Sturdy benches to honor friends and family of Sycamore donors
By Joan ten Hoor
“I like to build stuff,” says Terry Usrey, an Indiana University faculty member specializing in computer design. So when Sycamore Assistant Director John Lawrence put out a call for volunteers to build benches for our naming opportunities, Usrey jumped at the opportunity. “I thought I had the skills to do that.”
A Hoosier native born in Indianapolis, Usrey holds degrees from Purdue and IU in math and computer science. He and his family have lived in Greene County and in Bloomington. In the 90s, they moved to 10 acres of private land within the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. He is active with the Center for Sustainable Living and with SIREN (Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network).
Usrey’s involvement with Sycamore began several years ago when he worked with a School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) intern who was designing a database to track Sycamore membership. That need filled, he began to volunteer for trail maintenance and cleanup. He was inspired to build memorial benches because a bench honoring his late brother Jeff stands in Caribou Ranch Park in Boulder County, Colorado. Before he died, Jeff had been a volunteer naturalist for Boulder County Open Space.
While thinking about what kind of bench to build for Sycamore, Usrey came upon a wooden bench he liked when visiting the Cumberland River area in Nashville, Tennessee. Its appeal was the simple design with almost no waste, and it’s easy to take apart and put back together for moving. Usrey says of the completed inaugural bench, “It does not require digging holes, which can be a real hassle in the forest, but can be anchored to the ground with rebar if need be. It is quite sturdy, six feet long, and should hold up for years and years.” A memorial plaque can be mounted on the back.
Asked why he volunteered for this job, Usrey said, “I like to encourage people to experience nature. It’s important to get back in touch with the natural world.”
Benches are available for a $10,000 Naming Opportunities donation. For more information, visit our Leadership Society page click on the “Naming Opportunities” bald eagle picture, or contact Development Director, Sheryl Woodhouse Keese at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-336-5382 x104.
Enjoy more articles from the Spring/Summer 2015 Twig newsletter here.