Sue Banchich

Sue_Banchich_phoHOhct7_02202013_optDescribe your work at the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT):
I help publicize upcoming HCT events by entering information into online calendars. It’s not rocket science, but it requires attention to detail, so people won’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

How long have you volunteered?
I’ve been a volunteer for about two years, but my husband, Tom, and I have been members of HCT since it was founded. My late parents, Ralph and Eleanor Hayward, were among the people who organized the Trust, and I like to think that, in some small way, I’m carrying the mission forward.                       

What do you like most about it, memorable moments?
I’m a long-distance volunteer — I live in Buffalo — so I can’t attend the nature walks and other programs. But I’m inspired to read about the HCT volunteers who lead walks, give presentations, and educate the public about the need to preserve wild land in Harwich. The Cape is a fragile ecosystem, and HCT volunteers help open people’s eyes to the fact that it’s a treasure, and every single one of us is responsible for protecting it.

What’s special about Harwich?
Harwich has a rich and colorful history. The town produced some of the nation’s fiercest abolitionists, and it’s also where cranberries were cultivated commercially for the first time. Our family has been connected with Harwich for many generations. My great-great-grandfather, Warren Smith, was a master mariner and also a neighbor and friend of Caleb Chase, who founded Chase & Sanborn Coffee. My great-grandfather, Sylvanus Hayward, was the superintendent of the Harwich schools. So even though I don’t live in Harwich, the family ties remain strong.

What do you when not at HCT?
I’m Senior Medical Writer/Editor for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Most of my writing focuses on advances in cancer research and treatment. Recently we launched a Center for Personalized Medicine, which supports research aimed at developing treatments customized for each patient’s unique genetic profile.

What other town activities or committees are you involved?
I help our son David present educational programs about reptiles and amphibians at local libraries and schools, to help people better understand and appreciate these creatures — especially the snakes, which tend to evoke a lot of fear and hatred. We allow people to touch some of our snakes and observe their behavior up close, something many of them have never had an opportunity to do before. Often they come away surprised and enchanted! Dave has also led walks at a local nature preserve so people can see snakes in their natural habitats.

I also prepare and serve meals at Kevin Guest House, where out-of-town patients and their families can stay when they come to Buffalo for medical care. Our son Andrew is the resident manager of Kevin Guest House, which was the model for the Ronald McDonald houses around the country.

And I write and edit a few publications for the Guru Charitable Foundation, which works to improve the lives of people in Kashmir through education and health care.