In 1978, I was hired by Onondaga County Parks to become the director of Beaver Lake Nature Center. I graduated from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1973 and worked for both New York City and Atlanta, Ga. designing and managing environmental education programs for those cities. We were thrilled to get the notice that I would become the director of Beaver Lake. We bought our first home on Tappan Street in the village in 1979 and subsequent to that, we built the house of our dreams in 1983 on a wooded lot in Lysander near Beaver Lake. This has been home for 30 years. We raised our two children here with a love of the land, the outdoors and their community. They attended Baldwinsville schools and both now live with their own families in nearby communities where enjoying my four grandchildren is truly the highlight of my life.
I spent my professional career with Onondaga County Parks. Working at Beaver Lake, which in 1978 was essentially a new facility, was an incredible experience. In the five years I was there, we took a largely unknown facility and turned it into one of the most popular facilities of its kind and quadrupled the attendance. There were so many things to be proud of working with the dedicated staff there, but developing the Golden Harvest Festival as well as creating the Friends of Beaver Lake remain as things I am most proud of. In 1983, after five years at the helm of Beaver Lake, I was asked to take a step up in County Parks to become the director of Public Programs and Recreation overseeing all of the activities of the Parks system. I became even more knowledgeable about budgeting, raising private sponsorship dollars and working with a variety of businesses and other agencies to get things done. In 1995, I was honored to be appointed commissioner of the department, a post I held until my retirement in 2009.