Saving Land In Western Virginia
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Youâ€™re Invited to Our 2012 Conservation Celebration Barbara B. Lemon Selected for Vic Thomas Award Ned & Janet Yost Selected for Land Saver Award Grandin Court Elementary â€˜ Garden Club Grows
Western Virginia Land Trust Promoting the conservation of western Virginia’s natural resources – farms, forests, waterways, and rural landscapes. 722 First St., SW, Suite L Roanoke, VA 24016-4120 Phone/fax (540) 985-0000 www.westernvirginialandtrust.org
Board of Trustees Sandy Light, President Stephen M. Claytor, Vice President F. Fulton Galer, Treasurer Whitney H. Feldmann, Secretary M. Rupert Cutler Lynn M. Davis Lucy R. Ellett Peter M. Fellers Broaddus C. Fitzpatrick Robert H. Hunt George A. Kegley Samuel B. Long J.W. “Bill” Mason David L. Maxson John H. Parrott, Jr. Linda W. Pharis Janet Scheid Daniel C. Summerlin James M. Turner, Jr.
Advisory Council Liza T. Field William M. Hackworth Talfourd H. Kemper Robert B. Lambeth, Jr. Barbara B. Lemon Stephen W. Lemon Jeanne M. Martin John B. Williamson, III
Staff David C. Perry Executive Director
Diana M. Hackenburg Project Manager Fall 2012
From the Director’s Desk If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants. --Sir Isaac Newton, in a letter to Robert Hooke, 1676
ery few of us accomplish anything of importance without significant help from others. Whether it’s science, where every new discovery is based on the work of hundreds of other people, or football, in which every touchdown pass is the David Perry combined effort of not just quarterback and receiver, but of blocking tight ends, centers and guards, we all “get by with a little help from our friends.” That’s why it’s so rewarding to honor two of the Western Virginia Land Trust’s best friends at September’s Conservation Celebration: past president Barbara Lemon of Roanoke, who will receive the 2012 A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award, and Ned and Janet Yost, recipients of this year’s Land Saver Award, who spend part of their time in Montgomery County and the rest in Charlottesville. I never had the privilege of working with Barbara, but I do know that she guided the Western Virginia Land Trust during its early years, helping to sort out the many, many details that arise when forming an organization from scratch: Where would the board meet? Who would the officers be? What would the land trust’s first projects be? And how would they pay for the whole thing? Mrs. Lemon helped to establish the land trust’s mission and credibility. She oversaw WVLT’s acceptance of its first conservation easements on important
lands that WVLT staff continue to monitor annually and will do so in the future. Today, Barbara still holds the land trust close to her heart, recently making a generous donation to the land trust’s fund at the Foundation for Roanoke Valley and still serving on an ad-hoc committee. Ned Yost is a come-here, not a fromhere, as his Midwestern accent quickly reveals to anyone within earshot. A retired insurance salesman, Ned has put his powers of persuasion to work in the Catawba Valley in Roanoke and Montgomery counties, where he and wife Janet have placed a conservation easement on the historic McDonald’s Mill property. I doubt that anyone who places a conservation easement on their land along the North Fork of the Roanoke, or further north on Catawba Creek, will have done so without having first heard a pitch from Ned to protect their land. He is a true grass-roots advocate, someone who has “put his deed where his mouth is,” as fellow easement donor Madison Marye once said. So let us remember the words of Isaac Newton, written some three-and-a-half centuries ago, and remind ourselves that the good work the land trust does today is the result of the good work done by many others, now and in the past. Thank you, Barbara, Ned and Janet—like the land we preserve, your contributions will long outlast all of us. You can read more about Barbara Lemon on page 6 and Ned and Janet Yost on page 7. Be sure to join us at the Conservation Celebration on September 16, where the land trust will honor Barbara, Ned and Janet.
Cover photo: Grandin Court Elementary students and garden club participants work together to weed a raised bed. Credit: Diana Hackenburg.
