Badger Bulletin

Reflections on Years of Service

Badger Bulletin

Reflections on Years of Service

At the end of March, Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance bid a fond farewell to two long-tenured Board members. Donna Caruso Hirst and Beth Hagan served on the Board for over a decade with tremendous wisdom, patience, and dedication.

Donna, a self-described worker bee who is most comfortable behind the scenes, reluctantly stepped up two years ago to serve as Board Chair. A gifted logician, she astutely shepherded the organization through a major overhaul of our Bylaws, the institution Board recruitment, and our first-ever strategic planning process, amongst other things, and all during a pandemic that forced GTMA, like many organizations, to rethink business as usual.

For her part, Beth is the Board member every organization like GTMA needs – someone willing to raise her hand and ask questions and someone eager to volunteer for all manner of often unrecognized yet essential tasks that keep things humming.

We are incredibly thankful for both Donna and Beth’s years-long service and we wish them both the best in their next chapter of life. Donna and Beth offered the following brief reflections to our Executive Director Peter Metcalf.

PM: Why did you originally join the Board of Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance?

DCH: My husband and I first supported the work of the organization way back in the 1980s when it got going with its effort to stop the oil and gas leases. (After his death) I became active again when the Forest Service started the travel planning process in the early 2000s. I’m not sure how I officially got on the Board. At first it was like show up and come to this meeting, and that eventually evolved into, because I believe they needed names for some official paperwork, if you’re a warm body than you’re on the board!

BH: I was tricked!  I showed up to learn more about the organization and they voted me in!  After thirteen (plus?? I truly can't remember when I joined!) years I figured it was time to step down so others could be similarly shanghaied.

PM: What is it about the Badger-Two Medicine or other parts of our mission area that is special or meaningful to you?

DCH: I live along Badger Creek. My husband grew up using Badger Creek and the Badger-Two Medicine since his childhood. He and his brothers and sisters would swim and fish in the creek or get on horseback and ride up it and into the mountains for the day. He hunted up there as he got older. After we got married, we always used it as a family for picnicking, for fishing, for hiking, and for camping. It’s always been a very integral part of our family’s life as it was my husband’s life since he was a child. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning. Well second thing actually, I greet the sun in the east and then look up at the mountains to see what’s going on.

BH: Just the pure goal of protecting a pristine, sacred, vital wild area. It’s a “no brainer” to me.

PM: What accomplishments as a Board member are you most proud about?

DCH: I think first the Fall Gathering. Jo Flick and I pulled it together that first year and it expanded the next few years. It’s so exciting to see how well received it was and continues to be. Lots of Board members and volunteers have worked hard over the years to make it the event that it is today.

I’m also particularly proud of the governance work the board has done these past few years. Doing that work has created a really solid foundation. There’s more to do, but some big stuff has been accomplished as far as governance. This work has created a really sound foundation that I know will carry GTMA forward and guide GTMA’s work well into the future. I am confident GTMA will continue to be a vibrant, meaningful and effective voice for the Badger because we have such solid footing. It wasn’t easy work, but I’m really proud of what the board accomplished these past two years.

BH: Selling all my raffle tickets in record time! “Proud” is a tough word for me. I’m happy I’ve been able to help out in varying “duties as assigned” over the years, when my time and energy have allowed.

PM: What excites you about the current work of Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance?

DCH: I feel I’m particularly excited about the outreach work Jordyn is doing. I feel like creating connections, relationships, reaching out to the community, its such important work and its never something we’ve been able to do well because of the size of the working group we’ve had. It will serve us well when we have another opportunity for legislative work for protection of the Badger. It will make a difference for all the work we do in the meantime. I’m really excited about what she’s done so far. Making those connections is so important.

BH: I’m excited to see the organization growing and branching out  (offering hikes, talks, activities, etc.)  and adding wonderful new board members.  I hope it all will serve to bring more folks – especially locals – in as advocates for protection of the Badger-Two Medicine.

PM: What will you miss about serving on the Board?

DCH: I think the thing that I’ll miss most is spending time with such a passionate group of people who all are working toward a common goal. That is an amazing and exciting sort of energy. I think I will miss that the most.

BH: The Board is truly a second family to me, so I’ll miss the regular meetings, for sure. I love how we treat each other with respect and accept each other, “warts and all” as we discuss and navigate conversations and issues that are often challenging.  Listening to the wide variety of viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences of fellow board members (and Peter, as an incredible Executive Director!) has helped me to grow in my knowledge and understanding of not just issues that we’ve dealt with relating to our mission, but what it means to be part of a community.

PM: What do you plan to do in “your retirement?”

DCH: Well, I will certainly find ways to continue to support GTMA’s mission and the work of GTM. But in my less structured life, I will have more time to do things I’m already dabbling in and want to spend more time with: making pottery, learning Italian, gardening and just being outdoors, birding, or taking off somewhere for the day.

BH: Hmmm… that word does not compute. I have always kind of winged it, work- and life-wise, and so far, so good.  I’ll just see what comes along and go from there. (But, in the meantime, I really need to clean out my cupboards…).

Next month we’ll introduce you to our two newest board members. If you’re interested in learning how you can volunteer with the organization or potentially serve on the Board, please contact our Community Engagement Coordinator, Jordyn Steele, at

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