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SUBMITTED by Kate Chamberlin (13-Mar-2010)

Do you remember the names of your teachers from high school…from grade school? Does the name of Miss De Leeuw ring a bell? How about Mrs. Maine?

When Leonora (DeLeeuw) Maine was a girl, her father farmed their 40-acres in Lyons, NY by himself. Well, that is, by himself with the help of Lenora, her younger brother, and older step-sister. The children were required to hoe the potato plot, cabbage patch, and corn field. Perhaps this is how a love of the land became instilled in her heart.

Leonora attended the one-room school house, founded in 1831, in Lyons for her eight years of education, before she went off to Geneseo to earn her Teaching Certificate. She then returned to teach in the school of her childhood.

“When that school’s attendance got to five students, the District closed the school.” Maine said. “I taught for a few years in another rural school near Clifton Springs, where there were 33 students. Eventually, I taught 5th Grade in the Victor Elementary School. I retired in 1978.”

Miss DeLeeuw married James L. Maine on December 27, 1943 in San Diego, CA.

One of their favorite places to take there family was their camp at Raquette Lake. Jim was an avid sportsman, enjoying the many times he hunted and fished. Leonora’s initial grounding in the soil of her father’s farm and the natural setting of the little school house, must have influenced her love of the small wild flowers surrounding their camp.

“The first week in May, 2007, we went to our camp to open it up,” Leonora said. “It was beautiful there and as we drove home, Jim said we’re going to hire someone to mow our grass and weed the garden at home, so we can spend all summer at the camp.”

Ironically, it was not to be. Jim (B. October 1, 1922; Fairport, NY; son of Lester and Beth Steiger Maine;-- D. August 29, 2007) was diagnosed with brain cancer and died before he could go back to his beloved camp.

The beautiful and impressive Adirondack Mountain Region hosts numerous unique flora left by the receding glaciers. A pocket of those same plants are also found in the acid bog and drumlin woods near Lyons, NY and Leonora’s one-room school house.

The one-room school house is now the home of Mark De Cracker and his family. A relative, who was doing genealogy research, put Lenora and Mark in touch. It was only natural that the two naturalists should take a wild flower walk together. The “walking interview” has been preserved on dvd and incorporated into a children’s story(1).

In “Green Trillium”, Kate Chamberlin weaves a tale of how the lure and lore of the wildflowers, bog, and drumlin woods capture 9-year old Paul’s heart transforming him from a rather negative little boy into a young fellow with a purpose. The mishaps, hikes and adventures Paul has with his 12-year old sister Sarah and Grandma Grace with her guide dog, during four seasons, will enthrall young readers as well as parents and grandparents who read “Green Trillium” to their children. This story can be enjoyed for itself, but it can also be an excellent springboard to discussions about conservation, disabilities, family values and so many other topics. Discussion guidelines and activities can be found on www.katechamberlin.com.

Illustrator Mia Surakka’s stylized wildflowers, little critters, and artful presentations bring visual vitality to “Green Trillium”. A native of Finland, Mia’s own love of hiking, nature, and little critters is evident in her colorful illustrations and attention to details. Take “Green Trillium” along on your wildflower walk and be amazed at how many wildflowers you can identify from the story.

Green Trillium” is dedicated to Mark L. De Cracker, who grew up exploring and learning from the acid bog and drumlin woods near his grandmother Wadsworth’s property in Wolcott, Wayne County, NY.

“Every year society spends more and more time trapped inside playing video games or watching the latest reality shows,” De Cracker stated on April 6, 2009.

“As Henry David Thoreau said it best in 1856: "man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest."
It has always been these simple pleasures of nature that have meant the most to me. Whether watching the sunset on a mountain lake or walking in woods in the spring looking at the beautiful wildflowers at my feet.
It is nature that gives me my inspiration. The values of introducing our children to nature at an early age will pay dividends forever. Appreciating the beauty we are surrounded by will only help us appreciate everyone around us and grow as a civilization.
In all my years of hiking, I have never heard anybody expressing anger while on the trail. Oh we might complain how cold it was or the rain pleating down on our face, but we never forget those times. But the times we truly never will forget are those times a child discovers that special wildflower or the setting sun.”
“Green Trillium
” is also dedicated to Leonora (DeLeeuw) Maine (although, unfortunately, her name is misspelled in the book).

When asked what advice she has for young people, she didn’t hesitate to succinctly say: “Turn off the TV and computer. Take a walk and see all the beauty that is around you.”

Thank you, Leonora (DeLeeuw) Maine, for making such a positive difference in so many lives.


NOTE: Interview with Leonora (DeLeeuw) Maine by Kate Chamberlin: March 5, 2010.

(1) “GREEN TRILLIUM” by Kate Chamberlin and illustrated by Mia Surakka is available from: www.trafford.com/bookstore. 1-888-232-4444, Soft cover: ISBN978-1-4269-0875-0

A portion of the royalties will be donated to Trail Works, Inc. of Wayne County.


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