Member Spotlight: Gail Napora

gailandpictureIn an effort to get to know our members better, we are featuring an occasional post spotlighting one of our Headwaters Master Naturalists. Over forty Master Naturalists strong, our chapter draws strength from a wide variety of diverse talents and personalities, each deserving of their own spotlight!

With her upcoming public presentation on Monarchs and Milkweeds as part of the James Madison University’s Edith J. Carrier Arboretum’s Summer 2014 Brown Bag Lecture Series, our chapter historian, Stephanie Gardner, interviews HMN Gail Napora (Cohort I) for this Member Spotlight.

bickyI have been exploring your author’s page at and reading about you through your teaching with the Lifelong Learning Institute at JMU. Wow, you stay busy!  Please tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I am a creative person who loves creatures. In most things I have done, there is a natural element to reflect nature. For example, I am a scroll saw artist who does a special kind of wind chime featuring birds, elephants, and other creatures, and I have an entire line of arks with animals. In my photography, I focus on nature and taught photography in the community and through JMU’s LLI for many years before assembling images into books. As a full time employee, doing technology/software training for adults, I take my lunch time to explore nature sights, courses, and outdoor events. If I were to summarize my attitude, I would say that I strive to respect all creatures, all of the time.

I saw that you like to read.  Me too!  What is on your reading list this summer?
This summer I am reading research about bees, and anything by Malcolm Gladwell (right now that is Blink!).

What about butterflies most fascinates you?
Someone said that ‘butterflies are flying flowers’ and I like that they are so colorful and complex.

Will you tell us about your upcoming program at the Edith J Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at JMU?
At the EJC Arboretum I will tell the story of a lone butterfly weed plant and weave into the tale everything about the M’s: milkweed, mating, munching, metamorphosis, monarchs, mimics, and migration. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the EJC Arboretum, we will also release monarchs.

I know people that are interested in Monarchs and want to help them but don’t know where to start.  What are some ways that everyone can help increase the Monarch population?
To me it has always been simple. For there to be monarch butterflies, we must provide food for monarch caterpillars. If every person plants and protects one plant, the monarchs will have what they need to survive and thrive.

What other projects are you working on this summer?
This summer I am doing a lot of family activities. Our squad of 4 (ages 14-22) each are exploring square foot gardening. Part of each box is devoted to butterfly weed as I am working to establish our 7 acres as GailwithDisplaya Monarch Waystation.

What have you enjoyed most about being a member of Headwaters Master Naturalists?
Headwaters Master Naturalists are genuinely nice people who ardently take care of, and protect, nature. Being a part of such a group is soul-nourishing.