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Conservation, Conversation and Trees in Richmond

An event in Richmond will focus on conservation and trees. (Beth Little)
An event in Richmond will focus on conservation and trees. (Beth Little)
April 28, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - A national conservation leader is coming to Richmond tonight to talk trees and other living things. National Wildlife Federation president and CEO, Collin O'Mara will address a Toast to the Trees event at Stone Brewing Company. The organizers will be giving out native dogwood and redbud trees.

O'Mara said that fits part of his message. He said most Americans live in cities and the average U.S. child spends fifty hours a week in front of a screen. So O'Mara said folks can keep a healthy connection to the natural world by planting something to support bees or butterflies.

"Milkweed that supports Monarchs, or different pollinator plants or berry bushes provide food, provide shelter, provide important habitat," he said. "It gives every American the chance to have that personal connection."

Questions about the event can be addressed to the Virginia Conservation Network and RVA Green Drinks.

O'Mara said Virginia has a leading role to play in clean-water issues, especially in the cleanup of Chesapeake Bay. He said the state has a lot at stake and can do a lot as climate change threatens the coast. He said Virginia has a strong, bipartisan conservation history it can build on.

"Virginia's also nationally and even internationally known for being a leader in land conservation," he added. "Virginia's important, whether it's clean water or climate, or wildlife. And a lot of what they do does affect the entire mid-Atlantic region, if not the entire country."

Public forests and wilderness have come under attack from critics who say the federal government owns too much land and is pushing out private owners. O'Mara said polls have shown that nine out of ten Americans favor public land ownership, although people do get frustrated about how those lands are managed.

"What we want to do is, we want to channel that frustration into solutions that actually enhance our public lands, make them better managed, make them have better quality habitat, better water quality, better access for hunters and anglers and birders and hikers," he said.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA