At the Alliance, we started 2020 with big goals. Now, half-way through and thrown more than one curve ball, we’re still on course, albeit with some changes.
As we’ve said before, and themed our whole summer newsletter around (email if you need a copy!), the role of strong, well-connected, resilient communities and local economies are more important now than ever, as we rebuild our Valley post-COVID. So, with that in mind, we are moving forward and have welcomed onboard two new staff and are looking for two more!
Welcome new staff
Chris Anderson – Page and Warren County Coordinator. We are very excited to be realizing our goal of expanding into our service area in the way we know works – with a local staff member on the ground to closely follow local issues. And we couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit than Chris. Many of you have probably crossed paths with her before. She’s worked in the conservation landscape for twenty years in addition to serving many board roles, all while honing her skills as a photographer and watercolor artist. One of Chris’ first tasks is to hear from Page and Warren county landowners, so if that’s you, please take a couple minutes to answer a few questions from Chris. Or send her a message!
David Birkenthal – Community Planning and Policy Associate. We met David in our candidate search for the Page and Warren County Coordinator and were impressed with his policy experience in Richmond combined with his graduate work in planning. David has hit the ground running and is working on building out our revolving loan fund (a fund to help landowners offset the costs of completing a conservation easement – more to come on that!), creating a fall community planning project in Rockingham County (also more to come on that!) and diving into state policy effects on our region, like the new Conserve Virginia, the state’s land conservation strategy. It’s very likely that David’s work will inform a lot of the communications you get from us, so if you’d like to reach out to him directly, do!
Filling two exciting new collaborative positions
Late last year we announced an expansion of the Shenandoah Valley Conservation Collaborative (SVCC), a partnership of land trusts, watershed groups, conservation agencies and nonprofits in the Valley, with funding we received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. In addition to building capacity for land conservation and staying power for the Collaborative, SVCC partners have ambitious goals in the implementation of farming practices to improve water quality. We’ve just launched a search for two stellar candidates for this important work – please share these posts widely in your networks!
Still working, but from home
When we hunkered down in our home offices back in March, it seemed like a short-term thing. Now, three months later, we know the return to ‘normal’ work will be a long and slow journey. We have decided to continue with remote work for our staff until Labor Day while meeting periodically in-person at a safe distance in outdoor venues (good thing we have a lot to choose from here in the Valley!). Our board meetings will also continue to be virtual, likely until late summer. It is our hope that by fall, we’ll be back in the New Market office on a regular basis, with a creative staggered work schedule to will keep us all safe and healthy. For now, we are still checking our office mail, voicemail, and, of course, email (you can find staff emails in the bios here), so please be in touch with any news or concerns from your neck of the woods!