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Munificent Musician Gives Back

Elizabeth Bailey receives Make A Difference Award

Armed with two undergraduate and three graduate degrees combined with her dedication to science, religion and the arts, Elizabeth Bailey’s credentials certainly aren’t for the birds. Yet Garden City’s feathered friends have her to thank for her tireless commitment to the Garden City Bird Sanctuary (GCBS). She currently serves as vice president of the organization and she has been the driving force behind many educational and environmental programs.

For her generous efforts, Bailey has just been awarded The Town of Hempstead’s 2013 “Make A Difference Award.” Nominated by the GCBS Director Rob Alvey, founder and director of the GCBS, heralded Bailey as one of the most active and dedicated volunteers and directors of the nonprofit.

“Liz is an accomplished organist and expert in environmental chemistry and air pollution,” added Alvey. “She has my highest respect and she well deserves the recognition of her efforts”

For the past 17 years, the Town of Hempstead has honored individuals for their volunteer efforts and community altruism. Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray opened the recent award ceremony by calling the 12 recipients the unsung heroes of our communities and shared: “This is one of my favorite events of the year, because it celebrates the very best our society has to offer. It’s about goodness, not greed; it champions heroes of humanity instead of icons in the fields of sports or music. Moreover, today is about that which defines our humanity.”

Hundreds of nominations were received for the prestigious awards. Those selected, Murray noted, have quietly carried out acts of selfless generosity for many years. Bailey’s recognition is no surprise to anyone who knows her as she practices the tenets of “giving back” multiple ways. She also serves as a member of the Village of Garden City’s Environmental Advisory Board (EAB).

A graduate of Garden City High School’s class of 1968, Bailey holds five degrees: two undergraduate degrees in chemistry and music and three master’s in computer science, theology and chemistry.

Though she spent her formative years in Garden City, her career path led her to a 30-year career at the Tennessee Valley Authority in Muscle Shoals, AL working on air quality issues. As a retiree, she returned to Garden City and has focused her efforts on the environment by orchestrating environmental programs and outreach tasks at the GCBS and through her work with the village’s EAB.

Bailey shares her unique talents with Long Island children by providing tours to Girl and Boy Scout groups, spearheading the GCBS’s summer Nature Camp, annual Earth Run and college internship program.

“I enjoy interacting with students,” said Bailey. “The sanctuary is a great place to be.”

Her advice to students is not to be afraid of science. Though she conceded the courses are tough, she believes science can be fun.

As a champion of the environment and a member of the EAB, she has parlayed her skills by working on community issues including aircraft noise, water quality, traffic speeding and noise pollution such as home generator use. She has focused her efforts on education by bringing in lecturers on issues such as pesticide use in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County and plans to sponsor additional presentations with organizations such as the Long Island Native Plant Initiative.

Bailey’s volunteer efforts have combined her love for science and the arts. She is also a professional organist and plays for two local churches. An interest in eco-theology, the relationship of religion in nature, is reinforced by her philanthropy. The devout parishioner explains the disciplines as connecting our responsibility to care for God’s creatures while science teaches us how to care for them.