Table of Contents Fall 2012
4 6 7 9 20
2 3 5 9
From the Directors Desk President’s Point of View New & Events People & Places
Photo by Diana Hackenburg
Conservation Celebration Barbara Lemon, an Enduring Environmental Steward By George Kegley Ned Yost to be Honored as Land Saver Extraordinaire By George Kegley Eat Local and Save Land! Land+Link Photo Competition
The Garden Club
President’s Point of View
ne of our land trust’s long-standing goals has been to increase public awareness of the very significant contributions we make to the quality of life in our region. And because the acres we preserve are protected forever, we understand that it is essential to educate young people about the importance as well as the joy of conserving and treasuring our natural resources.
Our executive director, David Perry, believes that “It’s important that children understand the connection between the land and the food they eat. The Garden Club is a very hands-on way to teach that connection.” One excited 7-year old told an interviewer on WSLS Channel 10 news that the Garden Club “helps you learn lots of skills... so, it would be kind of good for later in life!” You can turn to page 10 to learn more and also visit our website to enjoy wonderful photos of our busy, fun-loving children and the results of their hard work!
This challenge led us to our newest outreach venture: our after school Garden Club, created in partnership with Grandin Court Elementary School in Roanoke, volunteer teachers and parents. Led by WVLT Project Manager Diana Hackenburg, the Garden Club has been such a huge success that it will be expanded into other schools so that even more children will be able to enjoy its benefits. Fall 2012
Join Us for Our Annual Conservation Celebration Don’t miss out on our unique silent auction items!
Credit: all photos by Johnathan Roberts.
ark your calendars and RSVP now for our annual Conservation Celebration on Sunday, September 16 from 4-7pm at Braeloch in Vinton, VA. Enjoy an unforgettable feast of food and music while also helping us honor our area’s worthiest conservation heroes. Live bluegrass music from Easy Pickins will fill the air as Blue Ridge Catering again provides a first-class dinner of locally sourced foods. Wash down your meal with beer from Devil’s Backbone Brewery, Blue Ridge Vineyard and Villa Appalaccia wines, and hard cider from Foggy Ridge Cider. A silent auction will provide entertainment as well as an additional opportunity to help support the land trust’s conservation efforts. Items up for auction include an autographed Jimmy Buffett guitar, four tickets to the Va. Tech/UVa football game, sheet music signed by Taylor Swift, official Nike VT football signed by Frank Beamer, a signed, framed photograph of Paul Newman and Robert Redford from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” an autographed framed photo of Arnold Palmer, a signed Beatles album in a frame, fly fishing trips, a gliding trip,
rounds of golf, Elizabeth Arden gift packages, dinners at local fine restaurants and much more! This year, we will honor two very special individuals with awards recognizing their tremendous efforts to promote land conservation in southwestern Virginia. Ned and Janet Yost will receive the 2012 Land Saver Award and Barbara Lemon will receive the 2012 A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award. To learn more about these conservation heroes, turn to pages 6-7 of this issue of Saving Land in Western Virginia. Pre-sale tickets for the Conservation Celebration are $55 a person for current land trust members. Non-member pre-sale tickets are $70 a person and include a one-year WVLT membership. All food and beverages are included in the ticket price and children under the age of 12 are free. F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d t o R S V P, v i s i t westernvirginialandtrust.org/celebration. We sincerely hope you will join us for an evening dedicated to our area’s most precious natural resources and people like you who work diligently for its continued protection.
WVLT Hires New Project Manager
iana Hackenburg, a northern Ohio native, joined the Western Virginia Land Trust as our new Project Manager in late March and has been hard at work ever since.
leadership studies at Marietta College in southeastern Ohio. Diana has worked throughout the country, most recently as a biological field technician in South Dakota’s Black Hills region and as a Management Fellow at the Shalom Community Center in Bloomington, Indiana.
