This month we are featuring Debbie Gunnell as part of our Member Moment Series! As an AFF volunteer and the mother of one of our educators, Ashleigh Stovall, Debbie is a frequent visitor of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. We are pleased to showcase her this month and learn more about her hobbies and interests!
As a professional seamstress and floral designer, Debbie has a creative eye. Sewing for 55 years, she specializes in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. As a floral designer for 30 years, Debbie loves to design freeform, handheld arrangements, and also prefers to use locally sourced flowers and plants. Her favorite arrangements are those that accentuate the natural elements of the flowers.
Debbie has been a member for several years and first became interested in AFF due to her daughter, Ashleigh.
“She’s always been passionate about the world and people. So when she started working here she started to pique my interest.” Her daughter’s involvement was inspiring, and soon enough, Debbie found herself involved.
AFF’s mission of connecting children to the natural world, as well as encouraging young students to become the next generation of environmental stewards, is important to Debbie. “You need to take care of where you live and the people around you,” she states.
In fact, part of her involvement includes volunteering for our summer camp programs! She loved helping the children with the fun camp programs last year, especially learning about the macroinvertebrate at our Wet Meadow. She states, “I love kids and seeing things through their eyes. We had fun. We walked down to the water to see macroinvertebrates and they got so excited when [the kids] started finding things. It was just so much fun!”
When not at the farm, you can find Debbie enjoying one of her other passions, riding her motorcycle, a 1300 VTX Honda. Her most memorable ride was a nearly 2300 mile trek from Golden Beach, Maryland to Bar Harbor, Maine. Taking only backroads to enjoy the coastal view, she crossed 9 states, and the entire trip took ten days!
In addition to riding her motorcycle, which is painted with hibiscus flowers (and a helmet to match!), Debbie enjoys spending time with her children, David and Ashleigh, and her grandson, Jake. She especially enjoys visiting Golden Beach with her grandson to catch crabs and minnows. She also is an avid cyclist and is a fan of the Mount Vernon Trail.
An interesting fact about Debbie is that she’s tattooed from head to toe! She commemorates her various travels with colorful new artworks. As a lover of all things water, she particularly loves her mermaid and compass tattoos. A teacup she received in London also stands out, although her all time favorite tattoo is her grandson’s signature.
As for AFF’s future, she’s looking forward to getting involved with our summer camp programs again this year and attending our upcoming Spring Fest, as well as Pinot on the Potomac in the fall. We are so appreciative of Debbie’s support, and look forward to seeing her around the farm!