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  • Annie Jacobs

Gratitude but not goodbye

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

July 29, 2022

If you've had the chance to relax into a mindful walk at one of our community forests, visit the Hempcrete cabin at Albert Family Community Forest, or enjoy a community program such as Valuing our Forests, you've experienced firsthand a little of what Molly Freiberg has brought to the RPA community since 2019.

(l) Molly pauses for some forest bathing joy, by Bay Habshey; (r) Gathering wild apples for the Wild Apples from the Rensselaer Plateau partnership with Nine Pin Cider, which Molly started as an annual tradition

This past week, Molly had her last day working on staff as Community Engagement Manager--but not at all her last day as part of this conservation community.

Molly is spreading her wings to pursue her work in nature-based therapy and training for other counseling professionals. Great news is that she will continue to lead mindful nature walks and stay involved with RPA.

When Molly joined our staff team--with her background in social work and creative vision for partnerships--we immediately saw a new kind of community conservation in action. We already had our community forest committees and other volunteer projects, but Molly brought something fresh and impactful. She made it possible for groups such as the Nopiates Committee and the Alzheimer's Association of Northeastern New York to benefit from nature's healing qualities, abundant yet not always accessible. She initiated and led organizational change work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Molly also mentored Master of Social Work candidates as RPA interns, including Lisanny Manzueta Custodio and Scott Groffman, allowing these young leaders to infuse their education with nature and conservation.

We are so excited to watch Molly continue along on her career path and follow her passion for learning and service. And while it's tough to see her go, we are lucky because we don't have to say goodbye.

We thank Molly for sharing her vision, energy, and compassion with RPA's board, staff, members, volunteers, and community partners.

You can read more about Molly's work at RPA and how social work and conservation intersect on page 20 of our latest Annual Report.

And you can still find her out on thetrail, doing the work she loves.

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