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Rockbridge Area Conservation Council hosts events, workshops and conferences throughout the year to continue to promote our mission: to promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources t for present and future generations.

Recordings of presentations are available within a few days after the event.

Have comments, questions, ideas for future presentations or want to contact RACC, Send us a message and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

PFAS Presentation to Maury Service Authority: Environmental Impact of Biosolids
by Joe Dinardo

On March 29, RACC member Joe Dinardo presented information to the Maury Service Authority about the need to find out if there are PFAS in local wildlife, produce, water sources and wastewater. PFAS are “forever chemicals” that persist in the land and are found in the blood of most people. RACC will be working to raise awareness about PFAS in the coming months.

View Joe’s presentation below.

Click the Download button beneath the presentation to download a pdf copy of the presentation that includes Joe’s presenter notes and links to sources of information.

RACC Virtual Seminar:
Perspectives on Planned Rotational Grazing
by Steven Hart.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022. 

Steve’s presentation to RACC will discuss the advantages, challenges, and benefits of rotational grazing practices at both the individual farm scale and national scale.

Steve’s family operates Hartland Farm on 145 acres in Kerrs Creek, Virginia.  The farm includes American Milking Devon cattle, Jacobs and Babydoll sheep, Narraganset turkeys, assorted chickens, Mulefoot and Wessex Saddleback hogs, goats, garden produce, maple syrup, and whatever other wild ideas he comes up with. His farm’s goal is to provide his family and a few of his neighbors with high quality food while being good stewards of their small part of the earth. Kerrs Creek Community Market, Pleasure to Seat You, Vigilance Forge, and Hart Brothers Services also operate with products from the farm.

Unfortunately, Steve’s presentation was cut short by a poor internet connection. Good news! Steve has re-recorded his presentation in four parts. Watch a playlist including all four parts consecutively, or watch each part individually below.

Playlist of videos 1 – 4.

Part 1 of 4

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4

RACC 2021-22 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” Jan 19, 2022
Solar Solutions for Habitat for Humanity Homes, Low-Income Households, and Non-Profits” presented by Jeff Heie

GiveSolar offers solar solutions for nonprofit organizations and low-income households, providing electricity from the sun while reducing overhead costs and energy poverty by eliminating a large portion of electricity bills. According to their website at “(w)e harness the community’s power to bring about positive change through crowdfunding and solar barn raisings.” Jeff will be discussing this program and plans for expansion throughout the state.

This month’s presentation is by Jeff Heie, founder of Give Solar, a program providing solar power installations on Habitat for Humanity houses in Harrisonburg and other communities in Virginia. Jeff has been involved in advocating for clean energy since 2000. He has twenty years of skills and experience in advocacy, community organizing, networking, fundraising, and solar installing.

RACC 2021-22 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” Nov 10, 2021
“Dark Skies and Community Friendly Lighting” 
presented by Bob Parks

Bob Parks is the executive director of the Smart Outdoor Lighting Alliance (SOLA). He is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society (MIES), Lighting Certified (LC), Community Friendly Lighting Certified (CFLC), and an ecological lighting designer. The focus of the Smart Outdoor Lighting Alliance (SOLA) is to help cities make the transition to LED public lighting using the Community Friendly Lighting (CFL) principles of improved visual comfort and visibility, while reducing glare, light trespass and sky glow. He is the chairman of the IES Outdoor Environmental Lighting committee (OELC) and former executive director of the International Dark-Sky Association. While at IDA he served as lighting designer for a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service which resulted in new ecologically responsible lighting being installed in nine national parks and later with the Florida Fish and Wildlife survey, design and retrofit of 100 miles of the Gulf Coast to install turtle safe lighting on public land. As chairman of the OELC he has worked to develop a new recommended practice (RP) to regulate outdoor sign and billboard lighting and is starting work on a new RP for Parks and Protected Areas. Bob has presented at many lighting conferences in the US, Europe, South America, and Australia and partners with LED Magazine to present webinars on Community Friendly Lighting. Parks recently consulted pro bono with the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to plan and execute a public demonstration and evaluation of proposed LED roadway fixtures for the upcoming conversion of all Virginia highway lighting (75,000 to 150,000 fixtures to be installed over the next 10 years). The test presented various lighting fixtures for comparison for glare, visibility and visual comfort.

