Appeal Letters: The 1000-mile saga of the tiny glass eel is a migration tale worth telling. Appeal letters like this one, and the one below featuring the humble oyster, are stories that get readers to yes: “Yes, I believe in your mission. Yes, I’m in—and I’ll send a gift.” And these stories always have heroes—our donors. Without them, there simply wouldn’t be any tales to tell.
“You have to look carefully, but if you stop along the edge of Bay Road on the New Hampshire Seacoast, where the pavement dips low and crosses over Lubberland Creek, you can peer into Great Bay’s estuary waters and, if the timing is right, catch sight of a cluster of tiny glass eels, elusive as shimmering slivers of light. Unremarkable as it may seem, this moment, should you happen to catch it, would actually be a glimpse of an unfolding drama, a critical turning point in one of nature’s great migration stories. It’s a story you are very much part of, thanks to your support . . .”
This letter for donors in New Hampshire features the astonishing saga of the tiny glass eel, which begins in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, in a giant swirling mass of seaweed. For decades, this annual journey—tiny larvae riding the Gulf Stream north for a thousand miles—came to an abrupt end at the edge of a rusty culvert on the edge of New Hampshire’s Great Bay. Undersized and poorly situated, the culvert prevented the eels and other migratory fish from reaching the freshwater habitat essential to completing their life cycle. But thanks to our supporters, we replaced the problem culvert—and many others. Together, we are writing a new story for the tiny glass eel—shaping a more resilient world for both nature and people.
This appeal letter invites supporters in Massachusetts to join a quiet revolution led by an unlikely superhero: the humble oyster: “On the windblown coast of Cape Cod, where Chapin Beach Road comes to an end and the dunes run together in a jumble of shifting sand and grass and tidal creeks, a revolution is underway. It’s a quiet revolution, one that begins with a microscopic bit of oyster and a bunch of broken shell. But it’s helping to shape a more promising future in Massachusetts—and it’s a revolution you’re very much part of, thanks to your support. . . .
“For half a century, in a ramshackle building at Chase Garden Creek, a shellfish hatchery has been generating 110 million tiny oyster and clam seeds each year—helping to keep shellfish farmers in business. Some of the seed, or spat, has also gone to work in pilot projects, rebuilding oyster reefs to clean our coastal waters. The humble oyster, it turns out, with its ability to filter up to 50 gallons of water in a single day, is an environmental superhero.” The letter ends with a reminder both urgent and optimistic: “The challenges are relentless. But with your help we can find solutions. We can defend our oceans, save our rivers, protect our lands. We can develop policies that transform the way we live and work, defining a more enlightened way forward. We can inspire action. Think of your gift as seed money—the start of a revolution.”