Volunteers Celebrate Meeting House Renovation

By Nolan Marciniec

2023 Volunteer Awardees
Shawn Bevins, Jim Paley, Craig Blevins, Fred Breglia, and Peter Bakal

On a Sun­day after­noon in late Sep­tem­ber, the Lan­dis Board host­ed its annu­al Vol­un­teer Recog­ni­tion event to hon­or its cadre of vol­un­teers. More than 50 atten­dees gath­ered at the Meet­ing House. Three vol­un­teers were rec­og­nized for their spe­cial efforts in the ren­o­va­tion of the build­ing that has become the focal point of many of the Arboretum’s edu­ca­tion pro­grams and social events.

In his intro­duc­tion, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Fred Breglia high­light­ed the year’s accom­plish­ments made pos­si­ble through the con­tri­bu­tions of Lan­dis vol­un­teers: two high­ly suc­cess­ful plant sales, includ­ing a flour­ish­ing Lan­dis Grown” prop­a­ga­tion pro­gram; a 5K race that attract­ed a record num­ber of par­tic­i­pants; the main­te­nance and reopen­ing of the Water­fall Trail – and, above all, the ren­o­va­tion of the Meet­ing House. 

Shawn Bevins and Peter Bakal received Vol­un­teer of the Year awards. This award is the sec­ond for Shawn: he, his wife Ann, and their son Ter­rence pre­vi­ous­ly received the Great Oak Award for their ser­vice to the Arbore­tum in 2020. I cer­tain­ly didn’t vol­un­teer to get awards,” he quipped. Like the oth­er award win­ners, he agreed to a sug­ges­tion” by Board Pres­i­dent Jim Paley. He knew he had com­mit­ted him­self to the under­tak­ing when he saw the mate­ri­als deliv­ered. It was good. It got me back in shape again,” he said.

Peter Bakal was drawn to the Arbore­tum because of his com­mit­ment to envi­ron­men­tal caus­es sup­port­ed by orga­ni­za­tions such as the Mohawk-Hud­son Land Con­ser­van­cy. He was hav­ing lunch with Jim when Jim issued an invi­ta­tion,” per­haps hop­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on Peter’s vol­un­teer con­struc­tion expe­ri­ence with Habi­tat for Human­i­ty. Peter said that he was proud of what a great bunch of guys” had accomplished.

This year’s Great Oak recip­i­ent, Craig Blevins, is the only one of the recip­i­ents with for­mal train­ing in con­struc­tion. Craig has shared his exper­tise with the Arbore­tum on oth­er projects, such as the instal­la­tion of the stone patio at the Wel­come Cen­ter. When Jim asked him to par­tic­i­pate in the ren­o­va­tion project at the Spring Plant Sale, he didn’t real­ize it would become a way of life,” he said. We were here from the last of May until the first of September.” 

Despite his aver­sion to climb­ing the scaf­fold­ing, Jim was an active mem­ber of a team that trans­formed the appear­ance of the Meet­ing House. Jim coor­di­nat­ed the project and did a fair share of cut­ting, sand­ing, and stain­ing the siding.

All three award win­ners said that they planned to con­tin­ue their vol­un­teer work at the Arbore­tum. They talked about the deck .… and the flooring .…

In his intro­duc­tion, Fred said that many hands make things hap­pen.” These four pairs of hands cer­tain­ly did just that.

We appre­ci­ate all of the many vol­un­teers who con­tribute their time and tal­ents to the Arbore­tum, and we wel­come new vol­un­teers to join the Lan­dis fam­i­ly.” Con­tact Vol­un­teer Coor­di­na­tor Susan Stran­gia at Landisvolunteering@​gmail.​com or 5188756935.

Fall 2023

Volume 41 , Number 3

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