Jim presented the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award to Nick Zabawsky, citing his donations of plants to the sale as well as his many years on the Board of Trustees. Nick said that he was “honored to be in the company of Anne Jaster, Paul Blair, and Ed Miller,” all of whom were given awards at the event.
Ed Miller, whom Nick characterized as “a walking encyclopedia of native plants,” accepted the 2013 Great Oak Award. Ed said that “helping the Arboretum has helped me as much as anything I have ever done.” Ed, curator of the Miller Native Plant Trail, pointed out that the recently planted fern garden contains 31 species – another mark of distinction for Landis and for Ed.
Ken and Marion Hotopp, affectionately known as “the Bookies,” were recognized as 2014’s Volunteers of the Year for their role in establishing the book shop as an integral feature of both spring and fall plant sales. The couple spends countless hours expertly organizing and displaying the books so generously donated by Landis members. The result? a perfect place to shop for great reads after you’ve filled your cart with perennials and shrubs.
Anne Jaster received the 2014 Great Oak Award for her longstanding commitment to Landis – dating back to the botanical drawings she made for the Arboretum newsletter in the era of Betty Corning and the three-martini Board meeting. Anne said that she was more than pleased with the direction the Arboretum is taking and that she sees it growing “stronger and stronger” through both its leadership and its appeal to a more diverse public. “I may not be here that often these days, but the Arboretum . . . . is always in my heart,” she said.
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Paul Blair, who, regrettably, was unable to attend. Jim said that the Arboretum is recognizing the commitment of “unsung heroes” like Paul, whose time on the Board helped shaped what the Arboretum is today.
But there were new volunteers in attendance too. James Johnson was recently attracted to the Arboretum by the Full Moon Concert Series and has volunteered to help build the new storage shed and to stain the deck on the refurbished Meeting House. Bill Brown was originally drawn to the unusual plants offered at the Arboretum’s plant sales and has since been volunteering at those plant sales for about two years. For him, the “spirituality” of the Arboretum keeps him coming back.
Both are in good company.
Volunteers travel many roads to the Arboretum and come from many walks of life, but they all share in the dividends – and the difference – that their dedication brings.