has management skills and nonprofit experience, there was not enough capacity to ensure long-term sustainability. As a result, in late 2016 we identified fourteen organizational weaknesses, nine of those weaknesses have been resolved, and we continue to move forward to address the remaining five. The remaining goals include completing a strategic plan, redefining the organizational budget, creating board governance practices, designing orientation tools for the board, and recruiting additional board members for specific roles and responsibilities.
 
In regards to the Board of Directors recruitment goal described above, we are moving toward becoming a more cohesive and engaged board targeting members to specific roles and interests. The current board members are highly involved and dedicated volunteers.
 
Once this organizational development process is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including increasing the money we need to maintain and expand. Once the position is in place, we will be seeking funding to pay program staff and expand programming to address newly identified needs.
 
By developing our infrastructure as described above, we will be able to serve more people and protect more wetlands. Additionally, we will be able to develop new programming to address more environmental problems related to nature and wetlands.

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Income $52,950.00
Projected Expense $50,241.00
Form 990s

2018 Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team 990EZ

2017 Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team 990EZ

2016 Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team 990EZ

2015 Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team 990 EZ

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $30,365 $13,484 $32,921
Total Expenses $34,099 $27,986 $26,785

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $19,364 $9,675 $15,359
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $1,450 $1,475 $3,650
Investment Income, Net of Losses $24 $83 $127
Membership Dues $675 $955 $293
Special Events $8,852 $1,296 $3,014
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- $10,478

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $30,868 $22,515 $17,740
Administration Expense $3,231 $5,471 $9,045
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.89 0.48 1.23
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 80% 66%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $8,973 $12,707 $27,209
Current Assets $8,973 $12,707 $27,209
Long-Term Liabilities $0 -- --
Current Liabilities $0 -- --
Total Net Assets $8,973 $12,707 $27,209

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Note: Our current primary challenge remains constant throughout all aspects of our organization including programs, management, governance, and financials. Given our quantitatively and qualitatively high level of programming, our organization is still challenged to develop a foundation upon which a solid structure of programs can stand and grow. For example, our organization is like an inverted pyramid, we are strong and wide at the top (programming) and conversely we need to expand and strengthen the bottom (operations).
 
Our biggest asset is the contribution of time and expertise by our volunteers. A significant portion of our ability to operate comes in the form of volunteer work or in-kind work. A vast majority of our Executive Director's time is volunteer and our Board of Directors is all-volunteer.
 
In January 2017, we began the process for infrastructure development by identifying fourteen organizational weaknesses, nine of those weaknesses have been resolved including a major bookkeeping system overhaul, a financial data redesign which displayed on our new website, the website redesign led to the transition of our contact list to our website enabling streamlined communications. Importantly, these new systems also allowed us to maintain up-to-date financials.
 
As we continue to move forward to address the remaining five weaknesses including completing a strategic plan, creating board governance practices, designing orientation tools for the board, and recruiting additional board members for specific roles and responsibilities, a financial priority will be to refine and enhance our organizations budget for a better and more comprehensive roadmap to our future.
 
Once this organizational development process is complete, and we have a solid base upon which to operate, our next major goal will be to create a funding plan to support a half-time position. This position will oversee operations including continuing to manage our newly redesigned financials as well as to increase our budget to maintain and expand programs.
 
By developing our infrastructure as described above, we will be able to serve more people and protect more wetlands. Additionally, we will be able to develop new programming to address more environmental problems related to nature and wetlands.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990 EZs. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
 

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Goal A - To minimize the effects of habitat loss, and the loss of vernal ponds.
 
Goal B - To enhance community awareness of vernal ponds and the threats that put vernal ponds at risk.
 
Goal C - To ascertain the health of animal species and directly protect wildlife habitat, in-turn reducing species loss.
 
Goal D - To increase the public's appreciation and enjoyment of nature and reduce the misconceptions about nature.
 
Goal E - Recruit and train volunteers to become passionate teachers and stewards of the environment.
 
Goal F - Create a physical location for operations to make our organization accessible to more people for the purpose of education, conservation, and to experience the natural world together.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Strategy for Goals A, B, C, E - Survey vernal ponds by photographing the ponds and obligate species that inhabit them. Data is submitted to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to certify the pond so it gains protection under the Wetlands Protection Act. We also provide certification training to individuals and organizations so they can certify ponds in their communities.
 
Strategy for Goals B, D, E - Bring our vernal pond and snake exhibits to community and special events to educate and enlighten visitors and participants about the many species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal pond habitat for survival. Participants see animals alive and up close, many of which they’ve never seen or heard of before. Visitors get hands-on opportunities to touch and hold many snake species.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, D, E - Bring vernal pond and snake presentations to community venues to educate and expose participants to the many unique species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal ponds for survival. Students observe these living creatures up-close and they have the opportunity to touch and hold many of the snakes.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide daytime and nighttime vernal pond field trips to members and the public. Participants learn about and explore these vital vernal pond habitats during the peak amphibian breeding season. They observe migrating and breeding animals during these interactive field trips. This discovery and exploration allows participants to experience the inextricable link woodland creatures have to these ponds.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide conservation work in order to understand the health of animal species and protect wildlife habitat. We accomplish this in a variety of ways including turtle surveys for habitat protection, vernal pond certifications, and wildlife relocation.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Recruit volunteer youth and adults to become involved in our organization assisting with activities such as fundraising, educational programs, events and conservation work. Volunteers have told us they see and feel the value and impact of their contribution.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F - Provide a state of the art website connecting our team and the community and allowing us to coordinate our activities. We stay in touch with our membership, donors, volunteers, sponsors, and organizations who request our programming. Our website is a free online educational tool available to everyone.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F -
(Short-term strategy) Develop the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team meeting space called "The Shop" which will offer a storefront location for members and the community to gather. It will also be a home-base for managing the organization as well as for fundraising.
(Long-term strategy) Open a wildlife center on Cape Ann for expanded and enhanced community programming.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Describing our Capabilities -
 
