Land Steward George Beaton Honored at Spirit of NH Volunteer Awards
Volunteer Land Steward George Beaton, of Bradford, was recently recognized at the Spirit of New Hampshire Volunteer Awards, an annual event organized by Volunteer NH. The Forest Society nominated George for this honor for his outstanding volunteer efforts on many fronts: monitoring and stewarding trails on the Black Mountain Forest (Sutton, NH), helping high school students learn carpentry and trail work techniques through Mount Kearsarge Outdoor Classroom at Black Mountain Forest, and participation at Monadnock Trails Week and many other stewardship workdays across the state.
George is always game for any project, and his master carpentry and woodworking skills are often critical to getting projects completed. When we needed someone to work on a big white pine tree cookie from the Diehl Forest to make it useable for an educational display, George offered to do it and made it into a beautiful work of art, complete with display stand. He has also created and donated items that he made in his woodshop, such as cutting boards and a beautiful side table on top of a wrought iron sewing table he salvaged on a workday at the Wenny-Baker Forest. In the first 3 years of the Mount Kearsarge Outdoor Classroom program, George worked with high-risk freshman and sophomore High School students to complete trail projects on the Lincoln Trail up Mt. Kearsarge. These students don’t thrive well in traditional classroom settings and many have rough family lives and behavioral issues. George took all of that in stride- he was never hesitant about interacting with students and would find topics to connect with the kids while he worked with them. This kind of work takes a special kind of volunteer to excel at, and George was perfect for it. George comes to almost every scheduled workday, including all of Monadnock Trails Week in recent years. This past spring, he jumped in to work for two days with a short-handed Vermont Youth Conservation Crew constructing timber waterbars at Hay Reservation in Newbury.
Forest Society staff and volunteers all enjoy working with George for his sense of humor and easy-going attitude. He doesn’t get upset when things don’t go right, and in fact seems almost entertained by most of the logistical curveballs and eccentric personalities once encounters in group volunteer projects! We are excited to see him recognized at the Spirit of NH Volunteer Awards, and hope he'll continue to volunteer for many years to come!