Donna Burt Awarded Dave Adams Award For 20 Years of Service



Charles McLaughlin, Marketing/Ops Coordinator, Dunwoody Nature Center, 770-394-3322

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July 1, 2020




Dunwoody, Ga. — For 20 years, Thursdays have become known as “Donna’s Day” at the Dunwoody Nature Center.  Rain or shine, hot or cold, Donna Burt would come every Thursday and perform any task the staff needed like sending mail, preparing supplies for birthday parties or other educational programs and giving feedback on any topic that her many years of experience made appropriate. Her presence on Thursdays was a constant that she and the Nature Center looked forward too and relied on.  But the Covid 19 quarantine not only halted programming at the Nature Center for three months, it forced the 85 year old Donna to shelter in place at her home.  


After three months of Donna Burt being unable to come to the center, The Dunwoody Nature Center decided to come to her. On Thursday, June 18th, several Nature Center staff, board members, and longtime supporters surprised Donna at her home and shared a meal outside amidst her prolific rose bushes.  


The occasion wasn’t just lunch. To honor her 20 years of dedicated service, The Board of the Nature Center awarded Donna Burt this year’s Dave Adam’s Award which annually recognizes the greatest contributor who furthers the mission to inspire a love of nature.


Donna has been a part of the Dunwoody Nature Center since 1999. Every Thursday Donna would assist with special events, field trips, and nature classes. Her commitment to inspiring a love of nature goes back to her childhood. 


“I’m crazy about the Nature Center,” said Donna. “I grew up in the woods. I lived in a small town and when I was 10 or 11, I would leave the house and explore nature until dinnertime. My son did the same thing.”



The Dave Adams Award was created to honor the husband of the Nature Center’s founding president, Pat Adams. The award is given annually in the spring at the Nature Center’s biggest fundraiser, Monarchs & Margaritas. Since the fundraiser could not be held, it was not a difficult decision for the Board to decide to personally present the award to Donna at her home.


“We are blessed with many volunteers at the Nature Center,” said Executive Director Michael Cowan, “but we hit the jackpot with Donna Burt. Her level of dedication and commitment to our mission is what makes her so deserving of our highest honor. It just isn’t the same without her being here each Thursday. We are looking forward to her return after summer camp as much as she is!”


“When I got the award I started crying,” said Donna. “I was very touched. It’s nice to be appreciated.”






Picture 1: Donna Burt touched with emotion after receiving the Dave Adam’s Award at her home.


Picture 2: Pictured from left to right: Pat Adams, Founding President; Su Ellis, Board; Donna Burt; Jany Brown, Board President; Michael Cowan, Executive Director. 





“The nature center is important to me because I am concerned that today’s children lack a connection to nature and spend too much time inside.  I spent most of my time growing up outside and raised a son that way.  I wish every kid could!”


“I come from a family of volunteers. My father and mother both volunteered. It’s just a natural thing to me.”


“I’m crazy about the Nature Center. I grew up in the woods. I lived in a small town and when I was 10 or 11, I would leave the house and explore nature until dinnertime. My son did the same thing.”


“I have more fun than the kids do.”



“It was a really big surprise. It didn’t even enter my mind that I could get the award. They did a great job with keeping it a secret. I really appreciate it!”


“When I got the award I started crying I was very touched. It’s nice to be appreciated.”



Volunteer @ DNC:

  • Since ‘99 or 2000
  • 1x a week
  • Special events, busy tasks, field trips, teaching classes, 

Volunteer in Dunwoody:

  • Taught swim lessons @ neighborhood pool
  • Dunwoody Garden Club
  • Library
  • Neighborhood Watch Chair
  • Committee for replanting Dunwoody Forest after tornado in ‘98/’99

Rose Garden:

  • 500-600 rose bushes
  • 800+ when husband was alive
  • Mother and mother-in-law were gardeners
  • Every time she moved, she brings rose bushes with her
  • Keeps up with rose bushes by herself

Fun Story:

  • While volunteering at the Nature Center one year, she was working with the younger kids one day. A visitor came and brought a land tortoise for the kids to see. One little boy was terrified of the animal. She asked him “why?” The little boy replied that he was scared because it looked like a ninja turtle. She now says she makes it her mission to teach about nature so “ kids won’t think all turtles are ninja turtles.”