Download the 2017 Virginia Year in Review (pdf)
Message from Virginia Executive Director Locke Ogens
In September, we joined with the state in celebrating the first Virginia Public Lands Day. For our team at the Conservancy, the occasion was a chance to reflect on our history of collaboration with local, state and federal agencies and to celebrate the profound impact that our partnerships have made on Virginia’s landscape.
The Conservancy has had a hand in protecting more than 120,000 acres of public lands. That means more than a third of all the land we’ve protected in Virginia is not only open to the public to enjoy, but as Virginians, we actually share in its ownership.
These cooperative projects help meet Virginians’ needs for outdoor recreation and generate substantial economic benefits through nature-based tourism. Moreover, they enhance our organization’s credibility, build trust, and enable us to foster ever more ambitious and powerful conservation partnerships.
I saw this principle in action during my very first week as state director. At our Piney Grove Preserve and the neighboring Big Woods State Forest, which we helped the commonwealth acquire, I observed our largest-ever controlled burn in the Virginia Pinelands. Along the fire lines, I saw vehicles emblazoned with logos from a variety of state and federal agencies, as their crews labored side by side with our Conservancy staff members.
It was an inspiring sight, all of us working together toward our shared goal of restoring thousands of acres of critical forest habitat.
From bringing stakeholders to the table to confront environmental threats to deploying new scientific tools that empower communities to make informed decisions, we’re engaging partners in solving the top conservation challenges of our time and creating a world where nature and people can thrive.