Donna grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and spent a lot of time exploring the rivers, fields, and forests near her home and on many family trips. She has worked for over 30 years as a biologist, naturalist, and environmental educator. In this second part of her life after retirement, she is focused on helping others.
Donna currently lives outside of MD, her husband, James, in a beautiful relaxing area on the Choptank River.
Donna is a certified Holy Fire Karuna® and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, and is excited to offer Reiki at a new location near Hurlock, and at Coastal Retreat in Easton. She is a member of the International Center for Reiki Training and the International Association of Reiki Practitioners (IARP).
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Holy Fire Karuna® III Reiki Master/Teacher (2019) Personal Wellness Center
Usui Ryoho Reiki Master/Teacher, (2015) Evergreen Cove
Environmental Education, M.S. (2008), Nova Southeastern University
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Biology, B.S. (1984), Millersville University of Pennsylvania
How do I explain this transition from biologist and science educator to being a Reiki Master?
Scientists are often skeptical of something they can’t tangibly measure.
So here’s a deeper look into my background:
My brother and I grew up in Queen Anne’s County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the children of a wildlife biologist and a stay at home Mom. We had a wonderful upbringing being lucky enough to grow up on the water in a rural setting with parents who loved the outdoors.
During the summers we rented a cabin in Western Maryland, or took long vacations to our father’s family’s farm in Minnesota where he was raised. At home we walked the shorelines looking for interesting critters or soft crabbed in the lush grass beds. On hot summer evenings the whole family would take the small wooden skiff out to Eastern Bay and fish or dip crabs off of the still water surface.
In the winter, we explored the grassy fields near our home, played in the snow, harvested fish from a gill net set behind our house, and helped our father with his field work year-round.
We were outside – all of the time.
That love for nature translated to future careers, for both of us.
For two summers I worked for the Youth Conservation Corps sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where I and other high school students learned to identify submerged aquatic vegetation – including the scientific names! I later went to Millersville University of Pennsylvania in Lancaster County, and fell in love with botany. I took every botany course I could, including a 3-week course in the Smoky Mountains. On my summer vacations, Dad and I would take a walk after dinner, and he would quiz me on the plants along our trek – including the scientific names! For three summers I was lucky enough to work for the MD Department of Natural Resources collecting submerged aquatic vegetation and water quality data in the Chesapeake and Eastern Shore Tributaries.
After graduating and working in several seasonal jobs that included environmental education, water quality and biological sampling of Chesapeake streams, anadromous fish field work, data collection monitoring to Canada goose populations in Maryland. I worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Annapolis and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and finally found a full-time gig at a toxicology laboratory.
But that position was inside four walls, and was particularly stressful, so after having a child I found a position as an environmental educator with the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory on the shores of the Choptank River outside of Cambridge. There I worked with students, teaching science, environmental issues, running summer programs, and providing teacher workshops.
After twenty years with Horn Point Laboratory, I worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sharing NOAA science with teachers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Which brings us to Reiki. Where did THAT come from?!
I began my healing journey through Reiki for Lyme disease in 2011, when I began training with my Reiki Master, Del St. Ana at Evergreen Cove in Easton, MD. I had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and two other tick-borne diseases in 2010, which explained why I was so very, very fatigued, and why my body hurt so. I had tried to deny that I was sick, but when I started a Jazzercise class with a friend, every joint in my body began to hurt - not my muscles, just my joints. I thought that was rather strange, and so I started contemplating the possibility that perhaps I did have Lyme disease. I had been bitten at least three times, with the classic bull’s eye rash appearing.
Hindsight is 20/20, so I thought back on the times I had been bitten. I had never experienced a deer tick bite before assisting my father in the 30-year follow-up study of his original Master’s Degree research. It was on Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay looking for black duck nests with Vern Stotts, Linda Andreasen, and John Gill. We were working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the time.
We walked into a heron and egret rookery through a terrain of poison ivy, greenbrier, Japanese honeysuckle, and loblolly pine. We dodged vomit and bird droppings from the rookery above, and when we broke for lunch, we saw a “plethora” (gazillion) of ticks climbing up our pants and under our shirts. We must have picked at least a hundred ticks off of each other! When I got home and stripped down there were dozens of ticks attached to my body – everywhere – in my hair, on my butt – you name it! This was in 1986.
That fall I came down with “pneumonia” that would get better with antibiotics, but it would return in full force in only a week or two. My doctor kept treating me for pneumonia off and on for six months, but the antibiotics never kicked whatever it was that was ailing me. I would run a fever, but the coughing I experienced was so dry and painful it was debilitating. So I conferred with another doctor. He tested me for all kinds of things and was about to put me on medication for asthma, when he noticed one of the tests he ordered had not come back. He called and they confirmed that I had Legionnaire’s disease.
There were no other incidents of Legionnaire’s disease in the places where I had been working that summer – not at the US Fish and Wildlife Service office in Annapolis, nor at the Holiday Inn where another biologist and I would stay while collecting water and fish samples near a coal fired power plant on the James River in Virginia.
More to follow...