Diana “Diana was exactly the Jack—Jane?—of all trades we were looking for,” said Executive Director David Perry. “It’s vital that you have a wide variety of skills when you work at a small non-profit, and Diana brings that to the table, along with enthusiasm and an engaging personality.”
While she considers herself a student of many disciplines, Diana most enjoys educating the public about the vast but imperiled natural world right in their own backyards. “Growing up on a small family farm taught me the value of spending time outdoors. Traveling subsequently showed me how fragile our natural spaces are in the face of continued human development. I decided early on that I wanted to preserve these natural resources and encourage others to do the same.”
Diana moved to Roanoke in December after graduating from Indiana University with two masters degrees and a concentration in applied ecology. She previously completed a BS in environmental science with a certificate in
Board Changes Service Area to Concentrate Efforts
s of March 2012 the WVLT Board of Trustees has decided to reduce WVLT’s service area to seven counties. These counties include Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Montgomery, and Roanoke, and the cities of Bedford, Salem, and Roanoke. Our service area will no long include Carroll, Henry, and Patrick counties. The Western Virginia Land Trust will still be open to holding conservation easements in Carroll, Henry, and Patrick counties, but will concentrate its efforts in the remaining seven counties.
“Changing our service area will dramatically impact the quality of service we are able to provide local landowners” remarked Executive Director Dave Perry. “We will be able to work more closely with the residents of these seven counties to pinpoint and address their conservation priorities.” The New River Land Trust will continue to serve Carroll County from its office in Blacksburg, while the Virginia Outdoors Foundation will serve Patrick and Henry counties.
Board Welcomes New, Returning Trustees
n July, the WVLT Board of Trustees appointed new trustees and officers for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
of Roanoke, an appraiser with Miller, Long, and Associates, and Linda Pharis of Hollins, a community volunteer.
WVLT welcomed back into the fold former board members Rupert Cutler of Roanoke, a former Executive Director of the Western Virginia Land Trust, Broaddus Fitzpatrick of Roanoke, a community volunteer and retired attorney, and David Maxson of Hollins, a community volunteer. They have also appointed two new board members, Sam Long
All four of last year’s officers were reappointed to fill their same positions. This includes Sandy Light of Roanoke as president, Steve Claytor of Roanoke County as vice president, F. Fulton Galer of Roanoke as treasurer, and Whitney Feldmann of Roanoke as secretary. Jim Kermes has resigned from the board for personal reasons. Fall 2012
Barbara Lemon, Environmental Steward to Receive Vic Thomas Award By George Kegley
Over 45 years ago, Barbara and her lawyer husband, Bill Lemon, bought a Botetourt County farm on Craig’s Creek, land that Bill’s family had owned before the Civil War. There they practice organic farming, raising certified, grass-fed Red Angus and Black Angus beef cattle. Bill Lemon checks on the farm every Saturday morning, and Barbara Lemon once worked an organic vegetable garden there until balance problems prevented her bending over to work her beloved soil. Bill now cares for the vegetable garden. Barbara inherited gardening skills from her mother and maternal grandfather that also enabled her to create a model flower garden brimming with life on two levels in the backyard of her South Roanoke home. Now, her primary outdoor activity is watching birds, voles, chipmunks and squirrels in this backyard sanctuary. Barbara’s interest in protecting the land began with her understanding of Christian stewardship back when she was a religion major at Randolph-Macon Woman’s (now Randolph) College. As she taught Sunday School, she often pondered the questions, “Who owns the world?” and “What is mankind’s role in relation to the physical world?” Seeing the need to save land, Barbara helped form the Western Virginia Land Trust back in 1996 and led it as chairwoman until 2004. She can now look back on a 16year legacy of laying the groundwork for an organization designed specifically to save the mountains, hills, valleys and streams throughout Southwest Virginia. Promoting awareness of the great need for saving land from development has always been the main goal of the Western Virginia Land Trust. Championing the state’s purchase of the 9,000-acre Big Survey in Wythe County was the major achievement in Barbara’s service as president. Also, she led in the initial establishment of a two-man staff and permanent land trust office space. WVLT board member Lucy Ellett – a longtime friend, associate, and admirer of Barbara – praises her as “a leader in many areas of our community – church, 6 Fall 2012
Photo by Diana Hackenburg
arbara Lemon, a founder and eight-year president of the Western Virginia Land Trust board, will receive the A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award at the annual Conservation Celebration Sept. 16. The award is named for the late Delegate A. Victor Thomas, a Roanoke native and longtime environmental leader.
