BENNINGTON — One World Conservation Center honored longtime board president and volunteer Mary Fuqua as its first volunteer of the year at a celebratory luncheon on Thursday.
A founding member of One World, Fuqua has been involved with the organization for 17 years, according to executive director Holly Betit. "This place would not still be here if it weren't for Mary," she said, although she added that there were a number of other volunteers who would have been worthy of the award.
For her part, Fuqua was modest in accepting the award, describing herself as "one of many" that help keep the center, which offers educational nature classes and workshops in its education center on Route 7 South in Bennington, operational. The non-profit organization also operates the Norman and Selma Greenberg Reserve, 96 acres of meadow, wetlands, and forest located across the street. Mary has served as president of the center's board of directors since before the most recent name change, when it was known as the New England Tropical Conservatory.
Fuqua has been and continues to be involved in many organizations throughout the community. She has been a member of the board of trustees of Northern Berkshires Healthcare, since 1993, which operated North Adams Regional Hospital until 2014. Through that position, she served on the American Hospital Association's Committee on Governance, and was chairwoman of the Massachusetts Hospital Association Trustee Advisory Committee. She also served on the MHA board of trustees.
One World is currently looking for new volunteers, and will be running orientations in the spring, said Betit. Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age. They will also be running a series of lectures called "The Valley We Live In" at the center starting in January, which will be sponsored by the Bank of Bennington. On Jan. 14, Jim Henderson of the Bennington County Regional Commission will present "The Ghost Town of Glastenbury," a slideshow telling the story of the town's founding through its demise. On Jan. 21, Henderson will return to talk about "Managing Stormwater in our Watershed." On Jan. 28, Alyssa Bennet of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will talk about Vermont's bat species and how they are being affected by White Nose Syndrome. On Feb. 4, Steve McMahon of the Hoosic River Watershed Association will present "Our Rivers and Streams," a look at how we monitor rivers and deal with issues affecting water quality. Finally, wrapping up their winter lecture series will be Kerry Woods, from Bennington College, on Feb. 11, who will talk about, "Our Post Industrial Forests," which will discuss how the future of Vermont's forested landscape has been and will continue to be shaped by human history.
For more information about the center and its offerings, you can visit their website, oneworldconservationcenter.org, or call them at 802-447-7419.