The Virginia Conservation Network published the following release today:
Meeting over the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains, leaders of Virginia’s largest environmental organizations recognized staff from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation among Virginia’ “public land heroes.”
Joe Elton, director of Virginia Natural Heritage Program, were both on hand for a reception in their honor. 2011 is the 75th anniversary of Virginia State Parks and the 25th anniversary of Virginia’s Natural Area Preserve system, which is managed by the Natural Heritage Program.
“So often when we think of public lands’ we think of national parks and forests, but our state conservation agencies are doing amazing things with a fraction of the resources,” said Nathan Lott, executive director of Virginia Conservation Network. “Our state parks and preserves are one-of-a-kind places in every region of the commonwealth. The people protecting them deserve the thanks and support of every Virginian.”
Among the other honorees were Hullie Moore, recognized for efforts to protect air quality in parks while serving on the State Air Pollution Control Board, and Urbie Nash, who has spearheaded restoration projects on public lands for the nonprofit Trout Unlimited.
The reception was part of the 2011 Virginia Environmental Assembly conference, which took place Sept. 16-17 at Wintergreen Resort in Nelson Co. The conference included a series of presentations around the theme “Natural Assets: Conservation and the Rural Economy.”
Speakers from National Parks Conservation Association presented newly released data on the economic impact of Virginia’s parks and battlefields. The Charlottesville-based Green Infrastructure Center presented a new inventory of green infrastructure in Nelson Co., which was conducted with help from UVA graduate students.
The annual Virginia Environmental Assembly is presented by the Virginia Conservation Network, a statewide nonprofit coalition. Videos and archives from the event can be found at