Adirondack Garden Club honors Barbara Hail for contributions

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Sep. 26—KEENE — The Adirondack Garden Club (AGC) honored Barbara Hail for her years of service, awarding her the Gretta Prince Memorial Garden Club of America Cachepot at its annual meeting in September.

This award was established in 1993 by Happy Marsh in honor of her mother, and is given annually to a member recognizing significant contributions to the club.

Hail is stepping down from her position, history and archives committee chair, with the club and has passed the baton to Annie Smith, who will continue the club's tradition of dedicated attention to its history.

The club's motto, labor not for themselves alone, has been defined by Hail over the years, whose reports and care of the archives have informed the club's history, a news release said.

The members of the Adirondack Garden Club are honored to present this award to Hail with deep gratitude for all she has done through the years.

For many of the 17 years Hail has been a loyal and active member of the club, she served as the history and archives committee chair.

In a club that was founded in 1928, the sheer volume of documents and artifacts collected over those years, combined with the commitment to accurately preserve club records, made Hail's job no small task.

"I think my most impressive find in our archival history was that our Club has had conservation and preservation issues at the heart of its agendas from the very beginning," she said.

"Although it followed many national garden clubs of the first half of the 20th century in providing classes on flower arranging and participating in garden design competitions among club members, the Adirondack Garden Club also concentrated on public service goals such as rewarding gas stations for beautifying their highway rest stops with shrubbery and flowers.

"Later on we spearheaded the attempt to bring awareness of the importance of protecting the natural flora of the Adirondacks by circulating seeds for a native seed bank, and reaching out to nurseries to increase their stock of native plants for sale and helping them and other groups, including schools, become more knowledgeable about what was adventive and what was native and what was invasive, and why it mattered, and about how to recognize and report infestations of wood boring insects on certain Adirondack trees."

A publication, "River Notes,' was written about native plants found along waterways.

"A few years ago our interest in conservation was rewarded by the GCA whose National Conservation Committee meeting was held here, hosted by our then president Nancy Howard," Hail said.

"This ongoing active role in educating ourselves and the public about significant environmental issues can make us all proud of our Club's unique history."

Under Hail's leadership, the Adirondack Garden Club's extensive collections, currently housed in the Hand House in Elizabethtown, are in impeccable order.

It's a calling that came naturally to Hail, who retired in June 2002 from her position as deputy director and curator and subsequently curator emerita of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University.

She trained in history and anthropology at Brown, Cornell, and Columbia universities, with particular research interests including North American material culture, ethnology and ethnohistory.

And if that is not enough, she also found time to study French and Latin, author two books, and raise seven children.

Founded in 1928, the Adirondack Garden Club's mission is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to aid in the protection of native plants and birds, and to encourage civic planting, and the conservation of our natural resources.

The club's purpose "is the conservation of the plants, shrubs and trees native to the Adirondack region, and the making of both wild and cultivated gardens characteristic of the environment in which they are placed, the furthering of the cultivation of gardens throughout the Adirondack area, and the promotion of civic conservation and beautification."

More information is available on the club's website:

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