Tish Johnson of ALF’s Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse was honored with a ALF Len Hadley Volunteer Award during the American Lighthouse Foundation’s annual Lighthouse Gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, on April 28, 2019
Tish Johnson is a member of the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse’s (FOWIL) elite team of intrepid “Woodchucks”, a group of volunteers who journey to the island every Tuesday morning to mow the lawn, clean up the lighthouse and maintain the site for the arrival and enjoyment of our tour guests.
As a class, these volunteers are a hardy lot, not afraid to labor in the hot sun or get their hands dirty. After working in the gardens for a couple of years, Tish decided more was needed. As a Master Gardener, she had a vision for improvement. Some shrubs would vary the scale of the plantings. Carefully-selected native plants and flowers would bloom longer during the heat of the summer. And a more pleasing layout design would give the lighthouse exterior a more dramatic appearance.
And so, she went to work. Tish made a successful pitch to the Saco Valley Garden Club for a $225 grant. Then she went to greenhouses and garden shops to spend her money, but she would routinely explain her mission and hit them up for donations of plants, etc. She was persuasive and parlayed the grant into a supply of plants worth multiples of the original amount. Then, she and her troops excavated, planted, watered and created a dramatic profusion of colors and shapes that have livened up the grounds and the lighthouse proper. The process is ongoing and Tish will be fine-tuning her creation in the months ahead.
For her initiative in procuring the plants and designing the display, and her leadership in recruiting and inspiring fellow volunteers to get the planting done, FOWIL is proud to honor her with the ALF Len Hadley Volunteer Award for 2019.