Overarching all of our goals listed above are the relationships built with other organizations. These relationships add value to every aspect of our organization. Collaborators include Mass Wildlife, New England Herpetological Society, Vernal Pool Association, New England Wildlife Center, The Trustees of Reservations, Essex County Greenbelt, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mass Audubon, Parker River, Maritime Gloucester, Kestrel Education Adventures, Cape Ann Trail Stewards, and a myriad of schools and community organizations. We in turn enhance the programs of other conservation organizations. By partnering with other community organizations, schools, and agencies, we share a common ground for our learning platform. These relationships allow us to reach many people in different walks of life beyond our local community.
 
In addition to our critically important collaborators, we have highly experienced and knowledgable educators. These professionals have decades of experience and training informing the exceptional work they do. The numerous dedicated volunteers and board members provide the foundation of Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team. We have management skills and nonprofit experience to provide the leadership needed to move our organization forward. The City of Gloucester is supportive of the work we do, and we have strong community participation on Cape Ann. We have an albeit small but consistent budget where we maximize our donations through the use of many volunteers and other committed partners. We currently have planning money to be used for the development of a strategic and fundraising plan.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Strategy for Goals A, B, C, E - Our organization surveys vernal ponds by photographing the ponds and obligate species that inhabit them.
Indicator - The number of certifications approved by the State of Massachusetts.
 
Strategy for Goals B, D, E - Bring our vernal pond and snake exhibits to community and special events to educate and enlighten visitors and participants about the many species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal pond habitat for survival. 
Indicator - Collect contact information about our visitors through a sign-in list.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, D, E - Bring vernal pond and snake presentations to community venues.
Indicator - Collect contact information about our visitors through a sign-in list.
Indicator - Provide a knowledge and appreciation survey post program.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide daytime and nighttime vernal pond field trips to members and the public.
Indicator - Collect contact information about participants through a sign-in list.
Indicator - Provide a knowledge and appreciation survey post program.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide conservation work in order to ascertain the health of animal species and/or directly protect wildlife and habitat.
Indicator - Maintain program checklist which tracks data including the type of project, the number of volunteers, the number of public in attendance, and the necessary animal and habitat related information.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Recruit volunteer youth and adults to become involved in our organization to assist with activities such as fundraising, educational programs, events and conservation work.
Indicator - Provide pre and post knowledge survey to select volunteers. 
Indicator - Provide annual volunteer satisfaction survey.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F - Provide a state of the art website connecting our team and the community and allowing us to coordinate our activities.
Indicator - Survey members about how often they access the website and their satisfaction with it.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F -
(Short-term strategy) Develop the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team meeting space called "The Shop" which will offer a storefront location for members and the community to gather.
Indicator - Collect contact information about our visitors through a sign-in list.
Indicator - Collect member and volunteer usage data through a sign-in list.
(Long-term strategy) Open a wildlife center on Cape Ann for expanded and enhanced community programming.
Indicator - Strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Strategy for Goals A, B, C, E - Our organization surveys vernal ponds by photographing the ponds and obligate species that inhabit them.
Progress - We have completed over 200 vernal pond surveys resulting in an equal number of certifications on both public and private lands. Annually we complete approximately ten surveys, resulting in protection of these vernal ponds and their surrounding habitat on Cape Ann. This is our way of saving critical wildlife habitat in our corner of the world.
 
Strategy for Goals B, D, E - Bring our vernal pond and snake exhibits to community and special events to educate and enlighten visitors and participants about the many species of wildlife that live, breed, and depend upon vernal pond habitat for survival.
Progress - We exhibited to nearly 7,000 community members last year.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, D, E - Bring vernal pond and snake presentations to community venues.
Progress - We presented to nearly 675 community members last year.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide daytime and nighttime vernal pond field trips to members and the public.
Progress - We guided approximately 96 community members last year.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Provide conservation work in order to ascertain the health of animal species and/or directly protect wildlife and habitat.
Progress - Approximately 400 community members, students, and volunteers participated in conservation projects last year.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E - Recruit volunteer youth and adults to become involved in our organization assisting with activities such as fundraising, educational programs, events and conservation work.
Progress - We recruited, trained and engaged approximately 20 new volunteers last year. We completed enhanced volunteer training for nearly 40 current volunteers.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F - Provide a state of the art website connecting our team and the community and allowing us to coordinate our activities.
Progress - Since the beginning of the website redesign last year we have input 975 contacts which is our base for emailing, E-blasts, and snail mail. The education tool aspect of the website was significantly expanded. The new website can enroll members, receive donations, and sell products while logging and totaling the receipts.
 
Strategy for Goals A, B, C, D, E, F -
(Short-term strategy) Develop the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team meeting space called "The Shop" which will offer a storefront location for members and the community to gather.
Progress - The Shop gathering place is developed and utilized by the public.
(Long-term strategy) Open a wildlife center on Cape Ann for expanded and enhanced community programming.
Progress - A business plan for the wildlife center is targeted to be completed by the end of 2020.