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BHC Awards Volunteers During Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park’s 2nd Anniversary

Receiving awards for volunteer service from Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) at the 2nd Anniversary celebration of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park are (left to right): Jack Crawford and Annika Bangma, both of Youth Unlimited Serve Project; Suzanne Buchanan, Volunteer Coordinator at BHC; Benjamin Cote of Ten Mile River Watershed Council; Sarah Carr and Anne Conway, both of the Museum of Work and Culture, and Rosanne Sherry. Not pictured is Steve Emma. BHC manages the Volunteers-in-Parks program for the National Park Service and recognized these volunteers and groups for their outstanding contribution to the volunteer program in 2016. To learn more about the program, visit BlackstoneHeritageCorridor.org.

Whitinsville, MA (December 14, 2016) – Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. (BHC) presented awards to several volunteers for their outstanding service with the National Park Service’s Volunteers-in-Parks program that it manages. The awards were presented during the second anniversary celebration for the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.

Among those recognized for their individual impacts were: Benjamin Cote, Rosanne Sherry, and Steve Emma. Groups recognized for outstanding service include the Museum of Work & Culture and Whitinsville Serve 2016.

Benjamin Cote, a resident of Pawtucket, RI, and also president of the Ten Mile River Watershed Council, is a new volunteer with BHC and signed on to present walking tours for BHC’s 2nd Annual GO! program this past September. Cote received the “Outstanding GO! Tour 2016” award for his “Lanterns, Ghosts and King Philip’s War” walking tour at the Cumberland Monastery in Cumberland, RI. The event drew the largest audience of a volunteer-led GO! experience with nearly 100 attendees.

Rosanne Sherry, a resident of N. Smithfield, RI, a lifelong-birder and career horticulturalist, received the “Outstanding Interpretive Program Award.” Rosanne presented “Birding on the Blackstone” walking tour series in both Lincoln, RI, at the Blackstone River State Park, and in Uxbridge, MA, at the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park. “It was an exceptional program that educated people about the fauna of the Blackstone Valley and it inspired new stewards,” Charlene Perkins Cutler, BHC’s Executive Director noted.

Steve Emma, a resident of Providence, RI, has made Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, RI, his second home and volunteers to maintain the Blackstone River Bikeway by fixing broken posts and cutting back invasive weeds such as poison ivy and bittersweet. Emma received the “Outstanding Natural Resource Volunteer” for 2016. “He is poison ivy’s worst enemy, and the Bikeway’s best friend,” noted Suzanne Buchanan, volunteer coordinator at BHC. “He is out there in all kinds of weather and has helped recruit new volunteers to our program. People see him in action and ask how to get involved.” Buchanan added that Emma has been outfitted with special orange gear for all kinds of weather and special safety signage to display that helps identify him as volunteer with the Volunteers-in-Parks program and warns passersby of the work zone.

The Museum of Work and Culture (MOWC) in Woonsocket, RI, received the “Outstanding VIP Group Partnership Program Award.” According to Buchanan, this award recognizes MOWC volunteers for their knowledge, inspiration and graciousness. Over the past year, MOWC volunteers contributed 1,437 hours of service with an in-kind donation value of $33,856.

Whitinsville Serve 2016 received the “Outstanding Special VIP Project Award” for 2016. The award recognizes the 104 volunteers who participated in the Youth Unlimited service project hosted by the Pleasant Street Christian Reform Church of Whitinsville, MA. They logged a total of 3,168 volunteer hours and volunteered in the communities of Northbridge, Uxbridge, Millville, Douglas and Grafton over the span of one week in July. Their service resulted in an in-kind donation valued at over $73,000. “They came to visit, not to stay, but their impact is felt here every day,” Buchanan commented upon presenting the award.

To learn more about the Volunteers-in-Parks program, visit BlackstoneHeritageCorridor.org/doing/vipprogram or considering attending BHC’s next Volunteer Open House on Monday, January 9, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at BHC’s office at 670 Linwood Avenue, Whitinsville, MA. To register, RSVP to Suzanne Buchanan at Volunteer@BlackstoneHeritageCorridor.org or call (508) 234-4242.

About Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc.: An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities, businesses and residents to ensure the long term vitality of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Learn more at BlackstoneHeritageCorridor.org.