BAR HARBOR — Four area residents were honored by Friends of Acadia for their service to the organization and Acadia National Park at FOA’s 2018 Annual Meeting on Wednesday, July 11.
The Excellence in Volunteerism Award was given to Priscilla and Jack Hirschenhofer of Wyomissing, PA, and Hancock. The couple volunteer in numerous capacities including trail crew, the FOA membership table, and in the office. The award thanks them “for personifying the volunteer ethic and generosity that is at the very heart of this park and Friends of Acadia… Your commitment to Acadia and its people is a gift to us all.”
Doug Heden of Bar Harbor was named recipient of the Acadia Preservation Award for his volunteer trail work and his creation of a history of a nascent Friends of Acadia (FOA). The organization was founded in 1986. During those early years, a fledgling FOA overcame several financial, organizational and political challenges on its way to becoming the one of the most respected Friends groups in the country.
The award notes Heden’s “generosity in sharing your love of the park by serving as a crew leader, welcoming and guiding others who are new to the volunteer experience; for your meticulous research and writing and your commitment to documenting the history of the early years of Friends of Acadia in order to strengthen and inspire the work and mission of this organization going forward for many years to come.”
Retired Acadia National Park Ranger Charlie Jacobi of Bar Harbor was named winner of FOA’s top honor, the Marianne Edwards Distinguished Service Award. Edwards was the pivotal figure in the creation of Friends of Acadia and a tireless volunteer and champion for the park.
In announcing the award, FOA President and CEO David MacDonald noted that Jacobi had dedicated his career for decades to helping educate and train more than 80 young conservationists via the Ridge Runner, Summit Steward and Rec Tech programs. “He has had as much impact on this organization as any other National Park Service Employee,” MacDonald said. Jacobi was instrumental in the creation and success of several key Acadia/FOA initiatives including returning Bates Cairns to historic hiking trails, village connector trails, as well as Leave No Trace education.
Jacobi was unable to attend the presentation but thanked FOA in a pre-recorded video. He noted that all who are a part of Friends of Acadia or who work to preserve and protect Acadia National Park, “are heroes. You are all my heroes.”
A video of the entire meeting, including Jacobi’s remarks, can be viewed online on the Friends of Acadia Facebook Page.
The 250 people in attendance also heard remarks from MacDonald, Board Chair Anne Green, President and FOA Conservation Director Stephanie Clement, Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider.
In closing remarks, MacDonald spoke of his vision for the future. “We have been left an amazing asset here in Acadia National Park. We’ve inherited something that is priceless – it’s beyond compare. And yet we know that the challenges that lie ahead in the second century are profound – societal changes, climate changes. We are also aware that the park boundary doesn’t serve as an impenetrable wall of defense against a warming Gulf of Maine, or a new plant species, or a new insect species. We need to work collaboratively across boundaries throughout the community and engage a much wider audience. 5000 members is a fantastic accomplishment, but think of the number of folks that come through here. We need to aspire, as Anne said in our strategic plan, to broaden our reach, to reach more of those visitors with stewardship messages, to rethink what it means to be a friend of Acadia.”
MacDonald continued that everyone who rides the Island Explorer, uses refillable water bottles, who stays on the trail, who commented on the park’s proposed Transportation Plan who does things big and small to protect the park, is, in effect, a friend of Acadia.
“Take this message, take your commitment, take your passion out from this room… and try to recruit more folks that love this park, to become more involved, and help share the amazing work that you all do.”
Following the business meeting, attendees will enjoy refreshments and conversation on the terrace overlooking Frenchman Bay. The annual meeting was held at the Bar Harbor Club on West Street
For more information about Friends of Acadia visit www.friendsofacadia.org, or call 207-288-3340.