Volume 26 Issue 3, Summer 2021
by Kim Strader, Volunteer Coordinator
The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Annual Meeting on June 6 was an event to remember for the more than 100 members who gathered outside at Morven Park to shelter from the sun and bask in the fun of seeing wildlife up close — and recognizing a few of our many volunteers. Congratulations to our award recipients and many thanks to all our volunteers, members, and donors for helping us to continue to create a place where people and wildlife thrive!
Keynote speaker Jennifer Burghoffer is the education manager and a rehabilitator at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, the only wildlife teaching hospital in northern Virginia. Its staff and volunteers work to care for native wildlife by integrating veterinary medicine, rehabilitation, education, and research. Jennifer brought several animals to accompany her to talk about wildlife in Virginia: Dopey the Screech Owl, Flying Squirrels Tripod and Rocket, Nigel the Opossum, and Vega the Turkey Vulture. Attendees were treated to rare up-close looks at Jennifer’s friends as she walked through the crowd while telling us about each animal.
The meeting’s agenda included election of new board members Brian Magurn, Jan Massey, and Jennifer Venable, the Treasurer’s Report, updates on JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary and conservation advocacy initiatives, and recognition of the Science Fair and Peterson Young Naturalist Award recipients. Last but not least, the Loudoun Wildlife Volunteer Awards were presented.
Special Recognition: BJ Lecrone
As a member of staff, BJ is responsible for membership and outreach and patiently helps LWC volunteers (and staff ) navigate technology. She also has championed several projects on behalf of Loudoun Wildlife in her spare time — the community center garden at Round Hill, Crossroads Community Church’s butterfly garden, and invasive plant pulls at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield. Since the pandemic began, she has recorded, edited, and uploaded (on her own time) countless hours of virtual programming to make them more widely available. BJ puts her Virginia Master Naturalist training to use as an Audubon at Home ambassador and never passes up the opportunity to share what she has learned to inspire others to create wildlife habitat in their own yards.
This year, she has devoted her own time to learning how to be a drone-videographer so that she can train volunteers. BJ is using this new skill to share her passion for places like HOAs which have invested in native plant landscapes and to demonstrate the extensive spread of invasive plants. Additionally, she is helping the new Audubon at Home chapter in Fauquier/Rappahannock counties to set up a GoogleDrive to support their program.
Joe Coleman Award: Allison Gallo
The Joe Coleman Award recognizes a board member or program coordinator. Board member Allison participates on the fundraising and other ad-hoc committees as needed. She co-chairs the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary project and has contributed countless hours helping us better understand the wildlife there by identifying species, setting up game cameras, and more. Allison is also the assistant coordinator for the Butterfly Count.
Allison tirelessly gives her time to many hands-on activities as well. She and her husband, Bryan Henson, educate countless people about birds, butterflies, amphibians, and many other forms of wildlife. They lead monthly bird walks at Bles Park, introducing many to the natural beauty and wildlife found at this important habitat along the confluence of Broad Run and the Potomac River.
Allison has a gentle way of encouraging nature novices to be more curious and always shares her love of nature while being very inclusive. She truly embodies the Loudoun Wildlife mission and vision.
Volunteer of the Year: Gerco Hoogeweg
Gerco’s time and efforts have been invaluable to Loudoun Wildlife. He tirelessly shares his professional knowledge and experience with the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary Committee to create and map trails, develop the management plan, and steward the land. He also plans and leads monthly Black Oak Workdays, organizing up to 20 volunteers to help with the tasks at hand, and now co-chairs the Committee.
Gerco also leads multiple bird walks each year, participates in the Birdathon, created ArcGIS maps for the Butterfly Count, and is always willing to lend a hand where needed. His enthusiasm and passion for nature is contagious and engaging as he helps everyone become better stewards of wildlife and wild places.
Youth Conservation Award: Emma Lloyd
Emma became a certified stream monitor at 12 and set up a site that she has been monitoring for macroinvertebrates, removing trash, and participating in the Virginia Save Our Streams Salt Watch program since 2019.
In 2020, Emma gave a 4-H presentation at the club, county, and district level (winning blue ribbons in both) called “Stream Monitoring — Splash into Citizen Science.” This year she gave an award-winning 4-H presentation at the club and county level called “Feeding Frenzy — Feeding Strategies of Benthic Macroinvertebrates.”
In addition to her 4-H involvement, Emma educates others by mentoring the Girls of the Preserve in Ashburn, assisting with stream surveys throughout the county, and writing the “Macro of the Month” feature for the new Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Stream Monitoring Newsletter, The Monitor.
Emma is an amazing young woman and a role model for us all. She uses her voice and actions to raise awareness about water quality issues and encourage others to get involved through 4-H and Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.