February 2024 Volunteer of the Month

February 02, 2024

MaryAnn Kosek is our Volunteer of the Month for February 2024.

By Beth MacCallum, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

She brings a unique blend of passion, talent, and dedication to her role as a Program Assistant. Born and raised in Albany, MaryAnn commenced her volunteer journey in 2010, marking over a decade of unwavering commitment to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

A seasoned professional, MaryAnn spent her career at Time Warner Cable as the Director of Human Resources before retiring. Post-retirement, she delved into her musical pursuits, becoming an active member of the Albany Musicians Union and founding her own trio, RK Jazz & Blues, where she plays the guitar and piano. MaryAnn's musical talents extend beyond her bands, as she generously shares her gift with the Pine Bush community.

The heart of MaryAnn's volunteerism lies in her role as a Program Assistant, where she has made significant contributions to our education programs. As Education Program Director Erin Kinal notes, "The musician Lou Rawls once said, ‘Music is the greatest communication in the world.’ Music not only connects people; it also helps connect us with the preserve.  MaryAnn is a professional musician and has generously volunteered her talent here at the Albany Pine Bush playing guitar, singing, and composing for our education programs."

Over the years, MaryAnn has woven the language of music into the fabric of Pine Bush programs. From writing and performing songs for school assemblies celebrating Earth Day to accompanying puppet shows and leading musical parades at Lupine Fest, MaryAnn's impact is immeasurable. Her dedication to the Pine Bush is further exemplified by her role in the Pine Bush Pups programs, where she welcomes the youngest audience members with open arms and guides them through the wonders of the preserve through song.

Erin Kinal, reflecting on MaryAnn's contributions, shares, "The connections to the Pine Bush that MaryAnn has helped to foster through music are countless, and the joy she brings to our education program is boundless." MaryAnn's influence extends beyond her musical prowess; it is embedded in the sense of joy and community she brings to both staff and visitors alike.

MaryAnn's favorite Pine Bush residents are the birds, particularly the owls, showcasing her appreciation for the diverse wildlife that calls the preserve home. Her favorite trails, the Hunger Kill and Karner Barrens, reflect her love for the natural beauty and tranquility found within the Pine Bush Preserve.

In honoring MaryAnn Kosek as the Volunteer of the Month, we recognize her exceptional contributions, generosity, and unwavering dedication. MaryAnn's music has become an integral part of the Pine Bush experience, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who have had the pleasure of crossing paths with her.

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