With great pleasure, RIWPS announced the recipients of the Annual Volunteer Awards at the March 25 Annual Meeting which took place in the Pharmacy Building at the University of Rhode Island.

Lifetime Service Award to Helen Lusi & Sigrid Hewitt

Helen Lusi was recognized for her leadership and service shaping our society’s focus and programs. Helen was a member of the first RIWPS Board of Directors (1987–1990) and for two of these years served as vice-president.  She co-chaired the first RIWPS Education Committee with Janet White. In its first year alone this committee established the first “Rhode Island Wild Plant Week”, began RIWPS’s participation in the RI State Science Fair, helped set up a Speaker’s Bureau and formed liaisons with RI’s youth organizations. The committee also started a Conservation Education Fund. Over the years this fund helped a number of schools attend programs offered by ASRI and URI W. Alton Jones. The committee also initiated and maintained the RIWPS scrapbook and worked with the Pawtucket Children’s Museum and schools. In the following years the committee developed other educational materials and resources such as Wild Plant Buzzer Board, to help children match up pictures of RI wild plants,  “Plant Discovery Boxes” for schools and other library displays.

Helen served on the Program Committee for many years and wrote for the newsletter.  Her What’s Cooking with Wild Plants section, beginning with her recipe for violet syrup, is remembered with great fondness as well as her outreach welcoming and supporting members.

Sigrid Hewitt

Sigrid Hewitt was recognized for her service to RIWPS and in particular for her long standing contributions to Seed Starters West.  Sigrid has a deep reservoir of knowledge about plants. Her willingness to be helpful, to always respond to  other volunteers questions and requests for advice has been invaluable. Her strong sense of what to do as well as a good dose of common sense engenders much respect. While she’s called RI home for 13 years she notes how important the work of RIWPS is and how much its meant to her to be part of it.

Volunteer of the Year Award to Sandra Jacobi

Sandra Jacobi

RIWPS is an organization exclusively driven by volunteers — selfless, willing to help, creative and informed. But even in that context Sandy Jacobi stands out. Sandy is a veteran member of the Walks and Workshops Committee responsible (with Sandy Saunders) for the First Thursday Botanizing Walks Series. Most recently she is the thank you note writer, thanking walk and workshop leaders for their time and the quality of their leadership. She is remarkably reliable, modest and inventive when it comes to programming. She thinks hard about how we can record the walks, about where in the state we can go that will make our walks more accessible to people all around the state. She finds hosts for our walks and takes seriously the need to encourage and recruit  RIWPS volunteers.

(See previous award winners)