Another Annual Meeting is in the history books for Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. It was a historic event because it is our 25th Anniversary, and because of the coronavirus, we brought it to our audience live via GoTo Meeting rather than in person. As a bonus to conducting the meeting in this format, we can always relive the moment because the Annual Meeting was recorded for the first time ever!
Watching the recording is just like being there live. You can witness us juggle a few technical challenges, hear about the state of the organization, see the awards presentation, and learn something new from the keynote address by Wildlife Biologist and bee specialist, Sam Droege. It was a meeting to remember, and if you missed the fun of joining it virtually on June 7th, we have it for you to enjoy on YouTube:
This year’s Volunteer of the Year is someone many of you may know. He is the Assistant Birding Activities Coordinator and leads regular monthly bird walks at Bles Park. He is a Certified Stream Monitor, Butterfly Count leader, and nature walk leader. He is always willing to lend a hand when it comes to projects at JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary, the Native Plant Sale, and fundraising. Last year he recorded over 150 volunteer hours. Without further adieu, we presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Bryan Henson while acknowledging that he and his wife, Allison Gallo, are our dynamic duo, contributing to the success of many Loudoun Wildlife programs.
The Joe Coleman Award is presented to a Board Member for their exemplary contributions and achievements. This year’s recipient has been on the board for 3 years and is going off this year. She is well known through her coordination of the Loudoun Wildlife Audubon at Home Program. From her own yard, to training new AAH Ambassadors, to working with people to achieve Audubon certification, she is the embodiment of the LWC mission to inspire, educate, and advocate for the conservation and restoration of wildlife habitat. Congratulations to Anne Owen, the recipient of The Joe Coleman Award. Many thanks to Anne for contributing over 350 volunteer hours last year and over 800 hours since we implemented our new volunteer hours recording system in the fall of 2018.
Last, but not least, was the keynote presentation by Sam Droege, who spoke of the relationship of conservation efforts for birds and those for bees. Often, how we manage habitat in the U.S. is based on the needs of birds, which require large and varied habitats. We are beginning to study the habitat needs for bees and insects and know that most of them are specialists, requiring specific plants for survival. Sam focused on strategies to support our region’s 450+ species of native bees, because each species co-evolved with a specific genus or species of flower that supports its life cycle. His key recommendation is to plant as many different native plant species as possible to ensure each bee species can find what it needs to survive.
Despite a few technical challenges and a slight delay, this year’s 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting was a success and is now available for all to see on YouTube! Our virtual events continue to evolve and adapt, so we can continue to provide the high quality content you have come to know and love from Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Many thanks to all of our volunteers, members, and donors for your continuing support during this time. We miss seeing you all in person and look forward to when we can once again gather in person. Until then, we wish you happy, socially distanced days in nature!