Dedicated Volunteers Persevere through Pandemic

Every year, the Conservation District relies on the help and generosity of dozens of volunteers to accomplish major projects and carry out events. It is a fun and rewarding way to meet new people and support conservation in our community.

However, in 2020, with the health and safety of our volunteers in mind during a global pandemic, many of these projects were cancelled or scaled back, to a level that could be completed by the several staff members of the Conservation District. Even so, the dedication of our volunteers did not waver. Over the course of the year, thirty-six people donated a total of 216 hours, helping out with tree sale and tree planting, household hazardous waste day, invasive species work and office administration.

Some previous outdoor group events morphed into projects that people carried out on their own. In place of the summer monthly “Weed the Park” events that we usually hold with AFFEW and North Country CISMA at Cartier Park, individuals from AFFEW were getting their families outside together to pull invasive garlic mustard. Others were even sending out calls or emails to recruit neighboring families to continue the weed pull on alternating days, so as to limit interaction with those of different households.

With limited staff and volunteers available in spring to prepare for our tree sale, our Board of Directors rose to the challenge. As our “Super Volunteers”, Directors “masked up” and put in many extra hours outside to help to sort and pack tree seedlings for our customers. They also helped with more hands-on projects like broadcast seeding streambanks for erosion control, layout of tree seedling plantings and installing tree shelters around recently planted seedlings to protect them from deer browse.

One event that ran fairly normal for 2020 was the Household Hazardous Waste collection day. A total of 25 people divided efforts across two shifts to ensure that the event went off without a hitch. Some couples even teamed up at stations to provide more help and make a fun day of it. With the event being held outside and stations being well-distanced to limit social interaction, masked volunteers assisted with coordinating the event to safely dispose of over 40,000 pounds of hazardous waste from 351 households. We could not have made this event possible without our dedicated volunteers!

Thank you to everyone that volunteered in 2020! We hope to see many more of you again in 2021!

Alan Wernette

Allyson Wolf

Bob Ohse

Dan Englehardt

Dave Dister

Dave Hasenbank

Deb Del Zoppo

Donna Tenbrock

Gary Dittmer

Jeannie Lipps

Jerry Jensen

Jim Clark

John Kreinbrink

Julia Chambers

Kathy Winczewski

Ken Pranger

Laura Lyons

Lisa Rokosky

Liz Pasco

Maddison Tongue

Mark Lipps

Meg Cooper

Mike Tenbrock

Mike Winczewski

Nick Del Zoppo

Paul Bigford

Peg Dittmer

Peggy Haverberg

Rick Singleton

Rita Copenhaver

Sarah Bolan

Sarah Grabowski

Seth Earl

Steve Hull

Sue Pemberton

Tom Bell