People of the Preserve
Voices of Our Volunteers
Judy Hallberg became a volunteer propagator a short time after moving to Bucks County. She is a former art gallery director and resident curator of a timber house (built in 1677) and its 12 acres, including seven gardens and a meadow. Before she took over, the meadow was mowed regularly “and you never saw wildflowers.” She stopped the mowing and became interested in wildflowers. Judy's first volunteer role at BHWP was at the front desk, where she saw the propagators wearing jeans and gardening gloves and, as she put it, “...wanted to be with them, and now I am. I really enjoy learning, and I really enjoy the people.”
Patsy Wang-Iverson, a member for many years, became a volunteer propagator in 2016 after she came to hear Pat Sutton speak and was inspired to volunteer. Patsy initially responded to a propagation ad and now is involved every other week. “The other volunteers are very welcoming,” she says. A biochemist who has also worked in math and science education, Patsy wants to keep learning—about the plants, planting conditions, locations, and different types of native plants and what wildlife they attract—and as a propagator she gets that chance
David Shanno, a retired math professor who still conducts research, has degrees from Yale and Carnegie Mellon and taught for 41 years in major universities. David began volunteering 17 years ago and discovered it was a wonderful escape. “It’s dirty work, but it makes you feel good,” he says. “Volunteering involves people you want to be with and jobs you want to do.”
Terri Layton, a native of South Korea and graduate of Villanova University, is a retired accountant. Sixteen years ago she moved into the woods near Lake Nockamixon and “started getting curious about birds and plants and started going to seminars at the Preserve." Terri was drawn to propagation volunteers and found them to be a diverse group. “We talk about anything and everything. After retiring, I was not getting a lot of intellectual stimulation. I live with four dogs, and they don’t talk much,” she jokes. “I feel like I’m part of small community with fantastic talent.”
Jeffrey A. Buckwalter
Jeffrey A. Buckwalter is a retired ear, nose and throat doctor. A propagation volunteer since August of 2015, he is also a member of the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Board of Trustees. Jeffrey was drawn to these roles by a longtime fascination with plants and how to replenish them. “The relationships at the Preserve, and what one learns about nature, can be a remedy for the human tendency to ‘live too much in the moment,’” he says. “Nature teaches us about the important relationship of things in life, and how insignificant the time a human lives is compared to all of nature.”
Adela Agnew has found a variety of volunteer opportunities at the Preserve. "I’ve assisted with communication projects and participated in a nursery volunteer day and Butterfly Walk Open House, and worked at the front desk in the Twinleaf Book & Gift Shop. I've also participated in the Summer Student Program to help with trail maintenance and restoration.” Volunteering at the Preserve has been an education for Adela. “I have been influenced by the native plants at the Preserve; our garden at home is full of them,” says Adela. “Natives provide habitat—homes—for insects and animals. They also create beautiful landscaping!”
Dot and Bill Gaboda
Dot and Bill Gaboda first visited the Preserve when their daughter was young and rediscovered it after their retirement. "We were looking for volunteer opportunities, and happened to pass the Preserve. After we learned from the website that there were many attractive volunteer opportunities, we realized that we had to be members," say Dot and Bill. Dot has been volunteering at the Twinleaf book and gift shop for about three years, where she enjoys the contact with members and visitors, and getting an overview of everything that goes on. Bill has been part of the stalwart weed patrol, helped to set up the Gala, and has assisted with general maintenance (spreading mulch, etc.). Most recently, Bill is taking the naturalist training, which he feels is a great way to get involved with the whole Preserve. Since they began volunteering at the Preserve, they not only have expanded their home gardens, they have removed invasive species and want to plant more native shrubs. "It’s fascinating how many native bees, butterflies and birds are drawn to the native plants like giant hyssops (Agastache genus) and mountain mint (Pycnanthemum genus)," say Dot and Bill. "We enjoy seeing so many butterflies we’ve never noticed before."
Mary Anne Borge
Mary Anne Borge lives nearby the Preserve and thought it would be an interesting place to walk. Curious about native plants, she soon joined the naturalist program. Initially, she led walks and guided tours, but now focuses her efforts on teaching several of the Knowing Native Plants classes, leading the butterfly count, and developing other programs relating to plant-animal interactions. Mary Anne also takes the message of the importance of native plants outside the Preserve. She holds programs for environmental organizations, master gardeners and master naturalists, gardeners and others. "The more I have learned about plants and their relationships with animals, including people, the more I understand how true and vital that mission is—and I’ve adopted it as my own," she says. When asked what her favorite native plant at the Preserve is, Mary Anne replied, "That’s like asking a parent which child they prefer. I love them all, because each one has so many stories to tell."