The Arboretum’s annual Volunteer Appreciation get-together was held at the Meeting House on the afternoon of September 25.
Landis Board member and historian Lee Lattimer read a poem by Arboretum founder Fred Lape that included these words: “You past, / you coming, here are my fingers touching.” About 50 volunteers attended to celebrate the many hands that have “touched” the Landis Arboretum in order to pass it on to future generations.
At the event, catered by members of the Board of Trustees, Executive Director Fred Breglia mentioned that during the course of his 18 years at the Arboretum, he first fell in love with the trees — and then with the people who come together at Landis. He pointed out that it was always difficult to single out volunteers for recognition because there are so many qualified candidates among the approximately 150 Arboretum volunteers. But this year, two volunteers among the many were honored for their special contributions.
The 2016 Great Oak Award – “long overdue,” according to Fred — was presented to Peter Rumora for his several decades of volunteering. Peter reminisced about a legally blind Fred Lape weeding daffodils, Betty Corning’s affection for the Arboretum, and a flock of particularly nasty geese!
Gail Browning, former Board member and current Board advisor, as well as member of both the Communications and Marketing committees, received the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award. She instanced many “treasures” she has discovered at the Arboretum, including the view of last month’s harvest moon at the Full Moon Concert series and being part of the welcoming and talented “family” of volunteers.