This past Sunday afternoon, we held Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s 18th Annual Meeting!
It was great to see so many members together, enjoy the good cheer and celebrate where we’ve been and where we’re headed! You can view the whole photo album here.
This year we held our Annual Meeting at Morven Park in Leesburg and the venue proved to be wonderful. Not only did Wood Thrush and Orioles serenade guests as they entered the Coach museum for the event, but we also enjoyed looking at the antique coaches throughout the museum as we mingled, enjoyed light fare from Vintage 50, bid on silent auction items, and delved into the wonderful assortment of native milkweed and nectar plants that were for sale compliments of Catoctin Gardens and Nature by Design. Karen Strick and Lisa Schoepfle provided wonderful music throughout the social period with their flute duet.
To kick off the meeting, Nicole Hamilton gave a brief overview of some of our 2012 accomplishments that include:
– Continued youth environmental education programs for local schools, nature camp and nature journaling
– Building our bluebird nestbox trail network to 29 trails across Loudoun and fledging 1,361 Bluebirds from those boxes
– Reaching 150 trained volunteers in our stream monitoring protocol
– Linking our amphibian monitoring program with habitat restoration to restore functionality to some vernal pools at Morven Park
– Continuing our bird counts and exceeding more than 52,000 bird sightings in development of the first Loudoun County Bird Atlas
– Holding 64 field trips and 17 nature programs, which more than 850 people attended
– Leading habitat restoration projects that included meadow restoration at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship and wetland restoration at the equine medical center adjacent to Morven Park
– Continuing to be the voice for wildlife and healthy habitat by speaking out on topics that included the County’s approach for addressing Lyme disease in the County, and Leesburg’s issue with Vultures.
Next, the Volunteer of the Year award was presented with Linda Sieh being the recipient. Linda has been an active volunteer with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for more than 6 years. She leads the bluebird nestbox monitoring trail at Horsepen Preserve at Countryside, helps line up and co-leads field trips at Horsepen which enables residents and non-residents of the community to explore this rich habitat, and leads amphibian monitoring at Horsepen which has led to new species being discovered there. Beyond all these activities though, Linda has worked quietly behind the scenes as our Treasurer and through this role, she transformed our financial management and bookkeeping by transitioning us to a professional software tool and further defining and aligning our budget categories to make our accounting processes more streamlined. She also coordinates our annual audit and completes our Form 990 each year. She has been, and continues to be an incredible asset to our team and someone who is instrumental in moving Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy forward as an organization and resource to the County!
Following that award, Marcia Weidner spoke about the Loudoun County Science Fair and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s continued support of the event and the students through reviewing each of the 200+ projects and selecting Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s winners. Each of the winners had their projects set up for display and talked to guests about their work during the social part of the meeting. Marcia called each of them up to recognize their efforts and present them with their checks. Details on each of the 2013 Science Fair winners and their projects can be found here.
Paul Miller them stepped up to the podium and talked about the Roger Tory Peterson Young Naturalist Awards. These awards are given to budding naturalists who participate in the annual nature journaling project. Three award winners were recognized and a full report will be posted shortly.
Following the awards, Alonso Abugattas took us on a milkweed safari, for our afternoon program. He told us about the ways in which people have used milkweed over the years and went into some of the 457 different species of insects that come to and use milkweed plants. They are truly a great plant for any garden or landscape. They not only provide critical food for the Monarch butterfly while it is in its caterpillar stage, but they also provide us with a gateway in to explore the wild around us!
Thank you to all the volunteers who worked on planning, preparing and hosting this Annual Meeting: Erin Gulick, Mildred Porter, Sharon Plummer, Ann Garvey, Marcia Martin, Kris Dennen, Paul Miller, Phil and Ellie Daley, Dori Rhodes, Marcia Weidner, Casey and Candi Crichton, Sally Snidow, Samantha Gallagher, Linda Sieh, Jim McWalters, Karen Strick, Lisa Schoepfle and Jill Miller. And a huge thank you to Rhonda Chocha who led the team in pulling this together and took care of countless details that made this such a smooth and joyous event!