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01/07/2014

Mike Duddy, tree warden and 10-year veteran of the Conservation Commission, presented with Ralph Gould Citizenship Award

Click to view video of Ralph Gould Award presentation to Mike Duddy.

Mike Duddy, town tree warden and 10-year member of the Conservation Commission, is the 2013 recipient of the Ralph Gould Award for Outstanding Citizenship.

Jessica Sullivan, Town Council chair, presented the award to Duddy at the Jan. 6, 2014 council meeting.

Soon after moving to Cape Elizabeth in 1999, Duddy joined the Conservation Commission, where from 2000 to 2010 he was a "hands-on" participant in efforts to expand and improve the town's greenbelt trails, Sullivan said. In addition to serving as chairman and helping draft the 2001 greenbelt plan, which focused on improving public access to open space through trail development, Duddy:

  • Helped draft the Gull Crest and Winnick Woods management plans, including working with the Department of Environmental Protection for permitting.
  • Helped design and build the boat racks, as well as boardwalks, bridges and trails at Great Pond, where he also worked with the Sprague family to clarify and define the easements providing public access to Great Pond from Fenway Road.
  • Helped design and build the trails at Winnick Woods, the Gull Crest connector at Fowler Road, and the wooden pedestrian bridge linking the Stonegate system to Fort Williams. He helped design and build the initial bridges and boardwalks for the Highland trail, and for the greenbelt system at Cross Hill.
  • Has led dozens of volunteer crews over the years with all of these efforts

Duddy, however, said he was accepting the award not as an individual, but on behalf of the commission. "It's been a fantastic group of volunteers," Duddy said of his fellow commissioners, some of whom were in the audience. "I remember when I first joined it well over a decade ago, Jack Roberts was then on it and very active and I remember thinking, 'man, I want to be just like him when I grow up' ". Roberts' knowledge of the town's trails and open space was an inspiration, Duddy said, and he hoped he had become an inspiration to others as time went on.

Duddy has also been an inspiration to Cape Elizabeth youth, coaching youth basketball, youth football and Little League for nine years. At St. Bartholomew Church, Duddy taught various youth liturgy and ministry programs for 10 years.

"Cape's a really special place to live, It's a privilege to live here," Duddy said. "I think it has been a great privilege to serve as part of a continuum of volunteers over the years who have worked within this, large practical working consensus about how to be good stewards of our natural resources here in Cape," he said.

"It's been a real joy to work in the middle of that for now these 15 years, and the town has a lot to be proud of. So on behalf of all of the folks who have done good work, I am honored to accept this award," Duddy said.

His experience with the town's conservation efforts led to his present position as tree warden, where he responds to countless calls regarding trees in public easements and on town land, Sullivan said. He answers numerous questions from residents about tree diseases, hazard tress, tree selection, care and planting. He also directs tree resource maintenance on school and municipal grounds, including Fort Williams Park.

Duddy is the 25th recipient of the Gould Award, established in 1986 and named for Cape Elizabeth benefactor Ralph Gould to recognize those who make a difference in the community through volunteer service.