Barbara Lemon in the gardens surrounding her home
education, the arts, and conservation.” Lucy adds, “Wisdom, warmth, and thoughtful leadership are Barbara’s trademarks, and the WVLT is fortunate to have had her at the helm of this organization in its formative years. She played a large role in helping to establish a positive image throughout southwest Virginia for our work in land conservation.” Once a school teacher, Lemon has spent much energy on fund-raising for her college and Union Seminary in Richmond and for such non-profits as the Historical Society of Western Virginia, O. Winston Link Museum, Poplar Forest and Virginia Western Community College. She has served on numerous boards, including those of Environmental Directions Inc., Valley Bank, Center in the Square, Foundation for the Roanoke Valley and Roanoke Library Foundation. She still works behind the scenes on several fund-raising campaigns, but much of her interest is centered on her family. The family’s professional focus seems to be slowly shifting from law to medicine. In addition to her husband Bill, sons Tucker and Stephen are lawyers and daughter Sarah is a law school graduate. Tucker and Sarah are also married to lawyers. However, one of her seven grandchildren is now in medical school, and two others are headed that way. The three generations fill two pews at Second Presbyterian Church, where Barbara and Bill and all three of their children are Elders, and two tables afterward for Sunday lunch. Friends say that the Lemons are fortunate to have their entire family just blocks away from their home. Barbara Lemon says they are blessed.
Ned Yost to be Honored as a Land Saver Extraordinaire By George Kegley
He and his wife, Janet, donated a conservation easement on his 289-acre farm in 2002 to WVLT and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and he hasn’t stopped talking about it ever since. In 1952, his parents bought the farm which had been held by five generations of the McDonald family from the 1790s to the mid-20th century. Ned and Janet Yost live in Charlottesville but they often head for the scenic Catawba valley and their rustic cabin beside the old mill. A deep-seated environmentalist, Yost recalled that his interest in the outdoors began when he went to camp as a small boy. After completing his easement, Yost joined a landowner incentive program of the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. This program helped him to plant willows and cedars to prevent erosion along creek banks, while keeping cows out of the water, “as much as possible.” He wants to clean up the river “so I can sit on the front porch and cast my fly rod into the stream.” A year ago, he put a thousand trout in the North Fork as a test to see if the stream would support them. But a later checkup found none had survived. Otters, herons and kingfishers are in the area, he said, but a warm summer temperature “likely” caused the loss of fish. “This illustrates that the work we do on riparian buffers is essential.” Yost is now working with Lance Clark of Roanoke Cement Co. on a project to place 200-foot buffers on each side of Catawba Creek, about a dozen miles up the Catawba Valley from McDonald’s Mill. The rural area around the cement plant in Botetourt County is “as vulnerable to development as we are” in the western end of the valley, he said. Yost was recently recognized as a founder of Catawba Landcare, a group of local landowners who are promoting a healthy environment, sustainable economy and a vibrant community through local outreach and education. They worked with the nearby Virginia Tech Conservation Management Institute to learn more about sustainability measures. This led to creation of the
Photo by Diana Hackenburg
ed Yost, one of the best missionaries for conservation easements in this part of the world, will be recognized with the Land Saver award at the Sept. 16, 2012 Conservation Celebration. Yost, a retired insurance man from Cleveland, Ohio, came to Virginia when he inherited the historic McDonald’s Mill property along the North Fork of the Roanoke River in Montgomery County.
