By Elaine Anne Watt

There are many hands at work in our community to preserve the beautiful landscape and history around us. October 6th provided an opportunity to recognize and motivate conservationists to continue the important work of the Land Trust of Virginia through the donation of easements and support of the land already entrusted to their stewardship.

View from Barton Oaks. Preserving open spaces and beautiful vistas is at the heart of LTV's work.

View from Barton Oaks. Preserving open spaces and beautiful vistas is at the heart of LTV’s work.

Claude Schoch and Andrea Ross hosted the event at Claude’s beautiful estate Barton Oaks in The Plains. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Chris Dematatis profusely thanked the many landowners, dedicated employees and volunteers who have propelled the work of the LTV in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties. He proudly announced that “the northernmost part of Fauquier County and southwestern area of Loudoun County contain the highest concentration in the nation of properties protected by the donation of easements.”

Present were Sally Price, Executive Director of the LTV, Ashton Cole, Director of Conservation and Stewardship, Kerry Roszel, Development Associate, Isa Bryant, Stewardship manager, Clare Rodenberg, volunteer mapping expert for the LTV’s Blue Ridge Conservation Initiative, and many other volunteers and supporters working to achieve the goals of the LTV.

Over 12,000 acres of the Land Trust of Virginia’s 16,300 total acres under easement are to be found in our area, and LTV continues to work closely with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Civil War Trust, and other local and state-wide organizations to identify and preserve the rich heritage and beautiful landscapes around us. Just recently, the LTV received the “Scenic Vistas Award” for their body of work over the past 25 years to protect open spaces.

Dr. Cindy Thompson and Andrea Ross.

Dr. Cindy Thompson and Andrea Ross.

LTV also co-holds conservation easements with the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, the Capital Region Land Conservancy and the Blue Ridge Foothills Conservancy.

In addition to the obvious benefits of protecting and conserving our land for future generations, landowners can take advantage of tax incentives and relief in many ways from the use of easements during their lifetimes. Andrea Ross and others are working with LTV to assist those interested in furthering the work of the LTV to realize their goals.

As the sun set over the mountains in the distance and the fields close at hand, there was a deep realization of the privilege we share in being trustees of the land. ML

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