2015 Year End Letter from FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake

30 December 2015 Published in News & Events
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water – Loren Eiseley


I’m looking out my window at the recent and welcome 10” of valley snow, and thinking about the Lake. How will this winter water season affect a Lake that has been parched and hit with record low elevations? Whatever happens we know that important work must continue to ensure Great Salt Lake’s future. That’s why I’m writing.


Three times each year, FRIENDS asks for your support of our collective work to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem.

  • We want you to keep your membership active because it’s key to our success in providing a strong voice for the Lake.
  • We celebrate our Fall fundraiser to generate funding for program support but to also provide that social camaraderie that gives us an opportunity to relax and enjoy who we are. 
  • And we send out this Year End Letter because there’s always more to do. And we need your continuing support of our programs in education, our initiatives to promote research, our advocacy for Lake protection, and our efforts to widen the scope of Lake appeal and cultural connection through the arts.

 We want to thank you for being there with us as a loyal supporter, and for your thoughtful generosity. And we can all be proud of the progress we’re making to protect this complex and unique ecosystem. Our accomplishments are far too many to include in this letter but our legacy programs are strong and effective in building more awareness and appreciation for our big, salty neighbor.

  • The 2015 Spring/Fall Lakeside Learning Field Trip season covered two different parts of the Lake. Our traditional Antelope Island adventure where 1,819 - 4th grade students were “touched by the brine”. And a brand new South Shore Lakeside Extension Program which provided 374 Tooele District 4th graders with this unique “hands on + feet wet” salty investigation. Thanks to funding support from Cargill, this program will continue through Spring 2017.
  • This summer, we partnered with the Natural History Museum of Utah on two Great Salt Lake field camps. The camps provided a watershed wide perspective of Great Salt Lake’s role as a terminal lake in the Great Basin. We’re very excited as we look ahead to 2016 with a new summer camp offering with local nonprofit Art Access to provide a unique learning experience to students with cognitive and physical disabilities.
  • We awarded our 14th Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship to support research on Great Salt Lake systems by students at the university level. Chris Mansfield, of Westminster College is this year’s winner. He is investigating the high concentrations of methyl mercury in Great Salt Lake waters.
  • The 2nd Annual Alfred Lambourne Prize that celebrates the creative expression within our community inspired by our inland sea, was given to Max Rosenzweig for his work, Ephemeral Nonsites of Great Salt Lake and Lake Bonneville
  • We are honored to be featured in two documentaries made this year. Great Salt Lake: Utah’s Sanctuary  (KBYU-TV), and  Desert Water: The Future of Utah’s Water Resources made by Dr. Hal Crimmel, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of English at Weber State University.
  • At the Annual Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Conference in SLC this past October, FRIENDS provided the conference opening keynote address, and partnered with SETAC participants on a classroom service project at Farnsworth Elementary with 86 inquisitive students.
  • And we have been working on planning the 2016 Great Salt Lake Issues Forum, May 11-13th at the University of Utah Officers Club. The title of the program is Great Salt Lake in the Big Picture. As usual we’ll include resources from other saline systems so we can share our insights, learn from each other, and make the world a smaller place.


But we can do more. And we will. We do this work with you, with our volunteer board, the volunteer Executive director and one full time and one half-time paid staff.
Most importantly, we do it with 400 members like you.


Our Board of Directors and staff have committed to match the first $8,280 donated to FRIENDS. We hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible gift this holiday season so that we can continue to carry the flag of Great Salt Lake to all corners of the watershed. If you’ve already given then thanks so much for your gift. If you want to give again or for the first time, you can do so at: https://fogsl.org/support/donate-online


In the rush of the holidays, it’s always important to remember the simple and basic things about our family, friends and quality of life. I hope Great Salt Lake is a part of that picture for you.


Thank you.

In Seasonal Saline,

Lynn de Freitas, Executive Director


Why We Care

  • We suggest that Great Salt Lake is a phenomenal asset to the state of Utah. Its mineral resources have been appreciated for almost 150 years. Brine shrimp are now appreciated because they are economically valuable. To only a very limited extent is the lake appreciated for tourism, for culture, for earth systems history and for education. 

    Scientific Review Committee, Comments to the Great Salt Lake Management Planning Team, 1999