The Blue Ridge Summit
In October, 2013 Friends and National Wildlife Federation co-hosted a Blue Ridge Summit at Bluemont Vineyard, with over 60 participants representing conservation and historical groups, land trusts, county governments, and landowners from around the region. It was a high energy day with spirited discussion around protecting the natural, historical and cultural resources of our Blue Ridge, and a Blue Ridge Declaration of Stewardship Principles was jointly drafted. We had several great presentations during the day giving context to the resource, threats and opportunities, including Dr. Andrew Taber, President of The Mountain Institute giving a keynote speech discussing protection of mountains around the world. In addition, we had a very special moment presenting the 2013 Friends of the Mountain award to the architect of the Blue Ridge conservation corridor concept on which much of this work is based, the late Dr. Jane Pratt.
As a follow up to this effort, a Blue Ridge Coalition Steering Committee comprised of core partners was created with Friends facilitating meetings going forward. The Declaration of Principles was refined, a mission statement crafted, and a website is in process. The Steering Committee is now focused on a meeting in November at the Smithsonian Center for Biological Inventory in Front Royal to move forward the idea of a functioning Blue Ridge Coalition.
The Coalition is being designed to serve a variety of objectives which may include functioning as a clearing house for relevant information, events, and newsfeeds from member groups, advocating for issues of mutual interest to member organizations or subsets of member organizations, and combining resources to do “on the ground” projects that benefit the Blue Ridge and downstream communities.
Learn more about the latest developments of the Blue Ridge Coalition.