John Muir once said “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” Thanks to Walter Hussey, winner of the 2016 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Adult Volunteer, there is one more beautiful place in Virginia to do just that. Walter’s passion and excitement for nature led him to plan, map out and implement the 70-acre Meadow Management Program space at Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County. He was instrumental in developing partnerships with six state agencies and a long list of other organizations to get the project off the ground. Collaborating with state agencies enabled Walter to obtain grants for the project, as well as assist in implementing an Earth Day event centered around nature education.
Walter worked to connect with, recruit, and organize Fluvanna Volunteer Citizens, Virginia Master Naturalists and Fluvanna Gardeners to plant thousands of wildflowers and install countless bird house and tree kits. Additionally, Walter developed numerous marketing and informational publications to support the area, including a “Back to Nature” brochure and a booklet of wildlife information, photos, and educational tidbits on what to look for when visiting the park. Nothing stopped Walter from finding solutions to lead to the success of this re-naturalization project. He took a public park, with nothing but abandoned hayfields and nothing to offer residents or visitors, and turned it into something special – a place for residents and visitors to enjoy and a haven for native wildlife. His efforts are something truly beautiful to behold.