On the Ground (Summer 2013)

There’s a lot going on throughout the region, including short stories from Fauquier, Loudoun, Madison and Orange.


Historic Warrenton Farm Property Protected

Marion Poynter permanently protected her historic 47-acre farm property, called The Meadows, by donating a conservation easement this spring. The easement is held by PEC, andit was the first ease-ment recorded in Fauquier County in 2013.

The property was a part of a grant from the King of England given to the Blackwell family in the mid-1700s, and the oldest part of the historic house was built in the late 1700s. The Blackwell-Carter Family Cemetery, where at least four generations of the Blackwell and Carter families are buried, lies just southeast of the house.

Poynter bought the property in 1983: “I didn’t know about the historical aspect of this house and property when I bought it,” she explains, “but now I find it the most interesting part. This is a reference to what used to be, and that’s fascinating and something worth preserving… Since the property is on a scenic byway and close to town—it could be very appealing to developers. I wanted to be sure that didn’t happen.”

This easement will not only protect and important historical resource, but also the water quality of the streams on the property. These streams flow into Airlie Lake, which provides drinking water for Warrenton. They also flow into a tributary of Cedar Run, which is a part of the Occoquan watershed and provides drinking water for much of Northern Virginia.

“As I understand it, you can’t call yourself a Virginian unless you’ve been here for at least four generations,” laughs Poynter. “So, this is my way to be an adopted part of Virginia history…There are few things that you can really control after your death, but this is something that I can really ensure will continue on.”


New Middleburg Office and a Big ‘Thank You!’

To better serve our Loudoun constituents, PEC opened the doors of a small, new office in Middleburg this spring. The office is located above the Middleburg Common Grounds coffee shop at 114 West Washington Street, directly across the street from the U.S Post Office. Be sure to stop by sometime and meet Mike Kane, PEC’s Loudoun County Conservation Officer.

We’d also like to thank the over 4,000 people who came out for this year’s EarthDay@Loudoun! The event was a great success, and our staff had a blast getting to meet and chat with those who came by our stations. We hope to see you at next year’s event!


Madison’s Mountain Heritage Day—Celebrating our region’s story

In early March, PEC and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) hosted a free, public “Mountain Heritage Day” at the historic Edgar Meadows’ Cabin in Syria. The open house event was a great success—with over 250 people stopping by throughout the day.

The purpose of the Mountain Heritage Day was to highlight what life was like in Madison County’s mountain communities in the early 1900s. Those at the event could hike around the area, or just relax and enjoy the warm fire, good food, great local music and good company. Local families provided historical exhibits inside the cabin to celebrate and remember those who lived in the mountain communities—before they were forced off of their land in the mid-1930s with the creation of the Shenandoah National Park.

The descendants of these families who attended the event to share their family histories and stories included Doug Graves, whose family lived in the Grave Mills area; Kathy Slaughter of the Breeden and Slaughter families; PEC’s Kristie Kendall of the Shotwell and Tanner families; and Ellen Early and her father Alvin Meadows of the Meadows family—who grew up in the cabin where the event was held.

“I was so excited to see so many people there from all over the county, and there were more relatives than I ever expected,” says Ellen Early. “Mom and Dad get tired pretty easily and aren’t willing to stay in one spot too long… So, at about 3 p.m., I asked Dad if they were ready to go and he said, “In a little bit.” His response blew me away. I was overcome with joy to see them enjoying the people, stories and music so much. They both have asked when we can do it again.”

Looking for other great events in Madison? Mark your calendar for the commemoration of the 150th Anniver-sary of The Battle of Jack Shop on September 21st. PEC is co-hosting this exciting event, and more details are available at www.pecva.org/jacks-shop


PEC Gifts Land to Grymes Memorial School

PEC was thrilled this March to announce the transfer of nine acres of land, just outside the Town of Orange, from PEC’s ownership to that of the neighboring Grymes Memo-rial School.

“This beautiful land, with scenic views of the Blue Ridge, rounds out our campus nicely,” says Penny Work, Head of Grymes Memorial School. “We will use the land as an outdoor classroom and as playing fields for our students. We can’t thank PEC enough for their vision and generosity. This gift will benefit generations of children in Orange County.”

“What would it be like to grow up without wild places to run around in and explore?” remarks Peter Hujik, PEC’s Land Conservation staff in Orange. “Kids need nature. Statistics show that children are spending more time inside, but a growing body of research confirms what many have long known—spending time outdoors is beneficial and important in a child’s development.”

The nine acres were a part of a 268-acre farm property known as Andrewsia, which PEC received as a donation from the Artery Group in 2009. PEC subsequently conserved the property with a conservation easement in 2012—ensuring that the land will remain rural for generations to come.

These articles were featured in our Summer 2013 Member Newsletter, The Piedmont View.  You can read more of the articles online or view a PDF of the summer issue if you prefer.