September 2022 Volunteer Appreciation Event

By Louise Polli

Rainy skies couldn’t damp­en the spir­its of any of the Arbore­tum mem­bers and friends who gath­ered in the Meet­ing House on Sep­tem­ber 25th to cel­e­brate our vol­un­teers and allies.

The food was plen­ti­ful, the con­ver­sa­tion live­ly, and the views off the deck always inspir­ing, no mat­ter the weather.

As Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Fred Breglia and Board Pres­i­dent Jim Paley not­ed, vol­un­teers are the lifeblood of our orga­ni­za­tion. It’s great to be part of the Lan­dis fam­i­ly,” Fred said. We were able to accom­plish so many things.” This year’s accom­plish­ments includ­ed the devel­op­ment and instal­la­tion of a new entry­way sign, the estab­lish­ment of the Ann Jaster memo­r­i­al art gallery, the repair of the Farm­house steps, the ded­i­ca­tion of the Shan­ti Vun Med­i­ta­tion Gar­den, improve­ments to the Bog Gar­den, and record atten­dance at the 5K race in August. New and ongo­ing projects are just as impres­sive: upgrades to our wel­com­ing kiosk, expan­sion of our foot­print in Mont­gomery Coun­ty with greater acces­si­bil­i­ty to our Water­fall Trail, struc­tur­al prun­ing of our hor­ti­cul­tur­al col­lec­tions, and exten­sive removal of invasives.

Jim and Fred acknowl­edged that it’s always dif­fi­cult to choose the year’s awardees, since so many vol­un­teers con­tribute to every aspect of the Arboretum’s oper­a­tions in time, mate­ri­als, labor, and beyond. With­out these efforts, Lan­dis would not be the suc­cess it is today.

Susan Stran­gia was named Vol­un­teer of the Year. Jim thanked her for real­ly step­ping up and tak­ing a lead­er­ship role.” Susan said I am hum­bled since I only start­ed vol­un­teer­ing last year… Anne Don­nel­ly pulled me in .… “ Look­ing out at the assem­bled crowd of vol­un­teers, she remarked, I couldn’t get this if it weren’t for you.” 

In a rel­a­tive­ly short time, Susan has led a Sec­ond Sun­day Snow­shoe hike, staffed some of our pub­lic events, and coor­di­nat­ed the bake sales. Anne Don­nel­ly and oth­ers are men­tor­ing her to even­tu­al­ly assume the role of Vol­un­teer Coor­di­na­tor. Susan par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoys the pub­lic con­tact, a chance to get new and return­ing peo­ple excit­ed about the Arbore­tum. What is the most chal­leng­ing part of her ser­vice? There’s lots of com­pe­ti­tion for your time .… It’s a bal­anc­ing act.” Like many of our vol­un­teers, Susan is gen­er­ous with her time here and else­where while still find­ing time to spend with her family.

It’s no sur­prise to any­one at Lan­dis that Nick Zabawsky was select­ed for this year’s Great Oak award. In addi­tion to a framed com­mem­o­ra­tive cer­tifi­cate, he received a wine stop­per craft­ed from the wood of our beloved sev­er­al-hun­dred-year-old Great Oak, top­pled in a storm in 2011. Fred not­ed that our Life­time Achieve­ment Award” has since mor­phed into the Great Oak award, a fit­ting trib­ute to the icon­ic woody trea­sure and all it has meant to Lan­dis. In oak we trust,” Fred quipped. 

A skilled gar­den­er, Nick con­tin­ues to donate approx­i­mate­ly 250300 plants a year to our plant sales. His exper­tise is leg­endary, a qui­et pres­ence out among the rows of plants at the bi-annu­al sales: he is Lan­dis’ num­ber one plant expert at the sales. If you have a ques­tion, Nick has the answers, the sug­ges­tions, the help you are seek­ing in that pletho­ra of herba­ceous and woody plants sur­round­ing you. 

Why does Nick con­tin­ue to give so much of his time and exper­tise to Lan­dis? I love gar­den­ing and plants … and the peo­ple, a won­der­ful bunch of peo­ple.” Despite the many con­tri­bu­tions he has made over the years, Nick was hum­bled as this year’s awardee. I’m very hon­ored. When I look around, a lot of peo­ple are more deserving.” 

We respect­ful­ly dis­agree. Since 1989, Nick has left his mark on the Arbore­tum. He quick­ly became a Board trustee, then rose to lead­er­ship as its pres­i­dent. Though some things have changed, Nick has been a con­stant pres­ence and con­trib­u­tor to the Arboretum’s growth and devel­op­ment. We couldn’t do it with­out him.

This year’s event fea­tured a won­der­ful meal assem­bled by the Lan­dis Board and coor­di­nat­ed by Wendy Kass, as well as two peren­ni­al favorites, a time­ly and infor­ma­tive Q & A with Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Fred Breglia and a read­ing of a Fred Lape poem, Blue Columbine,” by Lan­dis His­to­ri­an Lee Latimer.

Our thanks to both awardees and to all the vol­un­teers and allies. Your gen­eros­i­ty and sup­port are priceless.

Click on the pho­tos below for information.

Tap to view full size

Fall 2022

Volume 40 , Number 3

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Oct 07, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

The Landis community mourns the loss of Anne Donnelly on October 4, 2023

Anne Donnelly was the first of the many friends I’ve made at the Arboretum and... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Update on the Big Tree Search

Landis Arboretum has successfully kicked off its most recent Big Tree Search, and the tree... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Erin McKenna Breglia

From the Garden: Your Autumn Garden Must Haves!

It’s certainly been a rainy summer, but the rain has helped keep our plants green... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Landis Portraits: A Series About the People Behind the Plants at the Arboretum - Chuck Mueller

Chuck Mueller Volunteering, Chuck Mueller said, “is something you have to believe in . ... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Nolan Marciniec

Volunteers Celebrate Meeting House Renovation

Shawn Bevins, Jim Paley, Craig Blevins, Fred Breglia, and Peter Bakal On a Sunday afternoon... read more

Oct 01, 2023 | Sam McClary

Apples and Man: A Book Review

Apples and Man, by Fred Lape “Apples and Man,” written by Arboretum founder Fred Lape... read more

News Archive