Bluebells from PEC‘s Annual Bluebell Walk at Cedar Run. See a list of upcoming events at pecva.org/events. Photo by Cynthia Benitz
As I sit in my office, I can see the maple trees budding and about to burst open with the excitement that comes with every springtime in the Piedmont region. And that is how I feel about all of the upcoming activities we have planned this spring to help create better, more sustainable communities throughout our region.
I am encouraged by the positive efforts PEC is sponsoring across so many issues and places. In every case, we are trying to address the challenges our region faces with constructive, proactive solutions. The future faces many threats that have complex origins. We are working hard to provide you with the best information available to understand the challenges of land use, transportation, energy, food systems and pollution control.
Sometimes, the solutions are straight forward. For example, we know planting native trees helps produce habitat and food for wildlife, create riparian buffers to filter pollution before it enters streams and rivers, and provide shade to keep native fish cool in the summer. Planting many native trees can even reduce flooding and the effects of stormwater runoff. PEC’s Headwaters Stream Initiative, our collaborative effort with Friends of the Rappahannock, works to get more trees planted in the Rappahannock River watershed; and so does our work with suburban Homeowner Associations in Loudoun County in the Goose Creek and Potomac watersheds. If you are looking for something positive to do, plant some native trees from a local nursery!
Every day, I get updates on the progress at PEC’s Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows — and I can’t wait until the next bulletin! Skilled volunteers from the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club have already helped with planting seed trays, which are now sprouting and growing in the greenhouse at Blandy, the Virginia State Arboretum. The deer fencing is in, the tractor and plow are ready, and we are just waiting for the sun and wind to dry the soil enough so we can prepare the crop beds! This entire effort is to provide delicious, healthy food for families in need, while providing residents an opportunity to volunteer.
Every day, I get updates on advocacy efforts happening in each of our nine counties, in the General Assembly, and in Congress, where we are working hard to build support for funding the conservation and restoration of land and water. Despite turmoil in the headlines, we are making progress and building on the momentum of the bipartisan agreement on the Farm Bill that authorizes $450 million for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which funds projects like the Glenmary Farm easement we reported on last fall. Elected officials know programs that address quality of life issues are central to most people’s priorities for government.
Every day, I get updates on the long list of events PEC is sponsoring for people to see and learn about the history, natural resources and beauty of the Piedmont. The more I learn, the more I am motivated to provide for long-term conservation. This spring and summer, come participate in the pollinator survey at the Larson Native Plant Garden at our office in Warrenton, and learn which plants provide the most attractive food for bees and butterflies. You can also join our staff experts to learn about the current programs for funding conservation and restoration. And do not miss out on the special opportunity to see bluebells and other native plants as they come into bloom on a conserved property along Cedar Run. We look forward to seeing you this season!
Chis Miller, President
The Piedmont Environmental Council
This letter was featured in our Spring 2019 member newsletter, The Piedmont View.