Some people are born with a deep affinity for the natural world. Sue Fredrick is unquestionably one of them.

With two degrees in science – a bachelor’s in biology from Mount Union College and a master’s in marine biology from the University of Connecticut – Sue’s educational background reflects her passion for the environment.

A Lifelong Connection with Nature

After conducting environmental assessments in the Hudson River, Sue and her husband Steve relocated to Pennsylvania when he secured a job in the area. They have called Westtown home since 1978. Her career eventually led her down a different path; she spent forty years with H&R Block in various managerial and teaching roles. But she always maintained her connection with the aquatic world, particularly marine life, through scuba diving. Sue and Steve have enjoyed diving all over the planet, with the Caribbean and the South Pacific ranking among their favorite spots. Even now, they are planning their next big diving trip.

Discovering Tyler Arboretum

Another way Sue cultivates her love of the natural world is through the time she dedicates to Tyler Arboretum. Upon settling in the area, she and Steve became members, and in 2010, Sue took the leap into volunteering. Her initial assignment was with the Pollinator Preserve (formerly known as the Butterfly House), a perfect fit given her availability during the peak visiting and blooming months of June, July, and August.

After retiring from H&R Block in 2018, Sue enrolled in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program (PMN), which holds its classes at Tyler and attracts many Tyler volunteers and staff. Her capstone project for PMN focused on the pond at Tyler, specifically highlighting the vital role the surface scum and algae played in the complex ecosystem of the pond. She went on to lead pond-specific educational programs for several years until the pond was dredged in 2022.

In 2020, Sue completed docent training, expanding her knowledge of Tyler to encompass its rich historical aspects. As a docent, she easily navigates topics as diverse as the Champion Tree Collection to the Painter family lineage. She especially enjoys leading New Member Tours, as those draw upon all her various buckets of knowledge. She is often asked to lead and/or participate in special events and tours at Tyler, where her skill at tailoring her expertise to fit the needs of a specific group is highly valued.

Alongside fellow Natural Areas volunteer, Bonnie Reese.

Sue Frederick pond tour

Eternal Learner

Sue’s commitment to learning and love of nature never wanes. She regularly participates in Dave Charlton’s North Woods Walk, Dick Cloud’s Wildflower Walk, and often sits in on docent training sessions as well as PMN classes. Additionally, she is always working on mastering the scientific names of plants.

These days, you can find Sue contributing her efforts to the Pollinator Preserve, the Pond, and the Natural Areas Team, spending time with one or more of Tyler’s Education staff (who frequently call upon her), or leading a multitude of tours.

The Heart of Tyler’s Volunteer Community

Tyler simply couldn’t function without its corps of volunteers, and Sue is a shining example among that group. Her passion for the environment and commitment to learning and sharing knowledge are inspiring, reflecting the heart and soul of our volunteer community. We’re not only fortunate to have her but also deeply appreciative of the vital role she, and our volunteers in general, play in advancing Tyler’s mission.

We look forward to many more years of continued partnership with Sue and others who share our dedication to preserving Tyler’s natural beauty and history.