Mark Jennys has a love of all things technical. Combine that with his affinity for nature and fondness for Patapsco Valley State Park’s many beautiful areas with their picturesque waterfalls, rivers and bridges, and you can see why Mark never goes anywhere without his camera.
While between jobs as a computer system administrator for the Defense Department, Mark expanded his side job as an event photographer into the park system, leading photography programs throughout the PVSP system. Naturally, that venture led Mark to Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Northwest Baltimore County, where the unusual landscape captivated him. While the serpentine barrens, which cover much of the 2200 acres of Soldiers Delight, now preserved as a state-protected wildland, do not boast any rivers, waterfalls or bridges, we do offer a sublime peek into topography which, but for the incursion of invasive vegetation over the past 70 years, has not changed much for centuries. Mark was smitten with what he saw, and began leading night time and sunrise photography classes for the public at Soldiers Delight’s star-gazing field. He also became certified as an “approved” photographer for the Maryland Park System.
A stop into the Soldiers Delight’s visitor center revealed another layer of nature immersion Mark would soon delve into. One opportunity to see the magnificent raptors and other animals in the Patapsco Valley State Park aviary, which is housed at Soldiers Delight NEA, was enough to convince Mark to enroll in naturalist training where he learned to care for the birds and reptiles there, some of whom had sustained grievous injuries from car strikes and could no longer survive in the wild. These animals now serve as ambassadors in PVSP’s Scales & Tales program, which teaches children about nature and wildlife.
Casting about for additional volunteer opportunities to fill his time, Mark expressed an interest in joining the board of directors of Soldiers Delight Conservation, Inc., the Friends group for the NEA. He attended several meetings in 2013 and eventually was voted in.
Now Mark is once again gainfully employed as computer system team leader for a defense contractor, so the time he can spend attending board meetings, leading photography hikes and caring for animals in the Scales & Tales program is more limited. Nevertheless, Mark makes an effort to attend every board meeting he can and to assist with our periodic fundraising events and educational programming. And you’ll still never find him without his camera.