RACC 2021-22 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” Oct 13, 2021
“Virginia Green Business Program” 
presented by Tom Griffin

More than 1200 Virginia tourism businesses have voluntarily enrolled in the Virginia Green Travel Certification program and at least met its minimum requirements related to recycling, water and energy efficiency, and other sustainable practices. Virginia Green businesses are recognized and searchable on the Virginia Green section of the Virginia is for Lovers website, where the public can plan to stay at green-certified hotels and B&B’s, eat at green-certified restaurants, and enjoy parks, breweries, wineries, museums, festivals and other attractions that are part of the Virginia Green network. 
— Speaker, Tom Griffin, formerly with DEQ and now the Executive Director of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance (VGTA), the 501c3 non-profit organization that was created to support and expand the marketing and outreach efforts of the Virginia Green Travel program will present information about certifying your business, ways others can help spread the word, and answer questions.

RACC 2021-22 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” Sept 8 2021
Chesapeake Bay Restoration and the James River” by Rachel Felver, Chesapeake Bay Program

What is the Chesapeake Bay Program? Often confused with several other regional organizations with the words, “Chesapeake Bay” in the title, the Chesapeake Bay Program is the one you want to know about. Learn all about this regional partnership that sets the policy and guides the overall Bay restoration effort. We’ll also cover how the Bay Program is helping to keep your local waterway—the James River—clean and healthy, and what you can do to help keep it that way.”
— Rachel Felver is Communications Director for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Previously, she worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC and at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

RACC 2020-21 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” May 12, 2021
Renewables and Virginia’s Clean Energy Act (VCEA)” Narissa Turner, Virginia Conservation Network
Both the 2020 and 2021 General Assembly Sessions made Virginia a national leader in climate and clean energy legislation–from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and ensuring 100% renewable generation of electricity by 2050, to the establishment of a Virginia Brownfield and Coal Mine Renewable Energy Grant Fund. Tune in to learn a bit more about what our legislature has done over the past 2 years to advance clean energy and what additional work should be done as we continue to pursue a clean energy future in Virginia.

Before joining VCN, Ms. Turner was the Climate Program Director for Albemarle County.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University, NY and a BA in Natural Resources and Recreational Tourism from the University of Georgia.

RACC 2020-21 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” April 14th
Plastic Pollution in Virginia: Many Sources, Many Solutions – Katie Register, executive director of Clean Virginia Waterways and co-founder of Virginia Plastic Pollution Prevention Network
Her organization is dedicated to improving rivers and oceans through citizen stewardship. Register works extensively on preventing water pollution, focusing mainly on land-based sources of plastic pollution. Viewers will learn about the new Virginia Plastic Pollution Prevention Network which Register co-founded.

Links shared during the presentation
– Clean Virginia Waterways Publication Page:
– The Virginia Plastic Pollution Prevention Network:

RACC 2020-21 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” March 10th
Starting and Maintaining a Successful Composting Program in Staunton, VA – Mary Satterfield & Barbara Brothers
Volunteers with Shenandoah Green began a food waste collection program in September 2019 at the Saturday Staunton Farmers’ Market. Since then, over 10 tons of food waste from the Staunton/ Augusta County/ Waynesboro communities has been collected through this initiative. The success of this project depends on two mechanisms for food waste collection: a year-round drop-off site open at the Saturday Farmers’ Market, and shared compost bins in two neighborhoods. Funding for the project is through donations at the drop-off site and through subscriptions for the shared neighborhood bins. As this project has grown and flourished, despite the challenges of the past 18 months, it is clear that composting their food waste is an important way for many community members to make a contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable environment.

Mary Satterfield, a recent transplant to Staunton, comes from a background as a scientist and project developer with the federal government. She is delighted to find ways to contribute to a sustainable and healthy environment in the Shenandoah Valley.

Barbara Brothers, having begun the composting program in Staunton, now works on sustainable and regenerative food systems for healthier communities through Allegheny Mountain Institute. She is eager to work with RACC to help establish a composting program for the Lexington area.

Presentation Slides & Additional Information

RACC 2020-21 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” February 10, 2021
Aquatic Resource Management of the Maury River – Steve Reeser, VA Department of Wildlife Resources Mr. Reeser discusses the diverse fish species and other critters that inhabit the Maury River, and shares photos and video footage of DWR’s management activities on the Maury, including fish population monitoring, trout stocking, research on Smallmouth Bass movements, habitat restoration, Jordan Point Dam removal, and river user management. Sportfish population data is presented and population dynamics explained.

Steve Reeser has been a Fisheries Biologist for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly DGIF) since 1998.  He is currently the Regional Fisheries Manager for a 28-county region responsible for overseeing the management of the aquatic resources within the Potomac, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, Rivanna and Middle – Upper James River Watershed. He also serves as the agency’s statewide coordinator for coldwater stream and wild trout management.  Steve holds a B.S. degree in Environmental Biology from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania (1991) and a M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Tennessee Technological University (1995).  He enjoys hunting, fishing, paddling, hiking and camping with friends and family.

