Why Heritage Conservancy?: An Interview with Paula Walter

Our “Why Heritage Conservancy?” series continues with an interview from Paula Walter, a dedicated volunteer and friend to our organization. Throughout 2021, we had an incredible group of volunteers! We wanted to highlight Paula to express our gratitude for donating the most volunteer hours this year, and we look forward to all that she will accomplish in 2022.

It all started when Paula and her husband took a tour of Aldie Mansion during the holiday season a few years ago. She recalled falling in love with Aldie and being inspired by our mission. So much so that upon returning home, she immediately visited our website, located the volunteer opportunities, and decided to become a docent for Aldie. Through providing guided tours of Aldie Mansion, Paula was able to truly get to know the mansion and its history while challenging herself in her volunteer role. She considered herself to be shy and uncomfortable with public speaking, so this was the perfect chance to stretch her comfort level while getting involved with something she is passionate about.

“Heritage Conservancy is a huge reservoir for learning about history, the environment, and myself. I give as many hours as I do because I share most of the same ideals as Heritage Conservancy, and I respect the actions that they are taking to achieve their mission, from open space preservation to education,” Paula shared.

Volunteering is a unique experience to each individual, as they can choose an activity from an array of options that best aligns with their interests.

“I would absolutely recommend volunteering within the Conservancy. There are so many opportunities, whether you are an artist, writer, gardener, historian, environmentalist, or just want to be part of an organization that is trying to make a positive difference to the community. There are learning opportunities at every turn. The very friendly staff never fails to make you feel engaged or appreciated,” Paula stated.

As a docent, Paula gets the opportunity to educate the public on the history of Aldie Mansion, the Mercer legacy, and the work that we do. Equally as special for her is gardening at our Russell-Mandel Preserve. She enjoys feeling the serenity of the beautiful preserve while knowing that her improvements to the property will be part of an educational tool for native gardening, biodiversity, habitat, and more.

“As Heritage Conservancy’s reach touches more and more people in our community, through its many programs and partnerships, I am very fortunate and proud to be part of their volunteer team,” Paula continued.

We are extremely proud to have Paula and each volunteer that is kind enough and passionate enough to donate their time to preserving the community that we all love and share!

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, contact Melissa at