“Everybody knows me because I’m the old lady out there with a walker,” says Northampton Neighbors member and Monday Walking Group regular Bert Liebman. “But I know I can’t be the only one.”
Thanks to the efforts of Bert and Interest Group leader Dave Herships, hopefully, she won’t be the only one for long. “I really like to walk,” she says. “When I discovered Dave was going out on these expeditions, I wanted to be part of it.” The two have spent the last several months exploring and assessing the accessibility of local trails, from the Fort River Refuge in Hadley to Northampton’s Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. “There are a few trails I’m happy to go on that perhaps not everyone would, but most of them are easy enough for anyone.”
Issues of accessibility have always been important to Bert, not just personally but professionally, as well. As a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP), she spent 20 years working with neurologically impaired infants and preschoolers. “As I got older, however, crawling around on the floor and lifting kids got a lot harder,” she says, so she went to work as a clinical supervisor at Gallaudet University’s graduate program for SLPs interested in hearing loss. Even in retirement, Bert continued to work with disabled children and adults and, later, was a volunteer tutor for English as a Second Language.
Bert and husband Ernie joined Northampton Neighbors in 2017 soon after relocating to the area from Chevy Chase, MD, where they had been members of their local Village-to-Village network. After Ernie passed away in November 2020, Bert continued her involvement in NN’s Neighborhood Circles in addition to other active pursuits like kayaking with All Out Adventures (AOA). It was Bert’s positive experience with that organization that prompted NN’s Community Connections Committee to forge a more formal partnership with AOA to inspire other members to get out and about.
“We have 1,000 members,” says Bert. “If I can do this, I know there are so many others who can, too.”
Pictured: NN Monday Walking Group. Bert Liebman pictured 3rd from right. Photo credit: Nancy Lowry