John L. Dudzinsky
Community Forester, Herndon
Place of birth: Latrobe, Pa.
How long at this position? 14 years in May, 2003.
What are your job responsibilities? Assist in overseeing and maintaining the community/urban forest in the town. Assist Town Public Works in keeping the town looking good. Assist homeowners with tree and landscape problems and education. Manage the Farmers' Market. Manage volunteer projects that involve the environment. All other duties as assigned.
Education: Bachelor of science degree in forest science from Penn State University, Society of American Foresters; Certified Forester, International Society of Arboriculture; Certified Arborist; Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator; Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector.
Family: Wife, Robin; son, Anton (6th Grade at Clearview Elementary); daughter, Genevieve (5th Grade at Clearview ES), Grandpa Wayne Ward (WWII veteran); German Shepard, Cody; calico cat, Puddy; and white dove, Pidgy.
What made you choose where you live? My wife Robin
Favorite books: "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy," "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," "Virginia Wildlife" and "The Flyfishers Guide to the Virginias."
Favorite local place: Runnymede Park
Hobbies/sports/interests/activities: Fishing, hunting, walking, gardening, instructor at H.K. Lee's Tae Kwon Do, team manager, Herndon Rattlers wrestling, Boy Scout Troop 1570 committee chairman and Fairfax County Tree Commissioner.
Community concerns: Overcrowding of school classrooms, kids not getting enough time and spending enough time in the outdoors, losing greenspace to roads and development.
Community ideas/suggestions: Reduce classroom size, more outdoor hands on activities for school kids; let's build the Nature Center
Personal goals: To stay involved with my kids and their activities and pass on my love of the outdoors, become a Certified Horticulturist and improve my Tae Kwon Do skills.
Philosophy of life: The Golden Rule, try to live each day to its fullest and thank the Great Spirit for each day of life and the things I have been blessed with.
Proudest of: My family.
Hero/role model: Mr. William Paxton, forester and landscape architect from Latrobe, Pa. — my first true boss who guided me to my current profession. I started working with him in 9th grade.
Town Naturalist, Herndon
Place of birth: Massachusetts, but raised in Acworth, Ga., all my life.
How long at this position? Two years.
What are your job responsibilities? I am charged with the nature programs and environmental educational for Parks and Recreation. I am also charged with protecting the natural, historical, cultural, and environmental resources of the Town of Herndon. I advocate for Nature!
Education: BS in anthropology, minor in Appalachian studies and a MS in recreation and leisure services, concentration in experiential education, from Radford University.
Family: Husband Johnny, he is a wildlife specialist at Ft. Belvoir Accotink Wildlife Refuge; 18-year-old son Elijah; 15-year-old son Johnathan; and 19-month-old surprise, Jacob.
What made you choose where you live? I live in the Town of Herndon. I was raised in a small town in Georgia and I wanted my baby son to be raised in the same type of community spirit and feeling.
Favorite books: Nevada Barr mysteries ... they all take place in National Parks ... field guides, "National Geographic" and "Oh the Places you'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss
Favorite local place: Runnymede Park, back by the old Carroll House and The Closet! Dairy Queen and the Bread Company.
Hobbies/sports/interests/activities: Wildlife rehabilitation of reptiles; WNBA, the Washington Mystics — my father and I are die-hard fans! Canoeing, birding, playing in the creek, digging for worms and bones. Teaching (outdoor education and interpretive services) at Northern Virginia Community College.
Community concerns: Keeping and protecting as much green space in Herndon that we can, while keeping up with the community's need for growth and development.
Community ideas/suggestions: Let's get the nature center up and running, our community needs it! Environmental education is extremely important for all ages, but especially our youth. We all need to take time, and reconnect with nature whenever and wherever we can. I would love to see our Nature Center become the leader in Northern Virginia for environmental education, resources, nature programs and volunteer opportunities.
Personal goals: To foster feelings of stewardship throughout the community. To expand nature programs, and possibly obtain my Ph.D., after we get the Nature Center built.
Philosophy of life: Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness, and remember to thank God for all things.
Proudest of: My son Elijah's five-year survival of brain cancer. My father, Guy, who taught me that I can accomplish great things if I believe in myself and keep persistent. And that I can work in the field that I truly love and change the world one child/person at a time through my vision of experiential education.
Hero/role model: Dr. Melinda Wagner, anthropology professor at Radford University. She is an incredibly amazing teacher. Jane Goodall for her conservation efforts. My mother, Sue, for instilling in me the confidence to enjoy public speaking and my mother-in-law, Lyn, for raising such a great son.