Ned Yost at his cabin on the McDonald’s Mill property
Catawba Sustainability Center which operates a weekly market and holds workshops and promotes preservation of natural resources. He also works with the American Chestnut Foundation, aids a Virginia Tech professor doing dendrochronology (dating past events by looking at tree rings) in the area, and avidly reads about geology. Yost helped celebrate the completion of seven new easements in the valley at a party in the spring, but he says there is still much work to be done in the Catawba Valley. He would like to see another local easement celebration in a couple years. His family shares his enthusiasm—“My children and grandchildren fell in love with the Catawba Valley just like I did.” While Yost gives much credit to organizations like the Western Virginia Land Trust, he also admits “it doesn’t take much for me to launch into a pitch about conservation easements.” Yost explains his missionary approach to promote easements: “It doesn’t take a strong pitch. I try to back off and find out a little bit about folks, their situation, goals and roots here; do they have any feeling for the area? Then I tailor my pitch to that aspect, what will resonate with them.” His perception is that “the better prospect should have a feeling for the land, for the history of the area.” It’s a feeling for the land Ned Yost has worked tirelessly to preserve for future generations of Catawba Valley residents to experience.
Race for Open Space Draws Crowd
n June 2nd, over 130 participants came out to Green Hill Park for the 4th Annual Race for Open Space. This year, the race raised over $4,500 for the land trust’s preservation work.
Photo by Sandy Light
The established 3K course had 41 runners and walkers with Peiter deHart of Lexington coming in first place with a time of 10:29. This year marked a new chapter for the race with the addition of a 5K “Classic” run. Joe Cotter of Roanoke finished first out of 97 runners in the 5K with a time of 22:45. For the full list of finishers, visit westernvirginialandtrust.org/race. Thank you again to our many event sponsors who contributed both cash and in-kind donations that helped us put together such an outstanding community event. Also, special thanks to our volunteers who helped ensure a successful and safe race. Happy 5K participants Wayne and Cathy Driscoll
CLE Course Educates Professionals Statewide
n May 3rd, WVLT held a continuing education course for professionals entitled “Conservation Easements: A Changing Landscape.” Attorneys, CPAs, and real estate agents attended the live presentation held at the Roanoke Higher Education Center and also participated statewide via a simultaneous webcast. Six local professionals versed in the various aspects of conservation easements served as course presenters.
They outlined the step-by-step conservation easement process from the first stages of consideration to the final phases of recordation and tax credit sales. The course, which fulfills continuing education requirements for all three aforementioned professions, will now be available “on-demand” through the WVLT website. Visit westernvirginialandtrust.org/continuing-ed for more information.
Support WVLT at the Botetourt Wine Trail
he Wine Trail of Botetourt County will end its Summer Concert Series on September 15th at the Daleville Town Center. The concert, featuring Scott Miller and the Commonwealth along with special guest My Radio and Groova Scape, will take place from 3-8pm. WVLT volunteers will be pouring beer at the event and all proceeds from beer sales will be donated to the land trust.
Tickets for the event may be purchased in advance online at the Botetourt Wine Trail Summer Concert Series webpage or at the gate. This is a family friendly event to be held rain or shine. We hope to see you in Daleville for a fun afternoon of great wine, cold beer, and good tunes!
Photo by Diana Hackenburg Soulstice Farm in Bedford County
Eat Local and Save Land!
