The Piedmont View

Fall 2015 Piedmont View

The 2015 fall editon of the Piedmont View includes a feature article about dark skies and their importance to quality of life in our region. You'll also read an article about a conservation milestone in Fauquier County and a new trail connecting Montpelier and The Market at Grelen. You can read individual articles online or view a PDF for the entire issue.

Family at Hollin Farms in Delaplane. Photo by Debby Taylor.

We all love the Piedmont region. For many of us, that emotional connection stems from specific places. Our home. Our land. Our yard. Our familiar routes along byways and trails. A particular view, or a special stretch of stream. That strong, direct connection has motivated thousands of families to volunteer to conserve their land. 

At a recent pasture management field day, over 25 farmers, landowners and service providers toured Over Jordan Farm in Rappahannock County with Bean Hollow Grassfed owner Michael Sands. Sands gave advice on everything from fencing layouts and watering systems to the number of animals he grazes. He runs roughly 20,000 pounds of livestock per acre per day in a pasture for two days before rotating and letting the field rest for 90 days. 

The Fellowship group of 2015, selected from a competitive national pool of applicants, took advantage of the incredible opportunities made available by PEC and its partners. From visiting the Jones Nature Preserve to participating in a mock Board of Supervisors meeting to harvesting organic garlic at Sunnyside Farm, the fellows immersed themselves in learning about the Piedmont region’s land conservation, watershed health, sustainable agriculture, historic preservation, land use issues and more. 

Hikers walk along the Montpelier-Grelen Trail.  Photo by Peter Hujik

Walking downhill through the open meadow, one gets a sense of liberty that comes when exploring this tranquil, rural place. At the bottom of the hill, there’s an historic log structure, which provides a glimpse into the property’s past. Once the pathway leads into the forest, you begin ascending the mountain to find spectacular views of the Blue Ridge. 

A significant milestone happened this summer that took the collective effort of hundreds of landowners, farmers and families. Leading the charge, Fauquier became the first county in Virginia to forever preserve more than 100,000 acres of land using conservation easements.

A few weeks ago, friends from D.C. were visiting for the weekend. As the evening wore on, we found ourselves outside discussing current events, the latest gossip, and our plans for the fall—when, inevitably, eyes turned toward the sky, and I heard something I often hear from friends visiting, “Wow! Look at all the stars.”


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