Artistic ability a component of Canavan’s success on the Friends board

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Photo by Shirley Murtha

Sue Canavan and Maisy taking a break on the Holcomb Farm Tree Trail.

Twelve years ago, Sue Canavan moved back to Connecticut where she had grown up in Woodstock. Her husband’s new job at the Travelers brought them both back to the kind of country town they both found so pleasing after stints in New York City and San Francisco. A big yard, a barn and the joys of small-town life made it easy to give up the years spent in metro areas.

Their home is located between McLean Game Refuge and Holcomb Farm, both excellent places for Canavan to walk her Lab mix Maisy. It didn’t take long for her to discover that the Farm had programs that would be great for her two kids, who were soon enrolled in summer camp.

Canavan’s early career work had her doing graphic design of travel books, and communications at an IT consultancy. She was recruited for the Friends of Holcomb Farm board by neighbors who had been or were currently on the board and had knowledge of her creativity, which she put to use designing event posters for the organization. 

Her role eventually grew to her now official title as Head of Cultivation, which, she notes, “seems like I should be out plowing the fields,” but instead refers to her work in promoting membership. She oversees the Annual Appeal and hopefully, post-pandemic, that will include coordinating member events. In the past year, Canavan helped to modify the membership policy so that all CSA shareholders are now automatically Friends of Holcomb Farm members as well.

In addition to the membership work, Canavan runs the Friends’ Instagram account. She happily walks the trails two or three times a week to take photos of the landscape, trees, mushrooms, flowers and animals. Sometimes she mixes up the content with informative posts and sometimes she simply posts attractive photos. (You can follow the account at @friendsofholcombfarm) 

It only seems natural that she would also be a member of the Stewardship Committee, overseeing the maintenance of the woodland trails. Canavan hopes that the increased number of people who have been using the trails in the pandemic will continue to use them and perhaps consider becoming more involved, maybe by becoming CSA members, utilizing the Farm Store or helping out as trail stewards.

The bulk of Canavan’s time, however, and the most rewarding for her, is spent as a member of the Tree Trail—a dedicated crew that is planting an arboretum on the east side of the Farm, now being called the Holcomb Tree Trail. “I’m involved in planning future planting sites, editing and illustrating interpretive signs and mapping.” This year the group is installing eight more of the explanatory signs as well as a trailhead kiosk. Her graphic arts background makes her the perfect person to create a color map of the arboretum and selecting appropriate educational content that will help visitors learn more about the Farm and the trees on the trails.

In addition to her varied roles at the Farm, Canavan is also a member of the Granby Education Foundation board. She has helped refresh its brand identity and improved its visual marketing.

In her down time, she likes to garden and is greatly skilled at making paper flowers. She has exhibited her craft as a member of the Granby Artists Association, and has done some paper flower classes at the Granby Public Library. Her family consists of husband Joel, son Owen (high school senior), daughter Evelyn (high school sophomore), and ever-present companion Maisy.