All Thanks to Mary! Pictorial & Tributes to a Phenomenal State Urban Forestry Coordinator

Mary Kramarchyk at the 2014 Releaf Conference at Hofstra University.

Our longtime, beloved DEC statewide coordinator Mary Kramarchyk has moved on to a position with the Diocese of Albany. A call for tributes to Mary was put out via various media; if you sent one and don’t see it here, or would like to add yours belatedly, please write Council Editor Michelle Sutton at editor@nysufc.org.

Oh, Mary, I am so sad to lose you and your bright spirit! We owe so much to you in helping to build the urban forestry program here in NY!

In a similar vein to the experiences of other Council Board members, I came to a ReLeaf workshop in Westchester, not knowing a soul, and met you, Brenda Cagle, and Nancy Guski. You were all so much fun, and encouraged me to attend the annual conference in Canandaigua. That was ten years ago, and I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people over the years—all thanks to your outreach at that event. Thank you so much for welcoming me into the group!

And now you are off on a new adventure. The Diocese of Albany is very lucky to have you. I wish you nothing but the best in this new position. We will miss you. —Karen Emmerich 

Mary with Nancy Wolf and Chris Mercurio at 2013 ReLeaf Conference in Utica-Rome.

This is very sad news that the heart and soul of the program will not be a part of one of the better UF programs in the country due to your devotion and enthusiasm. Mary, you will be sorely missed … our successes and visions are a result of all you did in support of the Council. While you have trained others well to follow in your footsteps, it just won’t be the same without your vibrant, smiling face as part of the crowd.

Good luck in your new adventure … will keep you in my prayers. The Council will continue to strive and succeed because of all you have done. We love you and will miss you. Our communities’ trees thank you, and it’s because of you and your determination and love of trees that many of them have been planted and cared for. Thank you, Mary. —Brian Skinner

Mary with her predecessor, Peter Frank.

I was “in the room where it happened” in 1991 when the proposed structure for the new federal urban forestry program was devised. What was then called the new statewide “volunteer coordinator” position evolved from the grassroots momentum of the tree-oriented non-profits. It was crucial, we felt, that the new statewide programs be closely linked to local groups and individuals who loved trees and would work to put together a broad program that involved as many people as possible. The key to this was having a volunteer coordinator in each state.

To its credit, New York State followed this advice and thus our successful urban forestry program, viewed as one of the best in the nation, was born. I was privileged to be the first volunteer coordinator, under a special contract. The decision to move the position to DEC, a few years later, was a good one for the long-term success of the State’s urban forestry program.

Then what happened? Mary! Peter Frank, then the statewide urban forestry coordinator, held out for quite a while to hire the right person—someone who knew how to work with communities and people and put it all together. Mary was perfect for the task and “the rest is history.” We will all miss her! —Nancy Wolf

Mary receiving the NYS Arborists’ Gold Leaf Award in 2004 for her service to the industry.

Hi Mary—I am very sorry to hear you are leaving! You have done a tremendous job with the NY State UCF program—it is one of the best programs in the Northeast Area. Your skills in coordination, motivating partners and volunteers, working with decision makers, marketing, etc. will be very hard to fill. The many comments you have gotten from Council members and partners is a testament to this. You have also become a leader within the Northeast Area 20-State Group and set a good example for other State Coordinators just starting out. You have much to be proud of!

I know for all of us there eventually comes a time to move on to something new and challenging and different. I hope this new opportunity works well for you. I have really enjoyed working with you and will miss your enthusiasm, energy, and creativity. —John Parry

With Onondaga Earth Corps & Trees New York folks at 2017 ReLeaf Conference in Queens.

Mary was reliably a source for good in all of her efforts for and with the Council. It has been a great pleasure working with her over these many years, and she will always have a home in Region 8. The Diocese has clearly hit a home run with its new hire. I will miss her. —Gary Raffel

Dear Mary,
Thank you for all your support and encouragement to help make Pound Ridge a Tree City and celebrate its first Arbor Day. Then you helped us participate in Energy Saving Trees! People in the town are still buzzing about that wonderful event. I hope it gives you a lot of satisfaction to think about those trees growing over the years.
Best wishes to you!
Carrie Sears

2007 Arbor Day Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion.

Our very best wishes to Mary! Her professionalism and enthusiastic dedication has always sustained the “Yes, we can” spirit in our volunteers. Thank you Mary for guiding our fledgling Newburgh Shade Tree Commission through its very first Arbor Day. State conferences, Region 3 ReLeaf workshops, Arbor Day poster jurying … you’ve made “urban forestry” part of the vernacular here in the City of Newburgh. We’ll miss you, and the Diocese of Albany is fortunate to gain you! —C. Kippy Boyle

With Andy Pleninger at 2008 Ithaca Conference.

Thank you for the friendship and all the enthusiasm and support for the mission. Congratulations on your new career venture! —Phil Healey

We could all say so much about you. The statewide urban forestry program has you to thank for its longevity, vitality, and sustainability, not to mention its fun spirit and loads of energy! May your new venture be rewarding and exciting (I can’t imagine you without a little excitement!) —Brenda Cagle

In 2012 with former DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, awarding the fifth grade poster winner, Hershini Paray, from Queens.

