SOMERS, N.Y. - The Somers Democratic Club granted its highest non-political award -- the Community Service Award to Michael Barnhart, in recognition of his environmental work for the Somers Land Trust and the Angle Fly Preserve .
At the same time last Friday, the Westchester County Legislature proclaimed July 1 "Michael Barnhart Day," and issued a statement saying that "accomplishments such as those of Michael Barnhart should be properly recognized and acclaimed."
During a celebratory dinner that night at the Croton Creek Steakhouse , the restaurants owner told Barnhart that the County Center Jumbotron was flashing the news of his unexpected fame. After Barnhart and his wife, Elizabeth Breslin, got home and were ready to retire, she said, Lets go see it, because tomorrow will be somebody elses day."
"We hopped in the car and drove down to White Plains to get some pictures," she said. "I was still in my pajamas.
Barnhart said he was thoroughly surprised to receive the awards.
"I didn't know there was any such thing," he said. "But of course it's the members of the Land Trust and the Friends of Angle Fly who have really earned it."
Barnhart first encountered the Land Trust when he saw an ad for volunteers on the local cable channel. That was 20 years ago. Today there are between 75 and 100 active members.
Most of its activity lately has involved the Angle Fly Preserve.
"It's because of the demands of the project," said Barnhart.
The Preserve comprises 654 acres of woods, ponds, streams and wetlands. It was purchased with combined funds from the town, county and state to preclude its use as a development for 104 residential units. The volunteers have already built hiking trails, including a 40-foot bridge single span truss bridge. They have also planned a rain garden, solar aeration equipment and kiosks and prepared a preliminary trail map.
Volunteers are welcome. The next volunteer day will be Saturday. Those taking part are asked to meet at the entrance to the Preserve at 10 a.m.
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