Forest Society Recognizes Volunteers of the Year

February 2, 2010

Forest Society Recognizes Volunteers of the Year

Roger and Ann Sweet were recognized with the first-ever Trish Churchill Volunteer of the Year Award at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ annual meeting for land stewards. Named after the Forest Society’s long-time volunteer manager Trish Churchill, the award was created to recognize volunteers who go far above and beyond the call of duty.

The Sweets are two of the Forest Society’s longest serving active land stewards. The couple trained with the Forest Society’s first-ever class of land stewards 15 years ago.

Residents of Sullivan, Roger and Ann have taken care of the Forest Society’s Allison Nims Piper Memorial Forest. They also added the nearby Olsen Family Forest to their responsibilities when the Forest Society acquired it in 1998. Between them, the Sweets have volunteered thousands of hours in monitoring, trail maintenance, and other stewardship activities on the Piper and Olsen Forests over that time. 

According to Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley, the Sweets took their stewardship responsibilities very seriously. “I’ve really come to think of Roger and Ann as part of the extended Forest Society family,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “They attend every event for land stewards and volunteers. They’ve worked on the Piper tract for 15 years and on the Olsen tract since we first acquired it.”

Roger and Ann have also attended many, many Forest Society field trips—likely more than 25 to 30, according to Forest Society Director of Education and Volunteer Management Dave Anderson. Last winter they hiked on an arduous Forest Society tour in Lempster—a full-day, off-trail snowshoe expedition deep into the wilds of the Ashuelot River Headwaters. They also lead their own hikes on Forest Society land for local community members each year.

The couple accepted the award with grace, observing that it had been a pleasure to work with Forest Society staff over the years.  Ann said they were “especially honored to be associated with Trish Churchill,” the Forest Society’s much-loved volunteer coordinator who was in attendance to help present the award to the Sweets. Churchill retired in fall 2008 after working for the Forest Society for more than 40 years.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit