July 2014 Volunteer of the Month
Photo by Rick Canter
For many PATC volunteers, we have someone special who teaches by example and gets us involved more deeply with the club and its goals. When teacher Kathy Seiler met North Chapter stalwart Elizabeth Johnson in the spring of 1981, a lifelong friendship was forged.
Elizabeth had been organizing weekly teacher hikes on the AT on Wednesdays after school. They were great fun and great therapy. Kathy and Elizabeth did a lot of hiking in southern Pennsylvania.
Kathy joined PATC as a life member in 1992 and was the North Chapter secretary in 1995. She joined the Keystone Trails Association as a life member in 1997 and joined ATC in 1999.
When Elizabeth moved to Montana in 1997, she handed over her AT trail section to Kathy and co-overseer Jim Sims. Before Elizabeth moved, she and Kathy had hiked those miles a million times and they had talked about so much--the different wildflowers, trees, rocks, forestry issues, books, music, politics, women's rights...
Kathy volunteered at the ATC Shippensburg Biennial Conference in 2001 with Elizabeth all week -- helping with the registration table, three hikes, and as a field trip guide to Ashland's Pioneer Coal Mine Tunnel.
Professionally, Kathy was a teacher before retiring in June 2012, with 35 years in public education. She was an advisor to the Envirothon group at Waynesboro Area Senior High from 1993-2012, winning the Franklin County event eight times to qualify for state competition.
Kathy attended the Trail to Every Classroom program in 2007, and the 2009 TTEC Alumni meeting in Vermont. The TTEC is a program run by ATC to have teachers incorporate curriculum into their classroom so students would be exposed to the AT.
Since 2006, Kathy has been participating in The American Chestnut Foundation yearly census of American chestnuts north from PenMar and sending in the data. Last year, she added a few more sections. She has also participated with the AT/Smithsonian Institution Mammal Camera Survey from 2007-09 with two other PATC members south of PenMar in Maryland.
Kathy's most recent contribution to PATC was as chairperson for the Waynesboro and Washington Township designation as a Trail Community, held on April 26. Kathy was very organized and kept everything on track.
Kathy and her husband, Darwin, live in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., and are both retired teachers.
Kathy has volunteered in many aspects of the Appalachian Trail community. PATC says "thank-you," but perhaps it would be Elizabeth that would be the most proud of Kathy’s various contributions.
--With contributions by
Christopher Firme and Kathy Seiler
Know a PATC volunteer who goes "above and beyond?" Nominate him or her for Volunteer of the Month! Send nominations to Rick Canter at firstname.lastname@example.org.