If you follow my blogs you know that one of the best parts of my job is getting to work with volunteers!
It never ceases to amaze me how we are so fortunate to have such incredible, dedicated people that freely give of themselves and their time to Virginia State Parks!
Donna getting ready for a hike
My focus for this post is an extraordinary woman that volunteers at Lake Anna State Park, Donna Finnegan. Donna has been with us for many years and has worked hundreds of hours. She is affectionately known to some as the “Bluebird Lady!” She and her husband, along with another couple, make and set up Bluebird boxes throughout Lake Anna State Park and the surrounding area, 138 to date! Together Donna and Marty build bluebird boxes to benefit the Friends of Lake Anna State Park and manage a 38 box trail.
Donna with the Bluebird system
Bluebird in one of Donna's boxes
Besides her dedicated time to Lake Anna State Park, Donna is a Virginia Master Naturalist with the Central Rappahannock Chapter (Fredericksburg.) And is foremost an avid birder, but with a special interest in amphibians and reptiles, gardening with native plants, and wildlife conservation.
Twayblade Orchid in bloom
Donna is currently the Spotsylvania coordinator for the Virginia Bluebird Society, on the board of Friends of Lake Anna State Park, and a past president of the local Virginia Native Plant Society. She teaches Ornithology for Naturalists, assists with Meaningful Watershed training for schools, and presents nature programs for parks, groups and clubs. Donna said the Master Naturalist program gave her the confidence and qualifications to be called an Environmental Educator.
Donna in the class room
I had the great fortune to meet her many years ago when she was presenting a program to a group at the Lake Anna State Park visitor center. The program was on amphibians and reptiles, the children were so enthralled it was great to see their enthusiasm.
Donna with First Day hikers
One of Donnas’ favorite programs she presents is a walk with a Park Naturalist as she interprets plants and animals she finds along the trail. She also enjoys helping out with the Junior Ranger program at the park and assisting with the educational programs as needed. She is our “go to” person when we want to identify an usual plants that we find at the park. She told me in a recent conversation that she gets so much more from volunteering than she gives, "it's been an incredible learning experience for me."
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."Albert Einstein
For contact information on volunteering programs, the Friends of Lake Anna State Park or to obtain one of Donna’s Blue Bird boxes please call the park office, (540)854-5503. Lake Anna State Park is located is Spotsylvania County about 45 minutes from Fredericksburg.