Dona’s best memories are visiting her maternal and paternal grandparents in rural southern Illinois. Every summer, she and her brother would spend weeks there, playing with cousins and at least in Dona’s case, absorbing a great love for nature, plants, gardening and cooking.
Helping Pappaw in the garden and Mammaw in the kitchen, she learned how satisfying gardening could be and how delicious fresh food cooked with love could be. Switching to the other side of the family, she and her somewhat older uncles would wander for hours way out in the country – exploring woods, fields and streams. Then back to the house where they were likely to find fresh, homemade donuts.
For several years, her education, professional life and raising her children, Kristin and Sean, kept her very busy, but she always had a flower garden. Whenever she would relocate, she took her flowers with her.
Her professional life echoed her love for nature – she became the Director of City of Evansville’s Environmental Protection Agency in 2001; then the City’s first Director of Sustainability, Energy and Environmental Quality (SEEQ) in 2010. She has been involved in promoting “Smart Growth” and green infrastructure to control storm water runoff; renewable energy, energy conservation, alternative fuels, greenspace, wildlife habitat and quality of life issues.
Dona and her husband, Richard Kuhn are Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists and hold certifications in Environmental Habitat Stewardship from the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Dona is a member of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (INPAWS), contributing to their quarterly newsletter. She also serves the Evansville Westside Improvement Association as newsletter editor, contributor and Environmental Chair.
She lives on 2.5 acres of second growth woodland which she and her husband are “reclaiming for nature” by removing invasive plants and re-introducing native species.