June 2023 Volunteer of the Month

June 01, 2023

By Beth MacCallum, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

The June 2023 Volunteer of the Month is Mike Rozdolski. Mike is a seasoned veteran of the Albany Pine Bush burn crew. He has been volunteering in and around the preserve for twenty-six years.  Much of his service has been with the burn crew, but he began by helping Stewardship Director, Joel Hecht, place trail and boundary markers around the Pine Bush and assisting with trail maintenance. He can also be found donning his fire gear as the roving firefighter at annual events such as Night at the Discovery Center and Smokey Bear Day.

Mike’s volunteer service has not been limited to the Albany Pine Bush.  He has also volunteered at Troy Bike Rescue, Electric City Bike Rescue, Bikes for Humanity, and Wheels Up. Mike has donated over 600 units of platelets and plasma to the American Red Cross over the last 20+ years. He is a retired GE engineer and project manager and in his spare time he enjoys biking, gardening, and cross-country skiing.

Mike’s favorite part of volunteering with the burn crew has been getting to know interesting people from around the country and around the world, as people come from all over to visit the preserve and learn about the use of prescribed fire as a tool of habitat restoration. Mike says, “I most enjoy participating in prescription burns. The leadership and crews are great, and it is very satisfying to go out in the morning, hear the plan, execute it, and at the end of the day leave knowing we have met the objectives and completed them safely.

Mike has cherished memories of working in the preserve alongside staff and other volunteers to clear and trim trails in preparation for skiing, snowshoe and hiking. He especially loves the various species of owls he has observed while traversing preserve trails on his cross-country skis.  He also has many fond family memories of Blueberry Hill.

Mike was nominated for volunteer of the month by Fire Manager, Tyler Briggs. Of his service on the burn crew Tyler said, “Mike is a great member of the crew.  He is always great at teaching new people and is very generous with sharing his time at public events.”

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