Volunteer of the Year Award: Sherry Dzamba & Melissa Hughes
Sherry has been a loyal member of the Seed Starters East group for several years. She has also donated plants for our plant sales and worked the day of the sale.
This year RIWPS had the opportunity to install pollinator gardens at two locations that are part of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. In April after meeting with the Rangers at the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Transportation Museum in Cumberland, Sherry volunteered to take the lead working through designs for the garden and selecting appropriate species. Sherry and a few volunteers from the Seed Starters East installed 160 native plants. For the rangers who would educated visitors to the garden, she provided diagrams with the placement of each plant and spreadsheet of the plant species.
After hearing of this pollinator garden, the Ranger at the Roger Williams National Memorial in downtown Providence contacted Sherry about having a pollinator garden there. Again Sherry met with the head ranger at the site, then designed and selected species. 170 native plants were installed. Both gardens serve to educate hundreds of tourists and local Rhode Islanders about the value of native plants.This spring Sherry will head up a small group of volunteers who will maintain both gardens.
Last year when the decision was made to hold the plant sale online, Sally Johnson, who had volunteered to head up the online store for the sale was in much need of someone who knew more than she did about how this could be done. She reached out to Melissa as Melissa had checked the box on her membership form saying she might be interested in helping with data “stuff”. Turns out Melissa had a whole career in data administration. As Sally commented, “Jackpot”.
And Melissa was much more than a data scientist. She was a willing, cheerful collaborator helping out with simple tasks, any many were very, very labor intensive, and then figuring out solutions as the needs arose. We might have been able to hold a plant sale last year without her but it would not have been easy. She made it easy and fun.
See previous award winners