March 2024 Volunteer of the month

March 10, 2024

Please meet the March 2024 Albany Pine Bush Preserve Volunteer of the Month, Liz Ricci, an individual whose dedication and passion have become woven into the fabric of our community.

Liz, a Naturalist and Community Scientist, entered the world of Pine Bush volunteering in 2020, bringing with her a love for the outdoors and a commitment to preserving the unique beauty of the Albany area.

Hailing from a quaint town in the Southern Tier of New York, Liz's journey led her to Albany post-college, where she now works as an environmental engineer for a New York State agency. Beyond her professional life, Liz embraces a diverse array of hobbies, with a particular fondness for hiking, running, and exploring the outdoors. The onset of the COVID era saw Liz adding bird watching and nature photography to her repertoire, capturing the essence of the Pine Bush through her lens during her trail walks.

For Liz, the allure of Pine Bush lies in the ever-changing seasons that paint her favorite trails with a kaleidoscope of colors. The unique habitat of Pine Bush constantly surprises her, whether it be the discovery of a new bird species or a previously unnoticed plant. As a volunteer Naturalist, Liz shares her captured moments with fellow volunteers and Preserve staff, spreading the beauty of Pine Bush far and wide.

Among her cherished memories is the annual American Woodcock count, where the symphony of nature unfolds close to sunset. Liz describes the excitement of hearing the call of peents and the occasional sighting of a Woodcock on the trail. These experiences, accompanied by breathtaking sunsets, encapsulate the magic of Pine Bush for Liz, who eagerly anticipates the Woodcock count each year, hoping to capture the perfect photograph in 2024.
The Prairie Warbler holds a special place in Liz's heart as her favorite Pine Bush bird, a testament to her deep connection with the preserve's wildlife. The Great Dune trail, with its unique landscape, stands out as Liz's favorite part of the Pine Bush, a place where her love for the outdoors and appreciation for nature converge.

Field Ecologist and Entomologist, Amanda Dillon, lauds Liz as a cornerstone of the community science program. Since joining in 2020, Liz has proven to be both dependable and familiar with the preserve, willingly taking on challenging off-trail sites and consistently completing surveys. Beyond her role as a Community Scientist, Liz is a dedicated Preserve Naturalist, contributing not only through her surveys but also through stunning photographs and insightful reports. Amanda expresses deep appreciation for Liz's unwavering commitment, considering her a true asset to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission.

Liz Ricci's journey as Volunteer of the Month epitomizes a connection with nature that goes beyond the trails. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and contributions make her an invaluable part of the Albany Pine Bush community. Congratulations, Liz, on this well-deserved recognition!

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