For decades, Elaine Tholen has advanced important education and environmental issues as a career educator and a volunteer in the Dranesville Community. She has devoted more than 40 years to science education, education leadership, environmental education, and environmental management. Students and families throughout Dranesville and Fairfax County have benefitted from her countless volunteer hours and years of service on behalf of local, regional, and state organizations. 

As a volunteer with the Fairfax Master Gardener program and the National Wildlife Federation, Elaine was instrumental in the designation of Great Falls as a Community Wildlife Habitat. She played a key role in the development of many Fairfax County Public Schools’ Schoolyard Habitats, as well as its environmental education program. 

From 2017 to 2020, she served as a Director and Treasurer for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Board. She also served with the statewide Soil and Water Conservation Districts, promoting education programs statewide and training district employees across Virginia in environmental education techniques and resources. 

Elaine co-founded NoVA Outside, served on the leadership board for the Virginia Association of Environmental Education, and assisted the VA No Child Left Inside Coalition to improve state education policy for science and environmental education. In her service on the Fairfax Public School Board, Elaine has advocated strongly for the promotion of STEM education, advanced academics, overall literacy, and sustainability measures. 

Elaine’s devotion to the environment and education has earned her several awards and recognitions, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Volunteer of the Year Award, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Environmental Excellence Award, and the Fairfax County Department of Public Works’ Partnership Award.

“For many years, Elaine’s tireless advocacy, leadership, and passion have improved our environment and provided support and opportunities for our young people in the Dranesville District and throughout Virginia.”