About 50 volunteers were honored at the Landis Arboretum’s annual Volunteer Appreciation event, held in the Meeting House on the afternoon of October 4. Board President Jim Paley and Executive Director Fred Breglia presented awards to two volunteers for their exceptional service to the Arboretum.
Volunteer Florence Grimm was the recipient of the Great Oak Award in recognition of her many years of tireless and longstanding dedication to the Arboretum. Florence was unable to attend the event because of a prior commitment –hiking in the Catskills. Fred noted that as much as Florence wanted to be present, “it would take a lot for her to miss a hike or a camping or canoe trip or a swim … “ Florence served on the Board of Trustees and chaired the Buildings and Grounds Committee, which oversaw the restoration of the Arboretum’s historic barn. Lately, she has become a stalwart in the propagation room, helping prepare “Landis grown” selections for the Spring Plant Sale.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Wendy Kass, whose volunteer experience at the Arboretum was initiated when her husband, Jim Paley, became Board president. Wendy admitted that, until then, she had never volunteered anywhere. But volunteering at her first plant sale convinced her that she really enjoyed meeting other volunteers – “I loved everyone I met,” she said. Her volunteer experience gained another, larger dimension when she took on marketing the refurbished Meeting House as a venue for weddings, capitalizing on the trend for rustic weddings. She confessed that, a “people person,” she is in her element: “I get wedding fever.” This year alone, she has received over a hundred inquiries for weddings at the Arboretum.
The event, hosted by the Board of Trustees, featured musical entertainment by Daryl Kosinski, and a selection of soups, breads, and desserts. Tables were graced by painted table cloths created by Anne Donnelly’s sister, Kay Beaubien.
Both Fred and Jim praised all volunteers as the lifeblood of the Arboretum. According to Wendy, volunteering is “all about a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment and sharing.”