Volunteer Spotlight: Ami Mason
How long have you volunteered with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) and how did you hear about us?
Ami started volunteering for LWC in 2015 when she first moved to Leesburg. She saw signs around town and on the Greenway for a few months and decided to look into it.
Ami has a degree in environmental management and wanted to see what opportunities she could volunteer for while at home with young children. She did a few things that first year but then had another baby and took a break for a couple years. Ami started back up when she joined the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) training program in 2019 and found a job at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve (BRNP) as their gardener and facility supervisor.
Ami keeps in touch with us and found new opportunities in the Audubon At Home (AAH) program and with leading hikes and classes. Ami says, “I am a bit obsessed with plants. I have hundreds of houseplants and a lot of plants in my garden. At Banshee Reeks I grow vegetables for Loudoun Hunger Relief in the Demonstration Garden.”
Ami is fascinated with native plants and is always learning more about them and their interactions with wildlife. Her home is certified as a wildlife habitat by the Loudoun Wildlife AAH Program. Ami is working on a project at her children’s school called the Native Habitat Lab. She is “using the guidance of Audubon At Home and the volunteers of VMN to change the front landscaping of the elementary school to a fully native wildlife habitat. We removed everything that was not native and planted several native plants and shrubs in their place. We will be adding more plants and plan to get it certified by AAH. This area will be a place for the children to study wild interactions right on their school grounds.”
What opportunities have you volunteered for/are signed up for?
In 2015, Ami helped with an LWC booth at the Lucketts Fair and with the Native Plant Sale. In 2016, she helped clear trails of invasive plants at Morven Park with groups of seventh graders. Last year before the pandemic, Ami attended meetings for the Loudoun Wildlife AAH and Pollinator programs. In early April this year, she presented a spring ephemeral wildflower talk and led two wildflower hikes – one at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve and one at Balls Bluff Battlefield Park.
What is your favorite natural area in Loudoun County?
Ami’s favorite natural area is Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve.