Volume 25 Issue 1, Winter 2020
by Kim Strader, Volunteer Coordinator
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is fortunate to have so many dedicated and passionate volunteers. While being part of a thriving metropolitan area presents challenges in preserving and conserving wildlife and wild places, it also provides a vast array of people. Our volunteers range from high school students to retirees, all sharing their interests, knowledge and professional backgrounds. Upon retirement, most people pursue personal interests when volunteering, while some others loved their careers so much that they seek ways to continue doing their work — and Joanne Davis is one of those people!
Joanne attended the Bluebird Program Kickoff meeting in 2019 and followed up with Loudoun Wildlife, letting us know that Bluebirds were one of her favorite birds and that she would like to help on any of our public trails needing assistance. In June, I connected Joanne with Lori Kruse at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve so she could receive training and begin monitoring the 10 nest boxes on the Goose Creek Trail at Banshee Reeks. Joanne also attended the Volunteer Orientation in June, when I met her for the first time. Knowing we would need someone in September to collect, collate, and submit year-end data to the Virginia Bluebird Society, I casually mentioned that we also have a need for data entry people so if anyone enjoyed that type of work to please let me know. Joanne spoke up in her sweet little voice, saying, “I love data.” My reaction was, “You do? How wonderful!” Feeling as if I’d just hit the jackpot, I quickly jotted a note beside her name.
Fast forward several months and Bluebird Monitoring year-end data time was quickly approaching. Executive Director Michael Myers let me know that Lori Kruse at Banshee Reeks informed him that one of her Bluebird monitors was interested in assisting with year-end data collection. I contacted Joanne and arranged a meeting with her and former Bluebird Program Coordinator Janet Locklear to learn what was needed and when. It was at this meeting that we discovered Joanne had retired from a data analyst profession, making her the perfect person for the job.
In the weeks that followed, Joanne’s determination and resourcefulness were invaluable as she contacted the Virginia Bluebird Society to learn what was needed and the timeline for submission. Additionally, she assisted Lori Kruse in tabulating Banshee Reeks’ weekly data collection sheets so that she understood what the Trail Leaders were expected to do. Joanne’s organizational skills and thoughtfulness shined as she kept track of who submitted their data and contacted those who had not, offering to help in any way she could, including picking up their data and doing the tabulations herself.
Joanne reported the year-end data from the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Bluebird Trails in December 2019, and we were all extremely excited to discover that she had collected and collated data from 40 trails for submission to the Virginia Bluebird Society! Joanne has many ideas on how to use the Trail data to tell the “story” of Bluebird populations in Loudoun County in a way that is visually appealing and easy to understand. Displaying data this way will potentially widen our audience by enabling the layperson to glean information from our data and see the importance of the Bluebird Program as a way to monitor the health of our local environment.
Joanne is a lovely, cheerful, thoughtful, organized, and determined person, and it is these characteristics that made the year-end data collection such a success. We are grateful that she will be staying on with the Bluebird Monitoring Program by assisting Program Coordinator Lisa McKew. While Joanne has only been volunteering since June 2019, her contributions have been invaluable. She combined her love of Bluebirds with her beloved former career in data management to become a valuable member of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Bluebird Monitoring Program.
Many thanks to Joanne, and all our volunteers, for sharing your current or former professional skills and personal interests to help Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy further its vision of a place where people and wildlife thrive!