This is the fourth installment in a series to learn more about who’s doing the work behind the scenes to keep our Chapter running along.
Stephanie Gardner, HMN Board Historian and Parliamentarian, is conducting a series of online interviews with the members of our 2021 Board of Directors. Here we are featuring Andrea Dono, Secretary of the Board.
How long have you been a Virginia Master Naturalist? Of which Headwaters Master Naturalist cohort are you a member?
I was in cohort 5 and started class soon after moving here in 2016. I participated in a wildflower walk that year and was hooked.
What is your position on the HMN Board? How long have you been serving?
I have been serving as secretary since I joined the board in 2018. I am a trained journalist and can transcribe conversations in real time so it’s always easy for me to take very thorough minutes.
Have you held other positions on the HMN Board?
No. I am finishing up my second term this year and will be cycling off the board.
What is your favorite thing about your role in the chapter?
I really enjoy being in the know about what is going on. It helps me feel connected.
What are your future hopes for our chapter?
I’d love to have a few more experiences available to non-members, like what we do for our wildflower walks. I had my application in for this program after my first walk and I feel like they are a good gateway to new members. After I took my first mushroom walk with Peggy and posted about it on Facebook, I had so many friends ask me how they could do that with me next time.
Where do you live in the Valley?
I am in downtown Harrisonburg.
Are you originally from Virginia?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and lived a bike ride away from the beach. My family moved to Virginia when I was in high school. It wasn’t until my junior year that I went hiking for the first time in my life at Little Devil’s Steps. I moved to Harrisonburg in 2016 and wanted to get immersed in the Valley and feel a greater connection to the Earth.
Please tell us a little about your past or present career(s).
I am the executive director for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance – a nonprofit that supports small independent businesses, promotes historic preservation, and builds community. I always loved historic towns – probably as much as I enjoy the outdoors. I want to protect them and keep them from disappearing.
What do you enjoy doing when not volunteering for VMN?
I spend a lot of time working with my rescue dog, George, who has become a bit of a part time job for me. I love exploring new trails, sometimes with him; learning my wildflowers; and trying to make new space for just one more house plant.
If you were an animal, plant or fungus; what kind would you be?
I’m into the collaborative approach to things so I am lichen.
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
I just started my training modules to attempt to get a FNFSR/VASOS Benthic Macroinvertebrate certification so I can lead some benthic macroinvertebrate/water quality monitoring field days.