Volume 28 Issue 2, Spring 2023
by Kim Strader, Volunteer Coordinator
While being part of a thriving metropolitan area presents challenges in preserving and conserving wildlife and wild places, it also provides a wonderful array of helpers. Loudoun Wildlife volunteers range from high school students to retirees, all sharing their interests, knowledge, and talents with us. One volunteer who stands out for sharing her talent is Pat Whittle.
Pat has lived most of her life in the Washington area, moving with her family to Loudoun in 1997. She has always had an interest in nature. Degreed in both biology and computer science, she has worked as a high school biology teacher, a software engineer, a homeschool mom, a Latin teacher, and is now an artist.
Pat’s artwork is inspired by the landscapes and florals that surround her. She is a regularly featured artist at the Waterford Fair, Art at the Mill, and several local, regional, and national juried art exhibits. Through her work with the Loudoun Sketch Club, Pat also has experience with organizing an art show, which was exactly what we needed when Loudoun Wildlife had the opportunity to create a photo exhibit at the Loudoun County Government Center.
Pat was invaluable in organizing and hanging the show. She helped develop a method for our photographers to submit entries, then received and organized the photos so we could pick which ones to display. Pat produced a mock-up of the exhibit, which she used to determine the size of the photographs, frames, and matting needed. She also coordinated and created a binder with descriptions of all the photos. Pat ensured our exhibit was not only beautiful and polished but educational. Thanks to Pat’s organizing efforts, part of this exhibit will also be displayed at local libraries this summer.
Pat also paints a birdhouse each year for our Birdhouses of Loudoun benefit auction. She is a past Loudoun Wildlife bluebird monitor and participates in our annual Christmas Bird Count and Butterfly Count. In March, this Loudoun Wildlife Board member helped judge the Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
Pat is studying birds and regularly joins our bird walks. She is also learning more about the importance of native plants as she works on converting a steep slope on her property from a giant swath of Johnsongrass to a wildflower meadow.
Pat’s talents and interests help us as we strive to educate people and create a place where people and wildlife thrive together.