A Letter to You
Thanks to you, in 2018 VCC doubled the number of acres that we hold in trust forever.
Because of you, those acres will always be a place that local foods can grow, the water that we drink can flow through protected buffers, and wild things can seek sanctuary. Because of you, we’re wrapping our mountains and Valley in permanent protections.
Imagine though, what we could do if we all doubled our effort.
In October of this year, John Sweet did more than just double his commitment to land conservation.
In 1988, John and his wife Charolette fell in love with a special piece of Highland County. Of the four farms they’d come to see, it was the one they almost skipped. It had more acreage than they wanted and the house really wasn’t what they’d had in mind. But from the moment they arrived, it spoke to them with all the wisdom and power of the mountains. And it became home.
John spent the next thirty years building an intimate relationship with the land. You’ll find him still trekking every acre, often in bare feet, nurturing the unique mountain species that occur within its bounds. He knows the history and biology of every wrinkle and ridge. In 2000 he and Charolette protected it with a conservation easement.
With equally thoughtful measure he began to plan for the care and nurture of this place beyond the time he’s granted to walk its hills. He wanted assurance that the globally rare species and communities he’d discovered within would always be stewarded and protected. His sense of responsibility to this place is infinite and he wanted to put plans in place that would last just that long.
In October of 2018, he donated his four hundred acre farm to VCC, entrusting us with its infinite care. But he didn’t stop there. He set up an endowment with the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, providing a permanent income stream to care for this precious piece of the Highlands. But it still doesn’t stop there.
John sees his impact as a pebble in a pond.
He’s protected his farm, but his farm is just one piece of the tapestry that makes up our special and unique part of the world. And for it to be truly protected, you’ve got to protect the entire work of art. So John has asked that his farm be used as an education tool to build connection and understanding in the next generation of land stewards.
Starting this year, JMU students are using the farm to explore the unique qualities of our highlands and the tools we use to protect them. They’re building out proposals on how the farm can be used to touch young people all across the region and instill in them an understanding of land conservation. The ripples are already beginning.
As a lover of the Valley, its mountains, and exquisite landscapes you’ve already shown a commitment to its future. But have you truly dedicated yourself to the infinity of that prospect? Will you join John in doing everything possible to secure the future of land conservation?
Your support has helped double the number of acres VCC holds in trust in 2018 alone. Can you imagine what doubling your donation could do? Valley Conservation Council is your land trust, working for the preservation of the place you love. We can’t do this without you.