Friends of the Fells 2024 Annual Meeting

Friends of the Fells (FOF) volunteers, donors, members, and supporters joined FOF staff and board members, the Fells team at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Earthwise Aware (EwA) volunteers, and Zoo New England biologists at the FOF Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 16th.

FOF and DCR Staff at the 2024 Annual Meeting.

Awards were presented to four dedicated Fells supporters at the meeting. The Wilson Flagg Award was presented to John Berkholtz and Bryan Windmiller, ecologists at Zoo New England for their work on the marbled salamander reintroduction project in the Fells. This award is presented to an organization whose activities increased awareness and appreciation of Fells flora and fauna.

The Fells Service Award was presented to Rory O’Connell, Fells Park Supervisor. This award is presented to DCR Staff for maintaining and improving the facilities and public areas of the Fells for safe access of the public and for generous assistance to the Friends programs. Rory is an integral part of the Fells team and has been incredibly supportive to Friends programming, volunteers, and groups.

Representative Paul Donato is presented with the Public Service Award by Board Chair, Sandy Pascal and Executive Director, Chris Redfern.

The Friends Service Award was presented to Linda Williams, a dedicated Trail Adopter and Friends volunteer. Linda also volunteers with Earthwise Aware (EwA) to collect valuable data in the Fells to inform the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns and the change in our flora and fauna. This award is presented to individuals for outstanding volunteer service in a leadership position with the Friends.

Finally, the Public Service Award was presented to Representative Paul Donato. This award is given to an elected or other public official whose activities promoted legislative and legal protection of the Reservation or its historic parkways or structures. Representative Donato has been a lifelong advocate for the protection of the Fells and Massachusetts state parks.

The evening also included opportunities for community members to provide input on initiatives that the Friends are pursing in the spaces of community, ecology, sustainable management, organizational capacity, and education. FOF is looking forward to incorporating this community feedback into our next Action Plan.

Thank you to all our donors, members, supporters, and volunteers for helping protect, preserve, and promote the Middlesex Fells for all!