As another busy year winds down, we want to share with you what the generosity of our supporters allowed us to accomplish in 2017. Below are some highlights from each month.
January and February: We served as a reasoned voice for scenic resources during the annual Legislative Session in Richmond.
March: We hired a second full-time employee, Annie Weidhaas, as our Program & Outreach Coordinator. Annie is developing an organizational Sustainability Plan, made possible through generous funding from the Beirne Carter Foundation.
April: We kicked off our 2017 Virginia Vistas Photo Contest on April 1. (No joke!)
May: We served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the 2018 edition of the Virginia Outdoors Plan — the only statewide document that references scenic resources in our Commonwealth.
June: We hosted a terrific friend-raising event at historic Waveland Farm in Fauquier County to tell our story and hear from engaged local citizens interested in scenic preservation.
July: We announced our gorgeous 2017 Virginia Vistas Photo Winners, once again hearing, “This is your best year ever!” (Remember that note card sets are available for purchase and make great holiday gifts!)
August: We celebrated the launch of the Route 5 Corridor Coalition’s new website at www.Route5Va.org. Scenic Virginia secured the website funding through the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Grant program.
September: We hosted our 2017 Scenic Awards Gala Reception & Ceremony at the Virginia State Capitol and recognized five very worthy recipients: Cessie and Bill Howell, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Virginia Big Tree Program, John D. Mitchell, and the Virginia Capital Trail. (Full information is available on our Home page.)
Also in September: Having expended significant staff time on advocating for the preservation of the historic viewshed at Jamestown (and taken a principled stand on the corporate funding we accept), Scenic Virginia knew that its work did not end when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the project permit over the summer. In early September, we filed an amicus brief petition in support of a lawsuit pending against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers based on their imprudent decision to issue a permit without requiring a complete Environmental Impact Study. The court approved our amici curiae status on October 20. We will keep you updated as the lawsuit proceeds.
October: Our Board approved a new Strategic Plan to guide us over the next three years. Stay tuned for more information on our vision for the future.
November: We elected a new slate of Officers at our Annual Meeting. Please join us in welcoming new President Lisa Dickinson Mountcastle and Vice President Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, as well as returning Secretary Sally H. Thomas and Treasurer Richard G. Gibbons, FASLA. Also, we are very grateful to retiring President Barry W. Starke, FASLA AICP for his four years of leadership.
December: We’re finalizing our 2018 Work Plan and preparing for the upcoming Legislative Session.
On deck: Soon, we will launch our Virginia ViewFinders program to identify our Commonwealth’s most scenic areas. ViewFinders is an important phase in the development of our Virginia Viewshed Register, a statewide scenic inventory that is the first of its kind in the U.S.
Also in development is a Scenic Resources Toolbox, an online compilation of scenic issues, best practices, and creative solutions to assist citizens, planners, and administrators in enhancing each locality’s scenic assets.
In closing: None of this would have been possible without your generous donations of time and money. On behalf of Scenic Virginia’s Board and Staff, we thank you for fueling our passion for scenic beauty with your own.