On the last Sunday in September, more than 50 Arboretum members and supporters gathered at the Meeting House. The storied view from its deck did not disappoint. Bright skies and even brighter smiles were everywhere, as friendships were made or rekindled. Landis staff and the Board of Trustees hosted this annual event to recognize and celebrate the Arboretum’s volunteers.
“It’s an amazing group of people,” Board President Jim Paley said of the volunteers who bring their time and talents to Landis. “It’s hard to say thanks too many times,” acknowledged Executive Director Fred Breglia, as both men praised the people who make the Arboretum the “gem” we all speak of.
This year’s award winners were Nan Williams and Sue Tricario.
Nan, known to everyone as the Landis authority on ferns, was presented with the Great Oak Award, bestowed on someone who has provided extensive and long-term service. She was cited for her integral role in the creation and growth of our trails, as well as her considerable botanical expertise. Sharing Nan’s big moment at her table were Native Plant Trail curator (and Nan’s prolific literary partner) Ed Miller, and Ed’s son Nick and his wife Hillary.
As Fred emphasized, the Arboretum “has so many great talents, so many diversified talents”, rendering it difficult each time to identify any one “volunteer of the year.” This year’s award went to Sue Tricario, who has stepped up to take on a variety of projects, as Fred noted, “revamping and coming up with more great ideas to grow so many events.” From expanding the scope and frequency of our book sales to managing a new favorite, a popular raffle featuring local businesses and donors, Sue’s contributions would be impossible to overlook. The cheering section at her table included New Jersey friends Betty Brown and Sue Brodzinski, whose visit to Schoharie County could not have been better-timed.
Before the presentation of awards, the music of Mark Baptiste, original compositions and covers of familiar favorites, filled the room and deck beyond the open doors, and the aromas of home-cooked soups and savories drew everyone in. Mark volunteered his time and music, one more gift that Landis appreciates.
Looking back at the Arboretum’s origins, Historian and Board member Lee Lattimer read a passage from an unpublished and unedited manuscript by Landis founder Fred Lape. In a revealing account of his time in Esperance surrounded by a stream of guests, seasonal workers, and a clutch of dear and talented friends, Lape painted a vivid picture of life’s youthful dreams and lessons yet to be learned.
Jim and Fred introduced each Board member, and identified the highlights of some of their work at Landis. They welcomed new Board members Chandra Burkhart, Amy Howansky, and George Steele. They also recognized some of the many people who serve in other capacities, all invaluable to the Arboretum, such as Volunteer Coordinator Anne Donnelly, Board Advisor and former Trustee Gail Browning, and Full Moon Music Series director Jim Miller.
Thank you Landis volunteers! We couldn’t do this without you.