It is with profound sadness and shock that we report the passing of our dear friend and longtime colleague, Laura Carey, on March 8, 2020. Laura passed peacefully, surrounded by her longtime partner, Deb Whitman, and several friends. She had developed peritoneal cancer which went undiagnosed for several weeks, and which progressed rapidly, claiming her a month shy of her 62nd birthday.
Laura was an integral member of the Rogers Environmental Education Center staff team from 1979 until 2010. As such she was the longest tenured member of the Rogers staff. She assumed many roles at Rogers Center as she gained confidence in her abilities as an educator, ultimately rising to the position of statewide Project WILD teacher workshop coordinator.
Laura was a wonderful co-worker, always happy to assist with others’ assignments. She exhibited a perfect balance of informal professionalism, often showing her great sense of humor while attaining the highest standard in her work. Examples include her love of “The Scat Rap” song which extolled the virtues of animal droppings, and countless performances of the title role in Rogers staff presentations of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
The Rogers staff worked so well together as a team, largely due to Laura’s gentle diplomatic guidance which pervaded her life and rubbed off on all the rest of us both professionally and personally. She was always willing to listen and counsel, again both professionally and personally, always looking for the good in people and situations. She performed several weddings for fellow staff and friends.
Laura’s personality shone through every aspect of her life. Spiritual, passionate, optimistic and enthusiastic only seem to scratch the surface. She had an appreciation and zest for life, leading to a form of magnetism by which all people were naturally drawn to her, knowing they would be warmly received as a friend.
Laura had the utmost respect for nature and was a dedicated student throughout her life, recently using a trail camera to capture images of animals visiting her property. Her concern for the environment led her to personal habits including car pooling, unplugging electronics, and eagerly taking on assignments teaching children and teachers about saving energy and protecting the environment.
Quiet accomplishments punctuated Laura’s life. She was an active member of the New York State Outdoor Education Association, co-chairing annual conferences, serving on conference committees, and receiving the association’s prestigious Leadership Award in 1995. She received the National Project WILD State Coordinator of the Year Award in 2007. She received a Chenango Land Trust Land Steward Award, was a good birder and claimed a section of the Sherburne Christmas Bird Count which she surveyed almost every year for 25 years.
Laura’s passing will leave a void in the lives of all who knew her well. She was a great friend, a great co-worker and a great advocate for the environment. We hope you can make it to Laura’s memorial service which will be held at a later date as we all need lots of hugs. Donations in Laura’s honor may be made to: TreeSisters, the organization that promotes and funds tree planting projects in tropical forest areas. Link to their website: https://treesisters.org/give