'Dundalkian' expends energy for conservation

Volunteers/Where good neighbors get together

March 03, 1992|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Staff Writer

Braxton Huntley gives so much volunteer time, he is seldom home.

''And when I am home, I'm usually standing out front on the street talking and listening,'' says the 73-year-old who calls himself a ''Dundalkian,'' having lived in Dundalk for more than 40 years.

At present he is focusing on the first statewide Senior Conservation Corps, which Governor William Donald Schaefer kicked off in January.

Gov. Schaefer, he proudly states, ''appointed me as the Baltimore County representative.''

The corps was formed with conservation and seniors in mind, and it offers a myriad of organized, environmentally oriented projects for seniors with all levels of skills.

Volunteers can assemble kits for water quality tests, be hosts at luncheons, recycle within their own homes, plant trees and wild-flowers, help with bay and stream clean-ups, adopt a highway and help keep it litter free, man the information booths in parks and teach children fishing, bird watching and gardening plus much more.

Mr. Huntley, who retired after 41 years in the accounting department at Bethlehem Steel, is a natural as a representative in the senior corps.

Planting and improving areas in Baltimore County, particularly at senior centers, is his plan. As a member of the Dundalk Village Revitalization Committee and one of the founders of the Greening Committee of Dundalk, Mr. Huntley says he knows the need for varied planting.

He talks about the history of his community and what caused the formation of a Greening Committee.

''Dundalk was built in 1919 by the Roland Park Company and nothing but sycamore trees were planted to line the streets. You know, Dundalk is built in the shape of a ship with roads outlining it and circles for port holes. Most streets were named with either a ''dun,'' or ''ship'' such as Dunglow or Courtship. We are now on the National Historic Register.

''But, one problem occurred. All of the sycamores aged and began to die at the same time. So, we formed the Greening Committee, and with many volunteers have planted trees of all varieties. The county, state, donations and our own recycling program which brought in small amounts of money helped,'' he says.

His first corps project is planned for At Ease, a senior center on Holabird Avenue. ''I've asked John Sanders, a teacher at Dundalk Community College who teaches forestry and horticulture, for help and he has agreed to design a planting program for the center,'' he says.

Mr. Huntley gives and gives. Two days each week he goes to the Johns Hopkins Childrens Center, where he greets and helps parents and their children. He has given more than 6,000 volunteer hours there and in 1987 was honored with an Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Last year, he was appointed to the Baltimore County Arts and Science Commission for a four-year term and has been house manager for the Dundalk Concert Association for 21 years.

His volunteering history also includes having been an assistant Boy Scout master and service on the state board for Meals on Wheels. He has been active in local and state politics, on several committees of the Dundalk Methodist Church, and is a member of the Dundalk Rotary Club.

At age 62, he married for the first time. He says he spent his early years caring for his mother and uncle, who were ill. He describes his wife Eleanor as a person who is also active in several clubs and loves to needlepoint and ''puts up with me.''

He says his active life is the reason for his good health.

''I've had a cancer in one eye, a heart problem and clogged arteries, but because I am so active, it makes the medicine I take really work. My friends, who retired and sat in front of the TV, have all died,'' he says.

Barbara Knisely, promotion and events coordinator for the Governor's Chesapeake Bay Office, says that Senior Conservation Corps packets are available to any senior who wants one and each packet has phone numbers, activities and information needed to volunteer.

For a packet, write to the Senior Conservation Corp, Governor's Chesapeake Bay Communications Office, State House, Annapolis, 21401. Or call the office at (410) 974-5300. Or call your local Department of Aging.

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