December 2023 Volunteer of the Month

December 29, 2023

In the heart of Pine Bush, hiking the trails and greeting visitors there's a dedicated volunteer whose passion for nature has made a lasting impact.

By Beth MacCallum, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

Meet Brian Hardiman, a retired educator, and the December 2023 Volunteer of the month.

Originally hailing from New Jersey, Brian's journey led him to Albany.  His retirement from his career in environmental education didn't slow him down; instead, it opened doors to a new chapter of giving back. Brian took up volunteering as a naturalist and community scientist in 2019, immersing himself in the diverse ecosystems of the Pine Bush. Beyond his volunteer role, he shares the joy of outdoor exploration with his wife, hiking through the region's natural wonders. Birdwatching and fly fishing are among his cherished pastimes, rounding out a life deeply intertwined with the environment.

The Pine Bush holds a special place in Brian's heart, offering a canvas of experiences in every season. As a volunteer naturalist, he delights in showcasing the beauty of Pine Bush to trail visitors. His commitment extends to contributing trail reports, capturing the essence of the region through written and photo documentation. One unforgettable moment on the trail encapsulates Brian's dedication. He shared insights about buck moths with a curious visitor, revealing their life history and dependence on Pine Bush's scrub oak. Despite not spotting any buck moths during the October hike, the visitor left captivated and determined to seek them out on future adventures. Among Brian's favorite Pine Bush inhabitants is the hog-nose snake, admired for its unique behaviors and appearance. As a snake enthusiast, he finds joy in the diversity of wildlife within the Pine Bush.  When asked about a favorite trail, Brian hesitates, acknowledging the difficulty of singling out just one. Each trail holds its own charm, contributing to the richness of Pine Bush's natural tapestry.

Brian Hardiman's commitment to Pine Bush goes beyond volunteering; it's a testament to his love for nature and his desire to share that love with others. Of Brian, Volunteer Naturalist program supervisor Pammi Price says, “Brian is a true asset to the Volunteer Naturalist ranks. Brian completed 23 trail visits between January and November 2023 and his reports are always full of important information and interesting highlights. His sharing of nature knowledge during our Volunteer Naturalist monthly gatherings is appreciated by all who attend. We are also the benefactors of the beautiful photographs by Brian and his wife, Sara Hart, that accompany his trail reports.”

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