January 2017: Greetings from Lady Dunrovin
New Years can be totally uneventful and simply mark the passing of one day and one year to another. This is often the case at Dunrovin. This year, however, cosmic forces seem to have gathered to bring a number of significant changes to the ranch and to our DaysAtDunrovin community.
New People Bringing New Perspectives and New Talents
It I were to be totally honest, I would have to admit that during the past several years I have bitten off way more than I can chew. In no way was I prepared for the amount of work, the number of technical obstacles, the unnerving choices and decisions that needed to be made, or the amount of risk that I was taking in trying to develop the DaysAtDunrovin online community. Building an online community is a BIG task, one that takes me well beyond my life experiences, talents, or skills.
My goals have never changed. I wanted to act upon what I had learned from the viewers of our osprey web camera. They said they wanted a safe and respectful cyber place where people from across the globe could congregate to celebrate their mutual interests and love of nature, animals, education, science, and the arts, and to form real, meaningful friendships born of shared cyber experiences. The goal seemed simple, but the actuality proved to be way more complex.
Early on, I sought a partner who could work by my side to develop such a site. While I have no small amount of self-confidence and am unafraid of hard work, I sensed that this would never be successful without the dedicated efforts of more than just me and the people I could directly employ, however wonderful they are. I needed people who shared my goals, my sense of purpose. Several minds, several life experiences, several points of view are absolutely essential to creating something that speaks to many. Similarly, several hearts with strength of resolve are needed to push through the hard times and celebrate the good times.
The 2017 stars seem to be lining up to bring our D@D community the talent, energy, and business acumen essential for success:
- Bryony Schwan is partnering with me to develop and operate the DaysAtDunrovin online community. I could not have scripted a better partner. Bryony shares my values, my interests, and my vision for creating opportunities to enhance people’s lives through connections with nature, animals, and each other. She is not only a fascinating person with a rich life story spanning several continents, but she is a successful entrepreneur with both for-profit and nonprofit business experiences.
- Kelli Kozak will be coming to serve as Dunrovin Ranch’s new ranch manager. I am confident that Kelli is the perfect person for us at this time. While Dunrovin has had the enormous benefit of several young women who have served as our ranch managers in the past, Kelli shares Bryony’s and my vision for bringing Dunrovin Ranch alive for our D@D online community. Kelli was once a teacher, and has a long history of training and managing horses and animals of all kinds. She is determined to make our online visitors as much a part of Dunrovin as those who come down the road.
- June West is a young woman who has returned to our area after getting her education and some important life experiences in the Big Apple. She is returning for all the right reasons: supporting her family; a more relaxed, thoughtful pace of life; to connect with nature and animals; to feed her creative spirit through strong connections with her community, family, and friends. She fully embraces Dunrovin’s mission and wants to be part of it. June will take us in new and unexpected directions.
I am so very excited about the prospects for this new year. I can’t wait for the snows to melt, for the horses to return to their summer home pastures and stalls, and for our beloved ospreys to migrate back to the lovely big nest above our barn. We still have behind-the-curtains work on the D@D website to complete, but by the time Harriet and Hal land for their second breeding season, we will have the technology ready and be bursting at the seams to engage with our members.
Our D@D community is a subscription-based online community. Our subscription serves three very important purposes:
First, it allows us to pay the costs of operating DaysAtDunrovin without having to use our limited resources chasing advertisements as a source of revenue. We do not see our community members as consumers in the online world, but as friends who have come together to celebrate animals, nature, and learning. We strive to create an online community free from constant, invasive pushes to purchase. Information about and links to our partner organizations appear without charge on our public D@D pages. We are proud to be associated with these entities and hope you will support them. They share our values and will serve you well.
Second, our subscription creates a "gated community" where people with common interests and values can freely communicate without fear of disrespect. Requiring a D@D membership to participate in the open chat and posting forums ensures protection from internet trolls and bullies. Open and respectful communication opens hearts and forms the basis for friendships. Our website must be safe and secure in order for meaningful conversations and friendships to thrive. Furthermore, this is very personal for me. I live at Dunrovin and I am inviting you into my home. I need to know that you, too, are a real person with honest and good intentions.
Third, we would love to raise money to give back in meaningful ways and support nonprofit causes which speak to the values we all hold. As a community, we can collectively be a force for good.
If you want to join the D@D community and cannot afford the $8/month subscription fee, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to set up a scholarship. Willingness to divulge who you are and abiding by our conversation standards of respect are more important to us than payment. Ability to pay should not be a barrier to community membership.
Members and nonmembers alike, please communicate your thoughts about the magazine by sending an email to email@example.com. We cannot promise to answer every message, but we do promise to read every one and post them in our Discussion section for our D@D members to see and discuss. We will work with our D@D members to determine the magazine's course together.
Thank you for your time and attention. Welcome to Dunrovin. I'd love to hear from you.