While a national reckoning with the impacts of long-standing Confederate symbolism has brought about the sweeping removal of many Civil War statues across the commonwealth, at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, just ahead of Veteran’s Day, a new Civil War monument will rise up in Culpeper County, Virginia. Along Madden’s Tavern Road near the once-booming crossroads of Routes 610 and 724, this granite obelisk will memorialize the ultimate sacrifice of three veterans, United States Colored Troops (USCT) who were captured and executed by 9th Virginia Cavalry troops just 300 yards away on May 8, 1864.
When it comes to policies and decisions that impact communities and quality of life for their residents, the most important voices are those of community residents themselves. And since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has worked hard to be your eyes and ears on the ground and to encourage your voice in protecting the places and natural resources you care about.
Fauquier County’s second Rappahannock River kayak/canoe launch is now open at the Rector Tract, located at the end of River Road in Remington, giving county residents a new public access point to the state-designated scenic river. The timber-framed, concrete staircase, with a wooden slide for hand-launch of non-motorized vessels, was built over five days last week by Brad Mawyer of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Wes Hale and a crew of staff from Fauquier County Parks and Recreation, Maggi Blomstrom of The Piedmont Environmental Council, and three Fauquier County resident volunteers. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, Aug. 14 at 12 p.m.
A recent study by The Piedmont Environmental Council and American Farmland Trust, spurred by pandemic-related breakdowns in national and local food supply systems, has led to the development of a new meat-cutter training program to be offered by the Rappahannock Center for Education beginning late fall 2021. Using a national training model, the program is intended to help local meat processors expand their operations and increase their capacity to serve the region’s cattle farmers by building a larger pool of available skilled laborers in the field.
With a $50,000 grant from Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, and additional funding from The Musser Family Fund, Sacharuna Foundation and Culpeper Wellness Foundation, the Piedmont Environmental Council rolls out its summer milk and egg donation program this month, beginning the week of July 12.
In 1860, free and enslaved African Americans made up half of Fauquier County’s entire population. Black communities like Morgantown, two miles south of Marshall and where Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County President Karen Hughes White and Board Member Angela Davidson were raised, grew out of emancipation. They held powerful meaning as community centers where African Americans could freely do what they could not when they were enslaved: worship, conduct commerce, obtain education, own land.
In western Albemarle County, the cold, pristine waters of the Moormans River spill over a towering Sugar Hollow Dam and wind eastward for 14.3 miles. Flowing gently at first through historic Sugar Hollow and White Hall, it gathers strength and speed from Doyles River, Wards Creek, and other streams before joining the Mechum River at Brinnington to form the Rivanna River. Eventually, the Moormans’ waters reach the James River and the Chesapeake Bay.
The Piedmont Environmental Council is proudly working with multiple community partners to support local farms and farmers, create more public access to outdoor spaces, and support the county’s food insecure population. Some of these initiatives were inspired or amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, while others continue to advance PEC’s core mission of protecting and promoting the Piedmont’s natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty.
The Solarize Piedmont program is back through June 30 and available to homeowners and business owners in Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock counties, and the City of Charlottesville. Solarize Piedmont makes adding solar power, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging stations to homes and businesses easier and more affordable than ever, by leveraging the collective buying power of many to provide a one-stop shop for solar education, vetted installers, and discounted pricing.