Virginia Conservation Network (VCN)

PEC coordinates with our partners at the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) on important statewide environmental issues. PEC’s president, Chris Miller, sits on the board of VCN, along with Stewart Schwartz, the executive director of PEC’s Coalition for Smarter Growth. Our director of state policy, Dan Holmes, sits on the VCN legislative committee, which coordinates collective action among the network’s partner groups during the annual General Assembly session.

About VCN

a green letter "v" left of text that says "Virginia Conservation Network"

Founded as the Conservation Council of Virginia in 1969, Virginia Conservation Network began as a roundtable of major conservation groups and has grown to include over 125 Network Partners across the Commonwealth (click here to see a full list of Network Partners). VCN is committed to building a powerful, diverse, and highly-coordinated conservation movement focused on protecting our Commonwealth’s natural resources.

VCN is a facilitator of strategic action, a resource for Network Partners statewide, and a constant conservation presence in Virginia’s Capitol. Playing a unique role in Virginia’s conservation community, VCN helps the community speak with one coordinated voice. The organization and its staff focus on strengthening the conservation community as a whole and winning environmental victories that benefit all Virginians.

VCN Executive Director Mary Rafferty and staff.

VCN’s Network Partners work on a wide range of issues from stream restoration to transportation reform to renewable energy advancement to promoting sustainable community growth and more. Given the diverse work of its partner organizations, VCN organizes its programs into four main categories: Healthy Rivers, Clean Energy and Climate, Land Conservation, and Land Use and Transportation.

VCN also serves as the state lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition—the regional coalition advocating for clean rivers and streams in communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—and as the Virginia state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation.

Our Common Agenda

Our Common Agenda.
Our Common Agenda, 2020.

Every fall before the next year’s General Assembly session, VCN produces a publication called Our Common Agenda, which represents the policy agenda of more than 125 organizations across the Commonwealth. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the conservation issues facing Virginia and provides practical, state-level policy solutions to keep us moving in the right direction.

The book covers a range of important topics, including restoring our rivers and streams to meet our Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals, a pathway to power Virginia with clean energy, transforming our transportation through investments in transit and walkable/bikeable communities, and conserving Virginia’s landscape and our outdoor economy from farmlands to hiking trails.

PEC staff are authors on a number of the white papers that go into this briefing book.

General Assembly Updates

Throughout the General Assembly session, VCN provides updates about key legislation on their blog. You can also follow specific bills using their bill tracker.