The Robert Gasiorowski Lifetime Award winner for 2019 is Mary Fredricks
We met Mushroom Mary while she was roaming Tenhave Woods with her camera and mirror looking at fungi. Her knowledge of the woods was impressive and has grown through the years. Mary does much to promote the objectives of the society. She is best known for her “Friends of Fungi” (FOF) group. They have walks in the two nature parks the second Saturday of each month April through October and an evening speaker at the community center on the second Wednesday of the month November, and January through March. Mary’s love of fungi is infectious. If you want to learn more about these fascinating organisms come to one of their meetings. Mary leads most of the walks and gets outstanding speakers for the evening programs who can talk at a level that laypeople can grasp. Mary further serves as the steward for Cummingston Nature Park. She oversees volunteer work sessions and watches over the park. She serves on the Nature Society Board of Directors and helps with our annual fundraiser. We thank Mary for all her hard work and look forward to serving with her for many years to come.
Chinquapin Award winners for 2019 are Karen Blenc, Christine Utter and Michelle Watson
Karen Blenc: Responding to the article written by President Don Drife outlining our urgent need for volunteers, Karen Blenc joined the Nature Society in August of 2018 and offered to help in three areas: record keeping, documenting the work of the Nature Society through still photography, and assisting Mary Fredricks in educating the public about the important work done by fungi in our woods and the world. She brought previous experience to the first two areas, but faced a steep learning curve for the third one. By joining the walks, attending the Friends of Fungi indoor meetings in the fall and winter, and studying guidebooks, she now has gained enough knowledge and confidence to help with the walks and even lead them herself. In all three areas, her help has been invaluable.
Christine Utter: Christine’s first time volunteering with the Nature Society was in the fall of 2015. She along with family members, started doing Tenhave Fence Patrol for us. The patrol looks for fence line breeches that would allow deer into the park. She and her family have been volunteering to patrol the fences several times a year ever since then. In the fall of 2018, she answered the call from our president for help by volunteering to take over our social media. She is in charge of the Nature Society’s Facebook page and also posts our events/activities on other Royal Oak Facebook pages. She has done a great job by increasing the number of Nature Society likes on Facebook and our presence on other Royal Oak social media pages. At the 2019 annual fundraiser, Christine worked as an at-large volunteer in many different areas. Christine has been working on several activities to add more exposure to Tenhave Woods. She is working on doing a scavenger hunt and art workshop at the park, as well as “Yoga in the Park” for next year.
Michelle Watson: Along with Christine and her family, Michelle and her family also volunteered in the fall of 2015 for Tenhave Fence Patrol and have been doing it a number of times a year ever since then. In the fall of 2018, Michelle became our volunteer coordinator. The coordinator sends out email requests to our members for volunteers to help with events/activities. Events/activities include park maintenance & projects, Tenhave fence patrol, annual fundraiser, dream cruise parking help, Tenhave Trick or Treat program and other activities/projects that required volunteers, In addition, she has reached out to the Berkley & Royal Oak National Honor Societies for help with some of these activities. This position had been vacant for a long time & Michelle has done a great job filling it. Also in the fall of 2018, Michelle became a Nature Society Facebook editor. She is responsible for the photos. She has also set-up a Royal Oak Nature Society Instagram page. Michelle has been a great fit in helping to run the Nature Society. She is always there when something needs to be done.