2023 Volunteer Award Winners

Pictured from L-R: Claire Ritterhoff, Pastor Chris Schaefer, Don Callihan, David Shahady, Tom Moench, Sarah Bunk, Deborah Lancaster, Randy Davis, Kim Pause Tucker

December 14, 2023

Volunteers are truly the heart of the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy. Each December, we take time to reflect on GVC’s accomplishments and the individuals who went above and beyond to help us achieve our vision of healthy lands, healthy waterways, and healthy communities in the Gunpowder Watershed.

Special thanks to our Volunteer Leader Appreciation sponsors: Boordy Vineyards, Bertucci’s, and the Davey Tree Expert Company. With their support, we celebrated our extraordinary volunteer leaders this week at Boordy’s recently restored, historic barn.

2023 Award Winners

Some volunteers help us in the field, while others share their talents behind-the-scenes. And then there is our 2023 Charlie Conklin Volunteer of the Year, Sarah Bunk, who masterfully donated her time and talents in both arenas. This year, Sarah volunteered over 30 hours as a reforestation crew chief. She was elected to the GVC Board of Directors and has been doing a phenomenal job serving as the Secretary of the Board. Sarah also volunteered countless hours to help with our Explore the Gunpowder and Evening Among the Trees fundraisers. Last, but certainly not least, she has generously offered to serve as GVC’s unofficial Sharepoint specialist, which is no small feat!

Calm, level-headed, articulate, and thorough. These are just a few character traits possessed by our 2023 Community Leader of the Year, Tom Moench. As Divinity Lutheran Church Council President, Tom was a natural choice to join our Bay-Wise project steering committee. From the beginning of the idea for a Bay-Wise grant project at Divinity Lutheran in 2022, Tom was key to driving the implementation of the project on the ground. Although he was considerate of the inputs of Pastor Chris and the rest of the project steering committee, he demonstrated leadership in a crisis when it was needed to offer practical solutions. We also appreciate Tom’s unfailing graciousness in acknowledging others’ contributions to the success of the Bay-Wise Project.

2023 Certificates of Honor

Divinity Lutheran Bay-Wise Project Steering Committee volunteers for contributing to a positive, harmonious, and flexible team, which made the work of the GVC staff and contractors a pleasure. Thank you for your faith in the project and in the health of the Gunpowder Watershed. Volunteers included Tom Moench, Pastor Chris Schaefer, Claire Ritterhoff, and Master Gardener Lynda McClary.

Randy Davis has been a GVC volunteer and member of our Advisory Council for several years. We are so grateful for Randy’s financial leadership this year. Randy attended countless meetings, fielded questions and shared his vast knowledge in accounting to GVC’s benefit.

Deborah Lancaster was GVC’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. She and the Event Committee work tirelessly to make the annual event a success every year. She was nominated by her peers to be recognized and the staff agreed! Her biggest contribution was managing the silent auction logistics for our annual event. This year, with Deborah’s guidance, we had 60 baskets that helped raise over $6,000.

Nancy Pentz was GVC’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year. Nancy serves on the Finance and Resource Development Committees, as well as the Event Committee. Her work is so important to the functioning of GVC that Nancy earned a position on our organizational chart. As GVC is going through our growth spurt, Nancy has reliably given her all to ensure that our additional fundraising initiatives are a success.

Special Acknowledgements

A 2023 Program Grant from BGE made it possible for us to hire David Shahady for a year as GVC’s first Stream Programs Assistant. He coordinated stream clean-ups with our volunteers, assisted with the Adopt-a-Stream program, and helped our reforestation program with tree maintenance this fall. Under his leadership, GVC’s stream program volunteers removed over 5.2 tons of litter from our waterways this year! We wish David the best of luck in his master’s program.

Don Callihan was recognized for his service as Interim Executive Director in 2022. He brought GVC through a logo update, initiated GVC data organization structure, helped to hire and onboard our first full-time Executive Director, and worked with the Board to recruit and onboard 7 new board members and 2 new advisory council members.