For our February installment of Volunteer Connection, we’ll be featuring Ed Clark, whose work with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will have you ready to welcome warmer weather, even as the cold of winter continues to nip at our noses. Ed, a self-dubbed good-natured naturalist, is best known to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy as the beloved leader of many of last year’s “We’re Going Wild” family nature walk programs. As a trained biologist employed by the US Department of Agriculture, Ed studies insects at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. You could call Ed a life-long student as he earned his Masters of Science in Biology at George Mason University in 2001, and continues to teach himself about the natural wonders of the world through research to this day. His most recent homemade curriculum of study? Spiders.
Ed’s obvious excitement for the outdoors manifests itself in a host of ways: as an avid birder, passionate botanist, and as we’ve discovered…a natural teacher with a talent for engaging children. His vast wildlife knowledge and easy manner, coupled with his inner child-like curiosity, makes him a real treasure for our growing Youth and Family Programs efforts. Each month of the year, we invite kids of all ages and their families to join us as we trek through some of Loudoun’s great places, parks, and nature centers with Mr. Clark as our “Ed-u-taining” guide. Whether it’s birds, bugs, or botany, Ed joyfully imparts an appreciation for wildlife, habitat, and stewardship…the responsibility of learning about and being connected to our natural world. Teaching the basics, Ed has these budding naturalists observing with all the senses, noting important finds and modeling the value of field journaling, and even follows up later with pictures and reports of the day’s observations to foster deeper learning at home. He’s planting seeds in these youngsters, sowing inquiry and wonder into their lives.
We are grateful for volunteers like Ed who seek to share their experience with students of every age. If you think you’d be interested in leading or co-leading, fill out our volunteer form here. We look forward to seeing you out in the field!
Co-authors: Sarah Steadman & Hannah Duffy