Loudoun Wildlife is a voice for wildlife and healthy habitats. Our advocacy program fights to protect our green infrastructure from threats, challenges, and negative impacts. We often work with coalition partners to address issues of common concern. While our desired outcomes are not always achieved, we have had many Conservation Advocacy successes over the years. If you would like to be a part of the team, please fill in our volunteer application form here.
Scott Jenkins Park
At the September 6, 2022 Board of Supervisors business meeting, the Board of Supervisors instructed the County to withdraw their application to add additional lighting to the existing ballfields at Scott Jenkins Park outside of Hamilton, and the County Administrator formally withdrew the application. The primary grounds for withdrawal revolved around the commitment of Supervisors to honor the original 2009 conditions of approval for the park that prohibited lighting at the ballfields.
In April 2022, the Planning Commission recommended the denial of this special exception application. While acknowledging the necessity of the ballfields and technological advances since the initial approval of the park, the primary findings for denial are the incompatibility of lighted fields with the rural character of the area and the inability to ensure minimal impacts from light pollution on the surrounding properties. The Board of Supervisors moved to withdraw the application after deliberation showed that the special exception request would be denied if voted on. This decision came after considerable pushback from the community during the lengthy public comment period for this item.
While the withdrawal of this application is certainly a success for wildlife conservation efforts, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy remains vigilant on peripheral issues that may arise from this decision. It is likely that similar efforts to increase usage and accessibility by adding lighting will be directed to different ballfields in Loudoun County. These efforts could have similar negative impacts on wildlife if such applications are approved.
There are a myriad of conservation issues that proposals to add lighting to fields presents. This disruption of dark skies has detrimental effects on local ecosystems, especially insect populations. Additional lighting can have environmental and agricultural impacts to neighboring properties, some of which could be under conservation easements.
Currently, Loudoun Wildlife continues to monitor new development applications that have the potential to impact dark skies and nocturnal wildlife.
Additional information on Scott Jenkins Park and dark skies:
County Update on Scott Jenkins Park decision
Advocacy Alert for Scott Jenkins Park
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy position statement
International Dark Skies Association article on impacts to wildlife
Speaking up for all of Loudoun County’s natural resources
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has worked across our county to protect natural resources essential to life for both people and wildlife.
Goose Creek Overlook:
- Advocacy Alert to oppose rezoning proposing increased density on the banks of Goose Creek.
- After initially approving the application, and further outcry from constituents, the Board of Supervisors reconsidered their vote and denied the application. Lessons from the battle of Goose Creek Overlook (Blue Ridge Leader, March 31, 2021).
Short Hill Mountain AT&T Monopole:
- Loudoun Wildlife joined many nonprofits in advocating against and writing multiple letters to the Board of Supervisors (here and here) to oppose the construction of a 125-foot monopole atop the Short Hill ridgeline. Supervisors voted 8-1 to oppose this application, agreeing with the recommendation of denial from the Planning Commission.
Loudoun supervisors deny proposed AT&T cell tower (Loudoun Times-Mirror, October 5, 2021)
Read about some of our other past campaigns.
Creating a countywide system of linear parks and trails, Emerald Ribbons
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy collaborated with members of the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition to advocate for the creation of Emerald Ribbons, aka Linear Parks and Trails (LPAT) System. This interconnected linear parks and trails network will protect wildlife habitat while providing passive recreation opportunities to residents. After being introduced as a Board Member Initiative, a Linear Parks and Trails subcommittee of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Board was created, and a consultant drafted a framework plan for implementation that has subsequently been adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
Loudoun Wildlife continues to be involved with Loudoun Coalition’s Emerald Ribbons Committee and as a stakeholder on the LPAT subcommittee. The implementation of this ambitious undertaking will take years.
Find out more information here:
- Loudoun Coalition’s Emerald Ribbons website.
- Loudoun County’s Linear Parks and Trails website.
- Loudoun Wildlife’s position statement on the creation of the system. (posted January 14, 2019)
- DISCOVER: Education
- EXPLORE: Citizen Science
- RESTORE: Habitat Conservation
- PROTECT: Conservation Advocacy
- PRESERVE: JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary
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