On Sunday, May 7th, Dr. Douglas Ward & Rev. Earl Johnson welcomed guests to their home at the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge in Woodville for a Soirée with the Shenandoah National Park Trust (SNPT).
Ward and Johnson both have generational histories in Shenandoah, with both their families and one another, and they love being neighbors to the Park. From childhood visits to Skyline Drive and a weekend getaway cabin just a mile from Old Rag to their current home with views of Marys Rock, the couple has loved Shenandoah for as long as they can remember. “We really love the Trust and what they are trying to accomplish – their vision and their relationship with the Park,” said Earl.
Ward recently joined the SNPT’s Board of Trustees and was “delighted” to host the second annual Shenandoah Soirée in Rappahannock County. “We love living here,” added Johnson. “And there is a hunger after COVID for us to meet and greet our neighbors in the county and region, and we hope that this benefit will underwrite invaluable programs of the Trust and its future.”
Many attendees got to know one another on a Bird Walk around Seven Islands, led by local birding experts, before gathering together in the couple’s unique home.
“This event brings like-minded people together in support of our Park,” said Trustee Cheri Woodard, who co-chaired the planning committee with Doug and Trustee Nan Roberts for a second year.
Shenandoah National Park is a major economic driver for the Rappahannock region, bringing more than a million visitors to the area every year. As residents of Rappahannock County, Ward, Johnson, and Woodard all share a desire to bring their neighbors together in support of Shenandoah. “About 25% of the land in Rappahannock County is in Shenandoah National Park,” explained Woodard. “It’s so important for our friends and neighbors to be aware of the good work and positive impact the Trust has on the Park, and as a result, our backyard.”
SNPT Trustees Taylor Odom, Cheri Woodard, Patti McGill Peterson, Doug Ward, and Nan Roberts.
SNPT would like to thank this year’s Shenandoah Soirée sponsors: Dee & Charles Akre, The Penkiunas Family and F.T. Valley Farm, Barbara & Matthew Black, Clare Lindsay & David Kennell, Chuck MacDonald, SNPT Vice Chair Patti McGill Peterson & Kate Woodward, Rachel & Josh Savey, Suzanne & David Weiss, and Cheri Woodard Realty, along with two anonymous donors.
SNPT would also like to thank New Iberia for catering the Soirée, as well as Wild Roots Apothecary and Spring Creek Blooms for providing signature cocktails and beautiful floral arrangements, respectively.
Thanks to the incredible generosity of sponsors, guests, and neighbors in the Rappahannock community, the Soirée raised more than $55,000 to support critical programming, projects, and research in Shenandoah National Park that will protect and enhance the Park for this and future generations.