After 10 years of service as district coordinator promoting conservation and farming in the Midcoast area, Hildy Ellis has retired from the Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District (KLSWCD). In this time of pandemic precautions, colleagues and friends are taking to local forums to honor Ellis’s heartfelt labor and energetic advocacy.
Liz Stanley, Horticulture Program Coordinator with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Knox and Lincoln Counties, said in a KLSWCD news release: “Hildy has been a great collaborator with us at Knox-Lincoln Extension, and not just because people get our organizations confused with each other. She’s always been an enthusiastic and passionate person who can’t say ‘no’ when it comes to plants. She’s helped us field hundreds of gardening questions, we’ve tapped into her extensive botanical knowledge for our programs, and she’s given Extension volunteers hands-on experience in civic engagement at KLSWCD’s annual plant sale. Most of all, I’ve gotten to know her as a friend, and I’m richer (and my thumb is greener) for it.”
Sustainable gardening teacher and nursery owner Sharon Turner said: “Hildy’s job required travel throughout Knox and Lincoln counties as she organized and implemented educational programs and events. These activities included bus tours of local farms and woodlot programs, teaching sessions on the importance of native plants and backyard habitats to control toxic runoff into our lakes and streams, and further developing the District’s annual plant sale. Along the way Hildy made many friends for herself and the district.”
In addition, Master Gardener Volunteer Gail Presley said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hildy on the KLSWCD annual plant sale for the last several years. This is an enormous undertaking, yet Hildy knew how to mobilize her dedicated volunteers to make it run smoothly. She brought an abundant diversity of native and food-bearing plants to hundreds of Maine gardeners each year. Her encyclopedic knowledge of the featured plants made her indispensable during the planning phase, and also in advising gardeners on the day of the sale. Her enthusiasm and great humor made for an increasingly successful event, and encouraged even budding gardeners to try something new. My garden, and those of hundreds of others, are more beautiful, diverse and productive due to Hildy’s dedication.”
“Well done, Hildy,” said KLSWCD. “Thank you for your decade of devoted work. Best wishes for your future pursuits, including speaking on conservation work, and tending your own extensive garden.”