Dominion Foundation Donates $1.1 Million to The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina

Gift to go toward Warm Springs Mountain, Bear Rocks, and Nags Head Woods

Michael Lipford Receives Check

Michael Lipford, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Virginia, receives check from Pam Faggert, Vice President and Chief Environmental Officer, and William C. Hall, Jr., President, of the Dominion Foundation.

WARM SPRINGS, VA | January 27, 2009

The Nature Conservancy announced today the Dominion Foundation awarded a $1.1 million gift to the international group to help advance its conservation work in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The Dominion Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Power. 

The $1.1 million gift will be split among three Conservancy preserves: $300,000 will go to Bear Rocks Preserve in West Virginia, $700,000 will go to support Warm Springs Mountain Preserve in Virginia, and $100,000 will go to Nags Head Woods Preserve in North Carolina.  

“Dominion is pleased to provide this contribution to The Nature Conservancy,” said William C. Hall Jr., vice president-Corporate Communications and president of the Dominion Foundation. “It is vitally important for businesses to support environmental stewardship. We are proud to be able to help The Nature Conservancy preserve pristine areas of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.”

In West Virginia, this gift continues Dominion's commitment to the Conservancy's work on the Dolly Sods plateau, including at Bear Rocks, a 477-acre preserve that was donated by Dominion in 2000.

The Conservancy has protected over 21,000 acres of this high country of spruce forests, vast heathlands, and extensive cranberry bogs.

"Dominion's support will allow us to further our efforts here, we are grateful for their gift," said Rodney Bartgis, director of The Nature Conservancy of West Virginia. “This will help us protect habitat here for animals, such as the Cheat Mountain salamander, that occur on just a few West Virginia mountaintops and nowhere else. Northern animals, such as fisher and snowshoe hare, as well as widespread ones such as black bear and bobcat, will also benefit from Dominion’s gift.”

In Virginia, Michael Lipford, director of The Nature Conservancy of Virginia said, “The Nature Conservancy of Virginia is very appreciative of this gift from the Dominion Foundation. Their support will help protect one of the finest forested landscapes in the Allegheny Highlands and in the Commonwealth, at Warm Springs Mountain.”

The Conservancy purchased Warm Springs Mountain Preserve, which overlooks the historic Homestead resort, in March 2002 for $6.2 million. The acquisition remains the Conservancy’s single largest land purchase in Virginia. Through diverse conservation partnerships, the Conservancy continues to conduct research, protect additional land and restore native habitat. 

Warm Springs Mountain and the pristine Cowpasture River cutting along its foot open windows to this region’s remarkable natural world. Swift streams thread across the mountain, and unusual plants such as bunchberry still flourish here. In places, the thriving hardwood forest suddenly gives way to a globally rare montane pine barren — arid terrain blanketed with stunted pitch pine and shrubs.

This extraordinary diversity of habitats and species led the Conservancy to target Warm Springs Mountain as the focal point of its work in the Allegheny Highlands. More recently, conservation planners have identified the entirety of the surrounding Central Appalachians — running from Virginia north to Pennsylvania — as one of the Conservancy’s top global priorities.

“Virginia’s lands and waters are being changed at unprecedented rates,” said Lipford. “So, The Nature Conservancy is indeed fortunate to have the Dominion Foundation as a partner in accomplishing our increasingly important conservation work.”

Fred Annand, associate director of The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina, commented on Dominion’s gift to Nags Head Woods Preserve.

“Nags Head Woods is very special place,” said Annand. “This contribution will help us build a trail for people with disabilities, so they can experience this beautiful spot firsthand.”

Nags Head Woods was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974, and protecting its unique habitats was one of the Conservancy’s first priorities in North Carolina. Working with the towns and other partners, The Nature Conservancy has succeeded in protecting this fragile ecosystem, overseeing both terrestrial and marine research and monitoring programs and providing trails for visitors to enjoy.

Nags Head Woods features a diversity of plant and animal life that is unusual to find on a barrier island. Towering oaks, hickories, and beech trees — some hundreds of years old — rise from the sand and create a canopy of trees more typical of the mountains of the eastern United States.

Over 100 species of birds have been documented at Nags Head Woods. Fifteen species of amphibians and 28 species of reptiles have been documented as well. The freshwater ponds are inhabited by seven species of fish and many reptiles and amphibians in addition to a great diversity of floating aquatic plant life, including the rare water violet. An extensive marsh system bordering Roanoke Sound on the western side of the preserve supports a wealth of wildlife including river otter, egrets, herons, and many species of migratory waterfowl.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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Jon Schwedler

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