Catherine Ledec, president of the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park (FOHMP) in Alexandria, has received this year’s Distinguished Volunteer Service Award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS). The award to recognize dedication and contributions to the parks and/or recreation field was presented to her on Nov. 7, during the VRPS annual conference in Roanoke.
Ledec began volunteering at Huntley Meadows in summer 2003 and even met her husband through volunteering at an annual Huntley bird count. Park Manager Karen Sheffield called her “a passionate leader, advocate and friend.” Longtime Huntley Meadows staffer Carolyn Gamble said, “Cathy is very knowledgeable about environmental issues in the Mount Vernon and Lee Districts.”
Under her leadership, the FOHMP has advocated on behalf of the wetland park, helping to shield it from adverse impacts of activities both inside and outside of the park. She has devoted hundreds of hours to those efforts, ensuring this oasis in a rapidly urbanizing setting was safe.
Ledec also has fought for environmental protections in the park and helped celebrate the culmination of Huntley’s two-decade long wetland restoration efforts. She was instrumental in the nurturing and positive direction of an active and engaged coalition of Friends groups. Recently, FOHMP hosted representatives from nearly two dozen Friends organizations that are united as the Federation of Friends with shared goals for the county’s parks.
Ledec also works closely with Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. “Cathy has been an instrumental part of making Huntley Meadows Park what it is today,” McKay said. “Her leadership and environmental stewardship have ensured the health and long-term safety of Lee District’s crown jewel, and her work with my office has been nothing short of amazing.”
The Virginia Recreation and Park Society is a private, non-profit professional organization that unites professionals, students, and interested lay persons from the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia into one body.