This is sad for us and for the whole urban forestry community—a heartache for every person you’ve touched in your career with your dynamism, dedication, and warmth. However, I am of course happy for you to have a new opportunity, and boy, are they lucky to have you! All my best wishes. —Michelle Sutton

When I first started my position at the Town of Babylon, I was given the duty of managing the Town’s street tree planting program. At the time, I had no great interest in or knowledge of urban forestry. I was invited to a ReLeaf meeting, where your enthusiasm and passion changed my outlook on trees and urban forestry. You gave me the opportunity to meet other professionals and build my knowledge and skills so that I could better serve my community. Thanks for all of your hard work, Mary, and best of luck to you! —Vincent Biondo

Mary at 2016 ReLeaf at Skidmore, with Garrett Koplun, Susan Maney, Sally Kellogg, Jim Kisker, and Danielle Gift. Photo by Suzie Alvey

Congratulations, Mary! Have a wonderful, interesting, productive, funny, and happily surprising next chapter! —Maryann Carrigan

When I first came to work for the NYSUFC, I didn’t know much about urban forestry, having worked primarily with private forest landowners. I thought I would start with the definition of urban forestry, and this is what I found: “Urban forestry is the careful care and management of urban forests—i.e., tree populations in urban settings for the purpose of improving the urban environment. See also, Mary Beck (Kramarchyk).” I will miss your guidance, knowledge and enthusiasm. Wishing you nothing but the best in your next adventure! —Liana Gooding

Mary with Governor George Pataki and former DEC Commissioner Erin Crotty.

Mary and I go back a ways to when we both worked for a New York State Senator. She was absolutely and without a doubt dedicated to service to our communities (is it any surprise she took another job in service to the Albany Diocese?). In her work with the DEC and NYSUFC, I routinely called her a “Johnny Appleseed of urban forestry.”

While I know her work was throughout New York State, Mary understood the upstate NY culture particularly well, and that led to her success in implementing programs throughout the State. She is warm, friendly, patient, open, and supportive. I always felt her love of mission and people in her presence. —Eric J. Greenfield, PhD

Mary at the 2017 ReLeaf Conference Women’s Summit at Queen’s College.

Mary, you have been the enthusiastic heart of the NYSUFC for a long time. It’s hard to imagine it without you at the helm. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors and hope to see you at the annual conference next summer. —Nina Bassuk

Speaking at the 2013 Arbor Day Ceremony in Albany.

Mary has been the heart and soul of the NYSUFC for so long that it is hard to imagine the council without her leadership and spirit. Mary has been a tremendous force for urban forestry, and her kindness, sense of humor, and professionalism will be sorely missed. Mary, I wish you much happiness and success in your new adventure, and I look forward to our continued friendship. Love and best wishes. —Sharon DiLorenzo

Dear Mary, Thanks so much for your help and support through the years, but especially your friendship. It’s been such a rewarding experience to work with you. You created a “family atmosphere” at the Council that permeated our work in our local communities. Best wishes to you as you leave and take on new challenges. —Tim Chick

With Stephanie Radin and Marty Mullarkey

I have known and worked with Mary for almost 15 years. We first met on a cold day in January 2004 at Marist College in Poughkeepsie for a planning meeting for that summer’s ReLeaf Conference. I remember chatting as we were walking up the long, round staircase in the student union, and that was the beginning of our deep friendship and collaborations as colleagues!

Suffice it to say we joined forces to plan and implement many urban forestry educational programs and events. I served on the Council Board and Executive Committee with Mary and saw first-hand her leadership abilities and meticulous professionalism. Under Mary’s leadership the urban forestry program and its volunteer efforts have grown by leaps and bounds!

I wish Mary well and am so happy she has the opportunity to utilize all of her exemplary leadership skills. The Diocese of Albany’s gain is NYSDEC’s loss. Go get ‘em, Mary!
—Stephanie Radin

Tree planting with Mary, Jim Kisker (back left), Trees for Tribs Coordinator Mary Hegarty (far right),  and other tree enthusiasts from the Big Flats area of Chemung County.

Mary, your leadership has been key to the great success of the NYSUFC and NY ReLeaf. Now you can be a voting member instead of ex-officio on the Board! All my very best. —Andy Hillman

Dear Mary,
New York State is a much better place for Judy and me and our children and grandchildren because of you and the many people you inspired with your enthusiasm, energy and vision. You brought together people from different walks of life—Citizen Pruners, activists, politicians, municipal workers, private businesses, DEC, EPA, and of course, utilities—to focus on our common goal of serving the people.

I will recall a word often used in these notes to you: Love. Thank you for the love you have given us and in return, be assured that my family and that of so many others return this gift of love to you and yours. —Marty Mullarkey

Recognizing Tree Line USA PSEG-Long Island for their longstanding commitment to a healthy urban forest.

It has been just under a decade that I have been involved with the Council and the DEC Urban Forestry Program, and I only wish that I had gotten to know Mary Kramarchyk better. She consistently had a smiling face at every event and meeting that I attended. She was positive, forward-thinking, and extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of urban forestry happenings. Whether it be best practices for grant writing, conference organization, or topics of state government, Mary had the needed information and shared it freely. I cannot imagine another person in the coordinator role. Thank you, Mary! —Berna Ticonchuk

With dear friend and longtime Council stalwart Marty Mullarkey in NYC.

I have greatly benefited professionally and personally from the wonderful public service that Mary Kramarchyk provided from NYSDEC. As the City of Albany Forester, I had the envious ability to just stop in the office when we needed some assistance, and Mary was always happy to oblige. The City was able to take advantage of grant funds to create an urban tree nursery, execute a street tree inventory and master plan, complete tree planting projects, and complete tree maintenance work through the hard work of Mary and the urban forestry unit at DEC.

Mary’s cheerful, welcoming attitude and support made it possible for our program as well as those around the State to do more. Congratulations and thanks to Mary, and all the best in her new endeavor. —Tom Pfeiffer

Mary at 2018 Rochester ReLeaf Board Meeting. We will miss you, Mary!

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