On behalf of the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, Mary Leck presented the 2021 Mary Allessio Leck Award to Jack Graham in appreciation for his exceptional volunteer service to the Abbott Marshlands. Due to covid-19 restrictions, a small socially distanced group surprised Jack with the award on Wednesday, April 14th.
Kelly Rypkema of the Mercer County Park Commission also presented Jack with a Proclamation from the County Executive, Brian Hughes, to honor his volunteer service as a true friend to the Marshlands and the Tulpehaking Nature Center.
For many years Jack was an important support person for kayakers on many trips through the Abbott Marshlands. As an experienced woodworker and carpenter, he is also the go-to person if there is something that needs to be built around the Nature Center, and has built everything from nesting boxes to storage racks. Jack always figures out a way to get the job done. He really is a Jack-of-all-trades.
In recent years, Jack’s been especially active helping to keep the trails safe and passible. If you’ve walked on a Marsh trail and were able to use a sturdy bridge to cross a stream or stay dry while crossing a former mud hole, you’ve probably benefited from Jack’s work.
If you have attended a recent exhibit of photos in the Tulpehaking Nature Center, you may not have stopped to think about all the work that goes into hanging the photos, but fortunately Jack was there to get it done. If the Nature Center Naturalists needed something special for education program Jack could find a way to make it. And when volunteers were needed to help with the “Hooked on Fishing” program for kids, Jack’s expertise as fisherman was invaluable.
On numerous occasions and in a variety of ways, Jack has been there with the needed skill and a generous spirit. We thank you, Jack, for all that you do!
In addition to nominations for Jack Graham’s outstanding volunteer efforts, we also received several other nominations that we thought were worthy of an honorable mention. The following individuals were each honored at our Annual Meeting for their contributions to the Marshlands. We would like to thank them all for their efforts.
Bill Pitman’s special relationship to the Marshlands is evident to everyone who has ever joined him on a walk on its trails. He is responsible for introducing many to the birds and wildlife of the Marsh and challenges them to continue to learn more – using all of their senses. Bill supports a cadre of fans who track him down for help in identifying birds and in doing so continues to encourage their interest. Bill is a great Friend to the Marsh – and we hope you all have the opportunity to meet him on the trails someday. Thank you Bill!
If you’ve attended any of our programs over the past two or three years, chances are you’ve seen Carol Manger. Carol is the person at the back of the group, or maybe up the hill or down from the crowd, standing back with her camera in hand. After Carol attends a program – within a day or so, she posts a wonderful array of photos – beautifully documenting our activities, the program participants, and always include some incredible natural treasures that she identified along the way. And with great generosity, Carol shares those photos to be used by the Friends in our publicity. We have relied on her photos extensively in Social Media, Program Announcements and Presentations. Thank you Carol!
Charlie Leck has contributed to the Marsh in many ways over the years. His sense of humor was always evident as he led programs for participants ranging from school children to the governor. He hosted Bird Walks and worked on Bird Surveys. He documented various animals in the marsh and provided updated lists to the Friends for Butterflies, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Fish as well as Birds. And last but not least, he supported Mary in many ways including paddling her in a canoe around the marsh. Thank you Charlie!
Pat Flores has been a long time champion of the Marsh. Pat is a former teacher who walked her students from Lalor School to visit and study the Marsh. After retiring, Pat volunteered on educational tours. She helped with cleanups and planting projects. She served on the Education Committee and the Photography Show Committees. And if you’ve ever attended one of the wonderful Photo show receptions, you are in debt to Pat for the wonderful variety and display of refreshments that were offered. We appreciate all of your efforts, Pat!