Beaver Brook Appreciation Day

Members of Beaver Brook Association, a nonprofit nature center in Hollis comprised of around 2,200 acres, recently celebrated the work of its many volunteers with a luncheon and a festive session of wreath making.

The event of Friday, Nov. 30, presented at the Lawrence Barn, in Hollis, honored those ensuring the enjoyment of tens of thousands of visitors each year to the trails, gardens and educational programs hosted by the organization.

“Hundreds of volunteers monitor trails and kiosks, and help in the office, in the classroom and during special events,” said Celeste Philbrick Barr, education and community affairs director. “They work on buildings and grounds, fold maps, and fill bird feeders, plus many more selfless tasks.”

Several volunteers were presented Special Merit awards to recognize exceptional contributions.

• Education: Lindsey Shaklee, now of Brookline, moved from Denver and soon contacted BBA to intern for her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies. Shaklee has handled a bevy of unusual tasks such as an inventory of the bird museum species, trail signage and developing educational curriculum. She also designed a research survey that examines visitors’ moods, before and after hiking at Beaver Brook.

• Education: Angela Craggy, of Brookline, received recognition for her years of education assistance.

“Angela’s creation of displays in Maple Hill Barn gives the public a much better idea of what we do with our education programs,” Philbrick Barr said. “She goes the extra mile.”

• Gardens, Education & Grounds: Nora Miller, of Hollis, was recognized for undertaking an extensive project. The senior at Hollis Brookline High School designed a raised-bed garden that needs little water or weeding. Storyboards about pollinator species and the plants they require are a part of the project. Miller is making the garden educational to the visiting public and useful for BBA Educators.

• Office: Lisa Underkoffler, of Newton, Massachusetts, was recognized for her facility at utilizing social media, especially Facebook. Her work has increased Beaver Brook’s visibility significantly.

• Trail Volunteer: Kim Kellner, of Hollis, has been a volunteer on BBA trails for 29 years. He often is joined by his son and grandchildren in this endeavor. Kellner also inspired and facilitated the creation of the BBA Fitness Trail, accessible from Maple Hill Farm.

• Trail team Award: Kim Colson and Bev Vucson, both of Westford, Massachusetts. Colson is a Trustee, Safety and Personnel Committee member, and a Fall Festival volunteer. Beaver Brook additionally spotlights Colson and Vucson for their trailwork at BBA.

• Gardening Award: Vicki Graw of Pepperell, Massachusetts. Graw has volunteered with the Maple Hill Gardeners for two years. She has proven to be reliable, hard working and inquisitive. Graw is a pleasure to work with and accomplishes much in maintaining the extensive gardens at Maple Hill Farm.

• Buildings & Grounds: Paul Runyan, of Nashua, who was instrumental in the reconstruction of the Compost Court. This compost court is a regional example of different styles of composters for yard and food waste. Located adjacent to the Maple Hill Gardens, it is open to the public. Runyan undertook the heavy-duty project after work and on weekends this summer. He deconstructed the area and added landscape fabric and wood chips to facilitate maintenance. Then, he reconstructed the composters in their new location. Runyan also helps at Maple Hill Gardens.

The work of all the volunteers at Beaver Brook helps re-connect people to nature. Beaver Brook trails and grounds are open and free to the public 365-days a year, dawn to dusk. For more information visit online: beaverbrook.org.

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