Forest Society Honors Janet Hill as the Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year

October 6, 2021
Volunteer of the Year Janet Hill accepts a plaque on stage from President Jack Savage.

Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year Janet Hill accepts her award from President Jack Savage. (Photo: Kate Wilcox)

Each year, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests announces the organization’s Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year Award at its Annual Meeting held in September. This annual award honors those exemplary people who have volunteered their time, resources, and energy to help the Forest Society achieve its mission.

At this year’s 120th Annual Meeting on September 25, the Forest Society was honored to present the Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year Award to Janet Hill of Littleton. Hill has volunteered at the Forest Society’s North Country Conservation Center at The Rocks in Bethlehem for more than 11 years. When she first started volunteering, she adopted the Olmsted Firm-designed formal garden at The Rocks. A master gardener, Hill transformed the flower gardens into a vibrant oasis, worthy of the Olmsted legacy.*

“Janet volunteers not only when there is a need for weeding or mulching, but she also organizes other volunteers to tend to the garden when she is not available,” states Nigel Manley, director of the North Country properties for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “Since the fire that destroyed the Tool Building in February of 2019, Janet and her husband, Ed Martin, have gone above and beyond the call of volunteerism, by lending a hand to help deliver the NH Maple Experience programs, to greeting and shepherding bus tours that visit The Rocks, and even answering the phones on weekends during the busy Christmas season.”

The garden at The Rocks provides a lively and beautiful spot, overlooking both the evolving landscape and the panoramic view from the Percy Peaks toward Mt. Washington. With the renovation of the Carriage Barn and the grounds is underway, Hill’s work in the garden has been on full display. “Thanks to Janet’s steady hand, the garden has been a wonderful place of solace and renewal during a time of transition at The Rocks,” states Jack Savage, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “If you are lucky, you will see Janet, as she quietly continues her dead-heading or tending the iris, lilies, or phlox.”

“The Rocks is a local treasure and I wanted people who visit it to really enjoy the garden, so I took over the care of it and planted a lot of plants from my own home garden,” said Hill, a member of the Littleton Garden Club who tends the narrow garden between the Littleton Area Senior Center and footbridge, in an interview with the Calendonian Record. “There are a lot of dedicated volunteers at The Rocks, and I’m one of the many dedicated volunteers."

Local artist and Forest Society supporter, Kathie Lovett of Franconia, donated an original painting of the garden at The Rocks, which was presented to Hill as she accepted the Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Forest Society Volunteer of the Year Award is named after Trish Churchill, who passed away earlier this year.

“Trish embodied the spirit of volunteerism with her enthusiasm and compassion for others, and in her honor, we are revitalizing the gardens at the entry to the Conservation Center in Concord. A spot she enjoyed with colleagues and cared for for many years,” add Savage.


*Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, is in many ways responsible for the way America looks. Beginning in 1857 with Central Park in New York City, he created designs for thousands of landscapes, including many of the world’s most important parks. Prospect Park and Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn are designed by Olmsted, as well as Boston’s Emerald Necklace, The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Mount Royal in Montreal, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the White House, Washington Park, Jackson Park, and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. Many of the green spaces that define towns and cities across the country