Soil and Water Conservation District selects first Conservationist of the Year from Page

Chris Anderson tree planting

~ Press release issued by the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District

LURAY, Sept. 27 — Chris Anderson, the Page and Warren County Coordinator at Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, was named Conservationist of the Year by Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.

“I am honored, on behalf of our District, to recognize Chris and her passion and commitment to promote, protect and preserve our precious natural resources with our inaugural Conservationist of the Year award” said Megen Dalton, District Manager. 

Kate Wofford, Executive Director of Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley agrees.

“Chris is an obvious pick for this honor,” Wofford said. “In addition to her persistence in her professional role at the Alliance to ensure land use and transportation planning that is compatible with the high quality of life, working landscapes, and natural resources in Page and Warren counties, her experience in and passion for conservation elevates our work, and we all benefit from her love of nature, photography and art.” 

Chris has and continues to further conservation in the Shenandoah Valley through many other professional and volunteer roles. 

In her nine years as Page County’s Environmental Coordinator, she facilitated gypsy moth control activities, helped to plan and implement water quality improvements in Mill Creek and Hawksbill Creek, and strengthened the Water Resources and Water Quality and Quantity sections of the county’s comprehensive plan. 

Following her time with Page County, Chris served as the Executive Director of the White House Farm Foundation, where among her many contributions, she further documented the history of the Shenandoah River farm and hosted tours with local school groups and others, sharing her knowledge of agriculture and best management practices. She also coordinated benthic studies at the farm and hosted the Virginia Outdoors Festival and countless other workshops on topics such as tree identification, riparian buffer exploration and photography. 

“We at the District were delighted to be formally connected to Chris during her tenure at White House Farm as she served on our Board as an Associate Director and actively supported District outreach as a member of our Education and Awards Committee,” Dalton added. “And of course, we’ve been connected informally as Chris’ other professional and volunteer roles have always aligned in some way with conservation.”

Chris’ conservation activities and efforts are truly expansive. She has served for many years as a volunteer for the nonprofit Page County Tree Board and for the regional nonprofit Sustainability Matters. Chris is a Virginia Master Naturalist and a North Carolina Master Gardener. She is also a Graduate of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. She serves on the Pure Water Forum Board, the Shenandoah National Park Association Board, and the Blue Ridge Committee for the Shenandoah National Park Relations. She has held positions with the Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals and the Shenandoah Valley Northern Regional Commission, among others.  

Chris is also an expert at planting trees and has planted thousands of seedlings in support of state and federal conservation programs. Her plantings are well known to have a very high success and survivability rate and many unknowingly enjoy the fruits of her labor as they travel the Valley. 

Chris is known for building strong partnerships and also for her amazing photography. In addition, she is an artist, having produced many beautiful original images of historical architecture and nature-related pieces. She works in pen and ink and watercolor and has produced prints of street scenes of Luray as well as a series of native butterfly, bird and tree notecards and prints. 

“I was delighted, but not surprised, at the announcement that Chris was honored as the District’s Conservationist of the Year,” said Alliance board member Rod Graves. “I’ve admired Chris’ work for years, and I am thankful to have her in our community, both as our on-the-ground staff in Page and Warren counties, but also because she has shared so much of her passion and knowledge of conservation and love of our natural resources with our community.”

“The beauty and natural resources of the Shenandoah Valley are the inspiration for my artwork and conservation efforts,” says Chris. “I am so grateful to be part of the amazing local and regional conservation community and am incredibly honored to receive this award.”

The Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District serves Rockingham and Page counties as well as the city of Harrisonburg and provides technical and financial assistance to farmers, businesses, and landowners for the installation of best management practices that can have a direct benefit to soil, water, air, plant and animal resources, and farm productivity. svswcd.org

Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley works to ensure the Valley’s rural character, scenic beauty, clean water and vibrant communities are protected by providing accurate and timely information to community members and decision makers. shenandoahalliance.org

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