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Candidates for the Board of Directors

of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park

November 9, 2019 Annual Meeting


Tom Blackburn has been a member of the Board for more than 6 years.  He writes our monthly newsletter and keeps the website up to date.  Tom also leads kayak trips and shoreline cleanups at the park, as well as recruiting volunteers for our annual Eagle Festival.  Tom is a Fairfax Master Naturalist and President of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. He also volunteers frequently at local county parks. Tom has retired from a long career as an energy lawyer. 

  

Bets Byrne joined the Board earlier this year.  She retired from a career as a psychotherapist,h having worked at Kaiser Permanente Health plan and then in her private practice and after that for DOD at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She loved her work and balanced the stress of it with running, biking, and enjoying nature - especially on this beautiful peninsula, Mason Neck, where she has lived since 1976. Bets took her son and his friends to Mason Neck State Park often and they love hiking the trails and playing make-believe games there. Her son went to Junior Ranger camp and other activities at the park. Bets joined the Board of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park because of her love for Mason Neck and for Mason Neck State Park in particular. She looks forward to continuing our efforts to provide activities for encouraging people of all ages to learn about nature, to enjoy it and learn how to conserve it.


Hillary Clawson is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and is serving her third year as President of the organization.  She has lived on Mason Neck for 13 years and has worked to preserve its unique environment and resources serving for 8 years as a board member and then President of the Mason Neck Citizens Association. She is a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Fairfax County Mount Vernon District. As president of the Friends, Hillary has worked with the Board to:

  • Build a strong partnership with Park Management;
  • Substantially grow our membership;
  • Increase the number and scope of Friends’ educational programs and events; and
  • Provide greater support to Park-sponsored programs and events including those that reach the underserved in our community. 

Pam Cressey is an archaeologist and member of the Gunston Manor community on Mason Neck. Retired after 35 years as Alexandria's City Archaeologist, she continues to teach at The George Washington University. She volunteers at the Visitor Center at Mason Neck State Park and has been a member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park for 5 years. Her interests include wildlife conservation, historical preservation, literacy, gardening, and boating the Occoquan and Potomac rivers. Pam also volunteers at the Lorton Community Action Center food pantry, tutors, and helps with events in Gunston Manor.


Dick Kennedy is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.  He moved to Mason Neck in 1978 with his wife, Sallie, and their two daughters grew up here. Dick is a PhD economist who has been getting more involved with local affairs since retiring in 2003, after 31 years as a CIA analyst. He is also Secretary of the Mason Neck Citizens Association and the Mason Neck Lions Club and is a member of the Sierra Club and several other environmental groups.


Steve Levenson joined the Board earlier this year.  He is an active boater on the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers.  He admires the amazing history and diversity of the wildlife of these waters. He’s been on several boards and hopes to contribute to this board to help guide greater public awareness, appreciation and responsible use of one of the natural jewels of the Potomac River.  

Professionally, Steve has been a technologist in a legal environment. His career spanned 45 years in municipal, state and federal courts. Steve retired from the Administrative Office of the US Courts about two and a half years ago after 34 years of service.  He currently heads a committee for the International Standards Organization for an archive version of PDF and participates in other world standards as well as being the chair of the Standards Advisory Board.


Gail Mlinarchik has been on the Board for 3 years. She is currently serving as Secretary.  Gail has been living in the Northern Virginia area since 1977 and all three of her children were raised and educated here. She is a graduate of Monmouth University and received her master's from George Mason University.  Gail retired from teaching in Fairfax County Schools in 2011. She enjoys nature, being outdoors and traveling around the world to learn about other places and cultures. She believes our state parks are a treasure we need to maintain and share with as many people as possible. 


Mary Scala has been a member of the Board for more than 3 years.  She is a retired Department of Defense employee who enjoys cycling and hiking.  She is an occasional volunteer sweep for evening kayak tours at Mason Neck State Park, and a regular Spring-migration volunteer with the bird-banding station at Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge.


Randy Streufert is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and is currently serving as Treasurer.  He is a nature photographer, long-time member of Cranford United Methodist Church in Lorton, and volunteers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Potomac River Refuge complex.  He joined the Friends Board in 2012 after retiring from the federal government with 40 years of service.  He been photographing the wildlife on Mason Neck since 1979 when he and his wife moved there.  His photographs have appeared on the cover of Virginia Wildlife magazine and one was selected by the National Wildlife Federation for their 2018 and 2019 Christmas cards.  Several of his photographs are on display at the park’s visitor center.


Kim Thompson is a founding member of the Friends of Mason Neck State Park and is currently serving as Vice President.  She is a Professor of Program Management at the Defense Acquisition University.  A former corporate attorney and business executive, she has served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit Boards of Directors. An enthusiastic hiker, kayaker, and nature photographer, she has volunteered at Mason Neck State Park for many years. 


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