Teta Kain has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable, a forum for information sharing and collaboration among water quality and conservation-minded stakeholders within the York River, Mobjack Bay and Piankatank River as well as the Dragon Run, Mattaponi River and Pamunkey River. The Roundtable presents the Lifetime Achievement Award at its biennial conference to individuals who have a lifetime of volunteer service focused on educating and protecting the quality of life within the watershed.
On June 22, Friends of Dragon Run will also honor Kain by dedicating the Teta Kain Nature Preserve. The preserve is located on Farley Park Road (Route 603) at the New Dragon Bridge in Middlesex County.
Like the Lifetime Achievement award, the new name for this FODR property recognizes Kain’s extraordinary volunteer service to Virginia and the Middle Peninsula through her decades of work on species counts, protecting swamps and wetlands, capturing nature through photography, as a nature guide for hikes and kayak tours, as a speaker about the natural world, as the leader of nature-focused organizations in Virginia, and as the organizer of bird counts, butterfly counts and moth nights.
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A force of nature, Kain’s enthusiasm and leadership have made key and measurable contributions to the natural world. She always has both a sense of purpose and a sense of humor. Legions of Virginians know more about nature and became nature enthusiasts based on her charismatic skill and magic. She has gifted environmental literacy to countless individuals and groups.
For 35 years Kain has been a key leader within Friends of Dragon Run, as a former president of the organization but most famously as the kayak paddle guide who led more than a thousand individuals on tours of the Dragon and the Dragon Run watershed. She is known to many far and wide as the Doyenne of the Dragon, later as the Queen of the Dragon, and now as the Empress of the Dragon.
As a leader for the Friends of Dragon Run, she also worked with the counties and their governments in the Middle Peninsula, various steering committees and commissions, and Virginia agencies and organizations to protect Dragon Run and expand knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Dragon and Virginia. Kain both inspires and educates with her presentations about the flora of Dragon Run and the rich biodiversity found in the forests, swamps and wetlands.
She is an extraordinary communicator and a life-long learner. Her energy, positive attitude, subject matter expertise and communication skills have had a clear and measurable impact on motivating people to learn about and embrace the natural world and to volunteer. Her volunteer work defines what it means to be a selfless naturalist who betters the commonwealth of Virginia. Kain is an extraordinary informal educator, a dynamic spokesperson and leader for the natural world, and a champion for the importance of conserving and protecting the natural world and her beloved Dragon Run.
Her own words describe her years in Virginia: “[I] met literally thousands of people, chased a million birds and butterflies…[there] aren’t enough hours to do all of the wonderful things to be had here.”
Friends of Dragon Run is a non-profit corporation. Its mission is to protect, preserve and encourage the wise use of the Dragon Run watershed. It fulfills that mission through education, stewardship and citizen science. For more information about Dragon Run and to join its activities, visit DragonRun.org.