November 2023 Volunteer of the month

November 27, 2023

The Volunteer of the Month for November 2023 is Bill Collins, a crucial member of the burn crew since 2019.

By Beth MacCallum, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

Bill’s dedication extends from his nearly 40 years of public service as an attorney and public administrator in the New York State government, where he retired in 2013. Following his retirement, Bill became an interior qualified volunteer firefighter in the Town of Bethlehem. In 2019, he completed wildland firefighter classes, qualifying him to assist on the Pine Bush prescribed burns fire crew. Aside from his volunteer work, Bill enjoys spending time with his two local granddaughters, playing competitive and recreational tennis, and playing drums in his church’s praise band.

What Bill values most about volunteering at the preserve is the sense of camaraderie among the burn crew. He emphasizes the positive influence of Bur Boss Tyler Briggs in ensuring every burn is conducted safely, effectively, and joyfully. Bill appreciates the opportunity to connect with both longstanding friends from previous burn crews and new recruits during Pine Bush Burns. The pre-burn briefing is a particular highlight for Bill, providing a chance to bond with teammates, including individuals from various professions such as DEC rangers, Nature Conservancy members, and preserve staff, all uniting for a common cause.

Bills favorite Pine Bush plant is the Pitch Pine, and he expresses a commitment to maintaining their health by carefully burning around them to eliminate duff and invasive elements. Tyler Briggs, who nominated Bill, commends him for being a pleasure to work with, a reliable crew member, and someone who consistently contributes to any task at hand. Tyler emphasizes Bill’s safety conscious approach on the Fireline, noting complete trust in Bill’s capabilities. Overall, Tyler considers Bill a great individual and appreciates the valuable time he dedicates to the team.

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