RACC 2020-21 Speaker Series “Conservation Today” January 6, 2021
Joan Maloof, Old-Growth Forest Network
“Recent Scientific Evidence Linking Old-Growth Forests with Carbon Uptake

We know that old-growth forests are important for many reasons…they harbor maximum biodiversity, they clean our water, and they are places of beauty and inspiration. More recently we have come to discover how important they are for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In this talk Joan Maloof will discuss the recent scientific findings linking preserved forests with carbon uptake. She will also discuss her efforts to save the few old-growth forests that remain, though the Old-Growth Forest Network, an organization she founded in 2012.

Dr. Joan Maloof is a professor emerita at Salisbury University. She is the author of four books about forests: Teaching the Trees; Among the Ancients; Nature’s Temples; and The Living Forest. Maloof is the founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, the only national organization specifically working to save our oldest forests.

Fall 2020 “Conservation Today” Speaker series; Wednesday December 9,2020
Tom Stanely, Virginia Cooperative Extension
“Agriculture Economies of the Appalachian Mid Atlantic and Strategies to Incentivize Regenerative Practices on Our Landscape”
Tom’s view of how food system economics, cultural history and the natural resource base intersect to influence current land use in our region and opportunities for the region to have a role in mitigating carbon emissions.

– Here is the link to the video from Beef Lamb NZ that Tom tried to play near the end. And he also recommends ..”the ‘learning module’ of which this video is a part is entitled ‘Climate Change’ and is found at:
– Ohter recommendations from Tom:
–“For reading I would highly recommend for RACC supporters is “The Shepherd’s Life: Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape” by James Rebanks.  Its his memoir of growing up on the family sheep operation in the Lake District with no other life in mind, being confronted with economic realities upon coming-of-age, and how he managed to get back to the farm.  He has a sequel I have not read:  “Pastoral: An Inheritance”
— James Rebanks OpEd “An English Sheep Farmer’s View of Rural America
— Recent Economics lectures from the Reith Lecture Series can be found here: The four lectures are:  “From Moral to Market Sentiments”, “From Credit Crisis to Resilience”, “From Covid Crisis to Renaissance”, “From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity”

RACC Annual Meeting, November 8, 2020
– Meeting program (pdf)

– – Uncas Trail video by Steve Shires (shown within the poweroint)
– – Community Foundation video by Jennifer Young (shown within the poweroint)

Fall 2020 “Conservation Today” Speaker series November 18, 2020
Joe DiNardo
What’s in Your Water (The Impact of Chemical Pollution)

We are exposed to numerous chemicals in our day-to-day life like preservatives (parabens & formaldehyde), flame retardants (phosphorous & PFOA), plasticizers (bisphenols & phthalates), prescription drugs (birth control/hormones & anti-depressants), agricultural chemicals (neonics & glyphosate), industrial “forever compounds” (PCB & 1,4-dioxane) to name just a few. Many of these chemicals have been shown to adversely effect the environment as well as the health of all organisms – including humans at the “right exposure levels”. Sources of chemical exposure come from a variety of consumer products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, foods and food packaging, plastic materials, clothing, furniture, electronics and many others; all of which end up, sooner or later, in a water source (tap water, wastewater, streams, rivers, ponds, bays, lakes, oceans … etc.). How do we deal with exposure to these chemicals – do we know where they are? How do we identify them – when most are not listed on an ingredient label? How do we minimize the chemical impact to our bodies and environment? How do we get back to having clean water?

Powerpoint slides (pdf)

Fall 2020 “Conservation Today” Speaker series October 14, 2020
David Harbor
Regenerative Agriculture; good for soil and water, good for farmers, and good for consumers
An agricultural revolution is happening based on an old idea that farmers who pay attention to soil health will produce healthier crops and animals, use fewer herbicides and pesticides, improve water quality, and increase profit per acre. Researchers and major food companies are investigating how to pay farmers to switch to regenerative agriculture practices in grazing and cropping systems using carbon offsets and other market incentives. Join rookie-ag-scholar David Harbor from W&L Geology to learn about soil erosion, soil health and regenerative agriculture practices and principles, see what his research students have started exploring, and explore examples of practices already being adopted here in Rockbridge County.
Talk Slides (pdf)

September 2019
A pitch for donations to the Edgar W. Spencer fund for RACC at the Community Foundation to recognize Ed’s legacy and support our ongoing conservation efforts produced for RACC and the Community Foundation by Jennifer Young

Rockbridge Area Conservation Council from Jennifer Young on Vimeo.

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