Volunteer Spotlight – June 2017
Julie Connelly was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Her dad owned a family printing and office supply company which his parents opened in 1904. Her parents each had a number of brothers and sisters, allowing her and her sister to spend lots of time with cousins, aunts and uncles who lived nearby. Her mom loved to garden and was busy in the garden club. Julie grew to love nature and developed a curious about botany, zoology and ecology. She graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology; followed by medical school at the University of Arkansas. Julie lived in Maine and New York while completing her medical education, before moving to Virginia in 1984. She worked for the University of Virginia helping to develop University Physicians in Orange and working in Charlottesville while teaching in the Center for Bioethics and Humanities and retired in 2011. Since then, Julie has been a member of the Virginia Master Naturalists, Old Rag Chapter. Along with other volunteers, Julie helped organize Reconnect with Nature, a project that aims to reconnect residents with nature via gardening, nature presentation, a bluebird trail, and a nature walk in the Healing Garden. This program grew from Julie’s interest to bring the joy of nature into Dogwood Village and helping residents reconnect with its mystery and beauty. After several years, the group was awarded the Virginia Group Volunteer Project of the Year by the Virginia Health Care Association.
For years Julie has enjoyed nature photography and often brings programs to the residents that focus on nature in various ways, e.g., Wildflowers of Virginia; Fossils and Tides of the Bay of Fundy. Julie is pictured with resident Jean Davis as they enjoy a nature walk in the Healing Garden.