Page 50 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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virtually. Fondon doesn’t like the word ‘conference’ to describe it, though, preferring ‘forum’ instead.
“We have a conversation, and sometimes there are breakouts that we do,” she said, adding that the setting has changed through the years — it has been staged at Bay Path, CityStage, and the Springfield Museums, for example — but the mission remains the same: to engage, educate, and inspire. “This year, we’re going to look at where we are and
always do,” he added. “The world is ever-changing, and there are
so many great people who do so many great things that can help someone with Parkinson’s disease.”
With that in mind, the next goal is a larger, standalone building that offers not just a big exercise room, but plenty of rooms for other services, from education to support groups to social work. In short, Moir wants to take what he’s learned in the past six years and build a truly one-stop destination for people with Parkinson’s disease to access the resources they need.
Some things he’s learned have been unexpected — like mastering Zoom.
“I helped so many people navigate Zoom, many
of them older people,” he said. “I figure, if this doesn’t work out, I can go to Zoom and work for their technical support. I’ve got that down.”
Fortunately for so many, his day job seems to be working out just fine, despite the recent challenges. And he’s grateful his members have a place where they can come and, well, just be themselves.
“It pains me to hear someone stopped talking to their friends because ‘I don’t want them to pity me.’ Or, ‘we used to go out to dinner every Thursday, but I stopped going because I shake too much and don’t
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maintenance of trails; from invasive- plant-management plans to what are known as municipal vulnerability- preparedness plans that address climate change and the dangers it presents to communities.
And, as Westover noted, teamwork is the watchword for this company.
“One of the things that attracted
me to Conservation Works is that all
of the professionals have very unique skills, and we all complement one another,” said Elizabeth Wroblicka,
a lawyer and former director of
Wildlife Lands for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
“Land conservation is multi-faceted, from the acquisition to the long-term ownership to the stewardship, and with the wildlife biologists we have, the trail constructors, boundary markings ... I do the contracts, but we all have a piece that we excel in.”
Chris Curtis, who came to Conservation Works after a lengthy career with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission as chief planner and
now focuses extensively on climate- change issues, agreed. He noted that, in addition to land preservation, trail-
to do.”
Hear and Now
Returning to that nomination of Fondon, Fisk wrote that “she listens, she encourages, she shares ideas, she shares remarkable, unstoppable energy. Most important, she cares, deeply cares, and she hopes, and then she takes action.”
And, above all, she connects. Indeed, all her life, Fondon has been doing what she was encouraged to do while in high school and college — find her voice.
where we’re going.”
Looking ahead, and anticipating
what might come next in a career that has taken her to different parts of the country and a host of different career opportunities, Fondon said she intends to keep doing what’s she always done — and maybe find even more ways to do it.
“There’s so much work yet be done,” she explained. “As long as we can keep sharing information that helps us make better decisions and get to a better place, there is room for all that I have
And not only find it, but use it.
She’s used it to educate and empower
people. And with this knowledge and power, others can hopefully do what she has long been doing acting as a Difference Maker in the community and, in truth, everywhere one’s voice can be heard. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
Smaller classes, physical distancing, physical barriers, and constant sanitization have been hallmarks of life at DopaFit during the past few months.
people’s lives, as he continues to honor the legacy of one great teacher.
“Knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life, just a little bit of difference, means the world to me,” he said. “It’s the fuel that keeps me going through the day. And that we’ve been able to figure out how to do it on a bigger scale is just very exciting.” u
Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]
Such efforts to address climate change are an example of how the group’s mission continues to expand and evolve, and how Westover’s broad impact on this region, its open spaces, and its endangered spaces grows ever deeper.
Seeing the Forest
for the Trees
Reflecting back on that trip to Rocky, Westover said that, in many ways, it changed not only his perspective, but his life.
It helped convince him that he not only wanted to work outdoors, but wanted to protect the outdoors and create spaces that could be enjoyed by this generation and those to come. As noted, he’s both changed the landscape and helped ensure that it won’t be changed.
He’s not comfortable with being called a legend, but Difference Maker works, and it certainly fits someone whose footprints can be seen all across the region — literally and figuratively. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
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we will
 want people looking at me.’
“But after spending time here with other people
with Parkinson’s disease, they come back and say, ‘you know what? I felt confident to go out and have dinner with my friends, and I felt better than I’ve felt in 10 years,’” he said. “So the exercise is a beneficial part of this; it can physically make someone better. But being able to feel better and be more confident gives them so much empowerment in other ways.”
That’s yet another difference Moir wants to make in
   Conservation Works helped design a one-mile river-to-range trail on land owned by Mount Holyoke College and the town of South Hadley. Seen here are partners Chris Curtis, left, and Dick O’Brien, right, with Larry Tucker of Belchertown and Anne Capra, South Hadley Conservation administrator.
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building and improvement, and other initiatives, the group is doing more work in the emerging realm of climate resiliency — out of necessity.
“We’ve been working with the town of Deerfield for four years,” he said, citing just one example of this work. “We’ve helped it win grants for more
than $1.2 million worth of work that includes a municipal vulnerability- preparedness plan, flood-evacuation plans, a land-conservation plan for the Deerfield River floodplain area, and education programs, including
a townwide climate forum that was attended by 200 to 300 people.”

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