The Rev. Carol Haag is giving her friends a nudge, a prod, an invitation.
Instead of receiving gifts for her birthday, the “semi-retired” Unitarian Universalist minister is celebrating her 80th birthday by asking about 150 friends to join her and collectively perform 80 hours of service for worthy causes in the region.
“I hope this will be an in inspiration for people,” she said. “I went through my address book and emailed everyone and wrote to all of my out-of-town relatives.”
The Watershed Institute is one of her suggested nonprofit organizations along with HomeFront, Isles, Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center, and the Bayard Ruston Center for Social Justice. She also gave her friends the latitude to select their own worthy action, such as visiting a homebound friend or writing to a lawmaker about a social or environmental issue.
Princeton residents Carol and her husband, Carl, 91, who are decades-long Watershed members, swung by in advance of her birthday today.
Donning gloves, they selected some loppers and a hand saw before they ventured off to a trail on the edge of Wargo Pond. This overgrown trail is used extensively by children in the Watershed Nature Camp, hikers, bird watchers and others.
The couple chopped off thorny brambles and trailing vines before tossing them into the woods. They also picked up sticks and removed other tripping hazards from the trail.
Carol and Carl said they’ve taken some of the Watershed’s adult environmental education programs and, over the years, have enjoyed walking on the trails on the 950-acre Watershed Reserve.
Carol said she hopes people will come with their stories of service and, hopefully, photos to share at a July 13 birthday party at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton.
She said, “I hope the evening will be about telling people what they’ve done, what it was like, what it meant – as well as their joys – at the party.”