Left Hand Laurel Laura Skaggs
You might know her as the Duck Lady, but the smiling face under the hat belongs to Laura Skaggs, chosen as this month’s Left Hand Laurel in recognition of her work with the Niwot Historical Society and especially her record-breaking fundraising efforts.
The Niwot Historical Society was chosen as the beneficiary of the Courier’s Nostalgia Day Duck Race this year. As president of the organization, Skaggs stepped forward to become the primary duck seller. Gail Ludwig, Courier advertising director, worked with Skaggs on the fundraiser and described her as “a lovely package of intelligence, charm, wit, determination and fun. And she looks great in a duck hat.”
Throughout the summer at the Rhythm on the Rails concerts, ducks swimming around the brim of her straw hat made Skaggs hard to miss. But she wasn’t just making an unusual fashion statement. Her hat became a conversation-starter and an opportunity for her to tell people about the historical society and the duck race fundraiser.
So was it the hat? Or was it the friendly, informative and persistent woman under the hat? Perhaps a bit of both. In any event, the Nostalgia Day Duck Race raised $3,350 for the historical society, making it the most successful duck race fundraiser to date.
Skaggs and her husband David (a former US Congressman) moved to Niwot about three years ago when they decided to leave the Washington, D.C. area for good. Skaggs said, “We were looking for a place that would truly be a home, both a place for us to live, and for our kids and grandkids to come visit.” They found that in Niwot and they have been delighted with the community they have found here.
Having worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation for over 20 years, the Niwot Historical Society was a natural fit for Skaggs. “It was the first door I knocked on when we got here, and I really found a group of kindred spirits.”
Skaggs served on the NHS board last year and was elected president this year. Anne Dyni, longtime Niwot Historical Society board member and past president, said, “Laura has really been a breath of fresh air for the historical society. She is highly organized, has a lot of ideas and the energy to carry them out.”
One of the big projects that had been on the back burner for the society was the creation of a website. With the help of students from the IB program at Niwot High School, Skaggs took on this project and the website is now up and running.
Said Skaggs, “We still have lots more photos and things to put up, but at least people can find basic information about Niwot and the Niwot Historical Society now.”
According to Skaggs, the proceeds from the duck race will be used to underwrite an exhibit that the NHS is mounting this spring at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center. The exhibit will showcase many of the artifacts and photos that the society has collected over the years.
Skaggs said that being the Duck Lady was a good way to meet people and introduce them to the Niwot Historical Society. “The people I met this summer were just wonderful. They really wanted me to do well for the historical society. I felt very lucky to be a messenger with a good message.”
Visit the Niwot Historical Society at www.niwothistoricalsociety.org.
Photo by Liz Emmett-Mattox
Left Hand Laurel Laura Skaggs.