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Horizon Award Presented to Margaret Gillespie, Naturalist at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Annual Meeting

Holderness, NH—Squam Lakes Natural Science Center held its Annual Meeting for Members virtually on Saturday, August 21. Executive Director Iain MacLeod presented the Horizon Award to Margaret Gillespie, Naturalist.

The Board of Trustees established the Horizon Award in 1995 to honor exceptional and extended service to the Science Center. Volunteers, staff, and trustees have been recognized since then for their leadership, vision, passion, and commitment to the organization and its mission.

Margaret Gillespie’s connection to the Science Center began in 1986 when she joined the staff as a naturalist. She was also coordinator for Project Learning Tree at the same time for the next 11 years. Throughout her 35 years at the Science Center, Margaret has inspired countless thousands of students and families while sharing her passion for the natural world through engaging and innovative educational experiences. She also reached a larger audience through her writing. Margaret has written the natural history column for the Tracks & Trails member newsletter for over thirty years. Many of Margaret’s columns were compiled, along with exceptional photography of the natural world, to create the book Nearer to Nature, published in 2016 to coincide with the Science Center’s 50th anniversary. It is with much appreciation that the Horizon Award was presented to Margaret Gillespie.

Board Chair Justin Van Etten began his remarks for the Annual Meeting with a remembrance of trustee Tom Cowie. Tom passed away in early 2021 and is greatly missed and fondly remembered. Tom served as board Secretary, was a member of the Finance Committee, and chaired the Human Resources committee. His guidance and expertise were instrumental in the successful sale of the Holderness Inn in 2018.

Other business that took place at the Annual Meeting included honoring retiring trustee Tony Wagner, Ed.D. Wagner served on the board for nine years. He was chair of the Education Committee and served on the strategic planning committee and the Education Matters Capital Campaign cabinet.

Officers elected to serve one-year terms are Justin Van Etten, Chair; Sarah Brown, Vice Chair; Anne R. Lovett, Treasurer; Susan Lynch, Secretary. Trustees re-elected for a three-year term are Justin Van Etten, Susan Lynch, and Martha Grant. New trustees nominated to serve a three-year term are Cathy Denious, Diane Garfield, Barbara Nan Grossman, and David Murphy. Full biographies of new trustees are available at

Employees recognized for service milestones included Aubrey Voelker, Animal Care Training Coordinator (5 years); Amanda Gillen, Marketing Manager (10 years); Jeremy Phillips, Naturalist (10 years); Dennis Capodestria, Exhibits Assistant (15 years); Iain MacLeod, Executive Director (15 years); Margaret Gillespie, Naturalist (35 years). Their collective experience makes up 90 years of service to the Science Center.

Executive Director Iain MacLeod and Board Chair Justin Van Etten thanked everyone for all of the support over the past year. The challenges were met when everyone rallied together to keep the Science Center operating to continue to bring people Nearer to Nature for many more years.

The 2020 Annual Report and Financial Statements are available at A full recording of the Annual Meeting is available at or directly at



About Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

The mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world. Through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, guided Squam Lake Cruises, an informal public garden, and Blue Heron School, a nature-based Montessori early learning center, the Science Center has educated and enlightened visitors since 1966 about the importance of our natural world. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located on Route 113 in Holderness, an easy drive from exit 24 off I-93, and public trails are open daily from May 1 through November 1 with programming throughout the year. The Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England. For further information about the Science Center, call 603-968-7194 or visit



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