VOF kicks off 50th anniversary with “50 Years, 50 Stories” story map

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2016, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation will be featuring a different conservation success story from its past every week on its website at virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/50stories.

The “50 Years, 50 Stories” project combines photos, stories and maps to take visitors on a virtual tour of some of VOF’s most significant projects around the state. The first stop is VOF’s very first open-space easement, recorded in Goochland County in 1967. The easement, donated by James M. Ball, Jr., was placed on the property as part of a gift to the University of Richmond, which uses the 100-acre site for biological and zoological research.

The most recent addition to the story map is Caledonia Farm in Rappahannock County, which was placed under easement with VOF in 1973 by Phil Irwin, who still owns the property today and manages it as a bed & breakfast. Irwin was the first landowner in Rappahannock County to donate an easement to VOF, and he is also the last surviving founder of the Piedmont Environmental Council, which was formed to promote easements and organize grassroots conservation efforts in Virginia’s piedmont.

New stories will be added weekly and will reflect the geographic breadth of VOF’s work, the partnerships that have fueled our success, and the diversity of conservation values that are being protected, ranging from working farms and forests to historic landmarks, major waterways, scenic landscapes, and public recreational areas.

Jason McGarvey is VOF's communications and outreach manager. He is based in the Richmond office.