Longtime ORMN member Catherine D. Mayes, "Cathy", recently passed away but will never be forgotten by those touched by her unparalleled enthusiasm, knowledge and camaraderie.
A retired attorney, Cathy was a founding member of the Chapter in 2007, and both a teacher and graduate of Class 1. Over time, she held various positions on the Board, including Secretary, Vice-President and President. She worked tirelessly to make ORMN a resounding success in the Virginia Master Naturalist Program.
Not only did Cathy give her best to ORMN, for many years she served as President of the Virginia Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, working with the American Chestnut Foundation to restore Native American Chestnut trees to the eastern forests. The Smithsonian Biology Research Institute honored Cathy by naming its chestnut grove "The Catherine D. Mayes Chestnut Orchard".
Cathy was also an active member of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and at various times served as Secretary, Treasurer, and an At-Large Board member. When she lived in Great Falls, she founded the Friends of Riverbend Park.
Cathy was known for her extensive knowledge of ornithology, frequently teaching the Chapter's classes, mentoring new members, and often leading bird walks in the area. Cathy was also an expert in Virginia's native plants and trees, leading botany and wildflower walks. Even on the hottest days of summer, Cathy was in the field for the numerous butterfly counts conducted by the Chapter. She was a frequent volunteer in the Shenandoah National Park, monitoring rare plants on the Stony Man outcrop and counting Native American Chestnut trees along the Appalachian Trail.
We will remember her wit, joy and infectious laughter.