Woman sitting in bed of bluebells.

Mona Enquist-Johnston has given almost a half century to Fairfax County’s parks.

Since 1975, she’s been a paid FCPA staffer and a volunteer. Mona has lead wildflower walks, given wildlife talks, developed programs for adults and children, imagined and organized events, trained her cohorts, recruited and coordinated volunteers, and led the Parkettes onstage to recognize those volunteers who are the engines that power our parks.

Last year she’s found a new way to support the parks she loves.  “I’d like to contribute more than time and talent,” she wrote to Fairfax County Park Foundation executive director, Bobbi Longworth. “I’d like to make a monetary contribution.”

With 46 years of an insider’s perspective, Mona knew exactly where she wanted the money to go. The funds from her required IRA (Individual Retirement Account) distribution were to be split between Huntley Meadows and Riverbend parks. “I’m proud of what the staffs have accomplished managing the unique natural resources at each of those sites and want to support their efforts,” she wrote.

Karen Sheffield, the manager at Huntley Meadows Park, will use the donation to enhance the park’s central wetland habitat. For this premiere birding spot, the projects include the repair, maintenance and additions of nest boxes, wood duck boxes and mallard tubes; surveys of rare wetland birds using acoustic equipment; goose enclosure fencing; a study of goose impacts on wetlands vegetation; wetland plantings and removal of invasive species; and upgrades for the weather and data station that provides critical data for management of the central wetland.

At Riverbend Park, manager John Callow intends to improve natural resource protection with erosion control projects along park trails and the Potomac River shoreline and to upgrade habitats with native species plantings, invasive plant removal and attractions for pollinators.

The contributions will make a significant difference at the two popular parks. Through these action, Enquist-Johnston’s legacy of stewardship education and protection of natural resources continues.

Woman talking with two children.

She’s also a core volunteer at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, where she presents parent/child nature programs. “When Mona tells a story, it’s always a treat with her expressions and the many ways she involves kids through movement and sounds,” said Avery Gunther, Hidden Oaks naturalist.

“Miss Mona’s warmth, enthusiasm and ability to connect with even the youngest child makes her unique,” added parent Kathy Kokta. “Programs have been magical in large part due to her intuitive gift for seeing the world from a child’s perspective. She holds a picture just a little longer to catch a child’s eye, knows what to say to bring everyone’s attention back and sees humor in everything.”

Introducing children to the natural world is an investment in a community’s future. So is making a financial donation to the Fairfax County Park Foundation for the community’s parks. Contributing through an IRA disbursement is thoughtful and easy. Ms. Enquist-Johnston had her distribution check sent directly to the Park Foundation.  Foundation Executive Director Bobbi Longworth concluded, “This is a wonderful way for donors to support their favorite park or program.”

Learn how you can make a difference through an IRA Distribution for your parks!