County Fare: From our youth, a giving tree for you and me


Lanesborough Conservation Commissioner Dave Vogel recently shared a story about young environmental stewards for the town. He writes:

"Mount Greylock High School student and associate member of Lanesborough's Conservation Commission, Samantha Trybus had a vision. Trybus believed that Lanesborough needed a symbol of unity in the town, and organized a fundraiser to purchase and plant a Holiday Tree. With the help of Dean Maynard's (of Maynard's Landscaping, and also a Conservation commission member) resources, equipment and time, the 10-foot Fraser Fir evergreen was planted on Aug. 3.

With little ceremony, Ms. Trybus and two high school friends, Gianna Auriemma and Shaelyn Roberts, got to work removing sod, digging out the planting site, guiding the tree into its place, refilling the site with soil and soil conditioners and packing down the soil around the tree. The plant siting is located on the corner of Main Street and Church Street, highly visible from Main Street, Route 7.

Ms. Trybus, in discussion with her parents and friends recognized that while many other area towns have Holiday Trees that promote resident participation and goodwill gathering, Lanesborough did not. She set off to change this. Trybus envisions the Town Tree as a gathering place during the Holiday season- tree lighting ceremonies, caroling, sing-alongs, and other activities, and that the tree could represent various holidays throughout the year: Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving or other holidays of significance. She envisions including students from Lanesborough Elementary School in creating holiday ornaments and symbols and taking part in decorating the tree for various Holidays throughout the year.

Samantha will take on the responsibility of seeing that the tree is watered, fertilized and kept happy and healthy as it grows over the years. The Fraser Fir was specifically picked out for its adaptability to the Lanesborough climate, its beauty in shape, and its potential to grow to heights of 40 feet or more.

Commissioner Dean Maynard views the activity as having multiple benefits. "I see this as another step in the beautification of Lanesborough, as an opportunity to teach our youth how trees are planted, seeing how it will look over the next 20 years, and I look forward to seeing it decorated and lit this Christmas time," he said.

A stitch in time

Since the beginning of June, Berkshire residents and visitors have been participating in community sewing bees for artist Emily Johnson's project, "Then A Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars." For the past year, Johnson has been an artist-in-residence at Williams College, and has been using the North Adams Makers' Mill as a home base to host the community sewing bees for a larger project of her CATALYST dance company, for which she serves as choreographer and director.

Volunteers working in North Adams, Minneapolis, Tallahassee, New York City and Richfield, Minn., are creating a series of 84 hand sewn quilts. Each square contributed is based on a community member's response to the prompts of "What do you want for your well-being? For your family and friends? Your neighborhood? Your city, town, or reserve?"

Once they're all completed, the quilts will be gathered and laid outdoors for an all-night performance filled with dance, storytelling and stargazing.

A completed Williamstown quilt is now hanging in the window at the Makers' Mill, located at 73 Main St., North Adams. Some of the contributions to this quilt were made by Williamstown Elementary School art students.

There are more opportunities to contribute your community intentions and to help sew quilt squares — all are welcome, no experience is neccessary and materials are provided. There's a sewing bee tonight, and again on Aug. 24, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Check out and for more details.

Two grads named Simon Youth Foundation scholars

Erica Perrea of Hinsdale and Emma Lezberg of Pittsfield were among 26 graduating high school seniors to receive a Simon Youth Foundation Scholarship, through a nonprofit branch of Simon Malls and Simon Premium Outlets in New England.

Perrea, a graduate of Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, earned $750, and will attend Siena College in Albany, N.Y. this fall. Lezberg, a graduate of Pittsfield High School, earned $1,500 to attend Williams College in Williamstown.

A total of $80,000 in scholarship funds were awarded by the foundation.

Simon Youth Foundation Scholarship recipients attended a celebratory reception on Wednesday, July 20, at Burlington Mall in Burlington, Mass. Speakers who addressed the students during the reception included, J. Michael Durnil, president and CEO of the Simon Youth Foundation; Mike Merrow, regional vice president for Simon New England, and Timothy Swift, recent graduate from Peabody Learning Academy at Northshore Mall.

The Peabody Learning Academy serves the at-risk student population of Peabody Veteran's Memorial High School. In partnership with the Simon Youth Foundation, Peabody Learning Academy is nationally recognized as one of the most successful non-traditional high school programs in the United States.

"Simon Youth Scholarships reward academic excellence across the country and help students to continue their education," said Durnil. "Financial concerns should never be the reason preventing a child from pursuing their dreams."


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