oin the Western Virginia Land Trust for dinner on Thursday, October 18 at Local Roots Restaurant in Grandin Village in Roanoke. Restaurant owner and WVLT supporter Diane Elliot has generously agreed to donate 15 percent of the proceeds from that evening’s meals to the land trust. “Local Roots relies on our area’s small farmers for our fresh produce, meats, eggs and cheese,” said Elliot. “The Western Virginia Land Trust works hard every day to protect these small farms so they’ll always have a place to grow food locally. We’re excited to share a portion of the money that we make on October 18 with the land trust.” WVLT Executive Director David Perry agreed. “Some of the food in our stores and other local restaurants travels
thousands of miles to get here,” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense from a climate, health or economic standpoint. We’re happy to partner with an establishment like Local Roots, whose menu is entirely local and organic.” The land trust has worked on several conservation easements over the years on lands that produce food for local restaurants, including the Soulstice Farm in Bedford and the Bright Farm in Floyd, as well as Truman Hill Farm in Franklin County, which offers families shares of pastureraised beef. Local Roots serves dinner from 5 to 10 pm and is located at 1314 Grandin Rd. SW, next door to the Grandin Theatre and across the street from the Roanoke Natural Foods Coop. See you on October 18! Fall 2012
Garden Club Cultivates Student Interest in Conservation
oanoke students at Grandin Court Elementary had the opportunity to get their hands dirty gardening this spring as founding members of the school’s Garden Club. The Garden Club was started by the Western Virginia Land Trust as an outreach initiative to increase student interest in land conservation and healthy living habits. Due to its initial popularity with students, enrollment for the club was limited to 26 students ranging in age from kindergarten to fifth grade. Garden Club met once a week after school and each meeting started with an informative lesson on a plant-related topic. The students learned all about weeds, soils, how plants grow, and general safety tips to follow while working outside with tools. They had opportunities to taste basil,
identify plant parts we eat, and experience how ‘milkweed’ gets its name. Additionally, each student planted their own bean or pea sprout to care for at home and created personalized watering jugs made from old milk gallons. On the playground, students filled four raised beds with a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. All of the plants, seeds, and soil were generously donated by businesses including Mulch-N-More, Northwest True Value Hardware, Scotts Miracle Gro, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church along with Southern States Cooperative, and Townside Gardens. Support was also given by several local individuals and parent volunteers who helped supervise the children during meetings.
Photo by Diana Hackenburg
WVLT hopes to continue Garden Club again next year at Grandin Court and potentially expand the program to other area schools.
Young gardeners planting various types of flowers at Grandin Court Elementary School
A special thank you to all of our 2012 Conservation Celebration sponsors from the Western Virginia Land Trust Board of Trustees and Staff! Proudly Manufacturing in the USA!
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The Roanoke Star salutes the hardworking staff, and board members of the
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A strong voice for conservation and preservation of natural resources, Barbara Lemon was instrumental in the formation of the Western Virginia Land Trust and served as its President for many years. As a founding Director of Valley Bank, we have long recognized Barbaraâ€™s qualities and commitment to her Valley. Congratulations Barbara, all of us at Valley Bank are proud of you.
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Announcing the 2nd Annual Land+Link Photo Competition
he Western Virginia Land Trust and the O. Winston Link Museum present their second juried photo contest, Land+Link, an opportunity for photographers to document the landscape of southwest Virginia while competing for prizes and an exhibition spot. Photographers should submit image(s) that reflect their interpretation of this year’s theme, “Nature’s Gift.” Subjects are limited to southwest Virginia. All finalists will also be displayed at an exhibition in the Link Museum beginning November 1, 2012. The exhibition will end on December 5, 2012 with a closing reception and silent auction of finalist’s matted photos. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners and the winner of the “People’s Choice” award. There will be a separate prize for the young photographer (17 & under) division. The winning photos will also be featured in The Roanoke Star Sentinel; the Link Museum website and in their newsletter, Link News; and the Western Virginia Land Trust website and in their Saving Land magazine.
Background photo - “Forest Facade” by John Singleton
Third place - “Old McDonald Barn”
Entries are due by 5pm on October 5, 2012. For m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n o n h o w t o e n t e r, v i s i t www.westernvirginialandtrust.org/photo.
This year’s contest is proudly sponsored by
In this edition - join us for our Conservation Celebration, Honoring Barbara Lemon and Ned & Janet Yost, the Grandin Court Garden Club Grows...
Published on Aug 24, 2012
In this edition - join us for our Conservation Celebration, Honoring Barbara Lemon and Ned & Janet Yost, the Grandin Court Garden Club Grows...