The Evolution of an Organization and a Person

SweetFarmHighland-8In 2017, I moved from a fulfilling career in a locally grown business to serving an organization and a mission that marched in line with my personal passion.  Life in the greater Shenandoah Valley is rooted in our beautiful landscape and fed by our agrarian way of life.  My childhood was filled with mountain adventures and soggy river days and passing those experiences on to my children is of utmost importance to me.  In my work with VCC, I’m invigorated by the opportunity to do work that assures not only my own children can have those experiences, but every future generation can.

Over the last two years, VCC has charged forward with incredible momentum on how best to serve that vision.  With your support, we’ve doubled the eased acres we hold in precious perpetuity, been entrusted with the gift of the Sweet Family Farm, and completed all the steps to earn accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance (final word on this process is expected in August).

With your support, VCC has been active in conversations about land conservation at the state level, making sure that the Valley region viewpoint is considered in policy decisions.  Because, while land conservation in the most densely populated parts of the state is very important, it looks a lot different than in our highlands, our natural-world gateways and in the heart of the agriculture region.

And while VCC was evolving and growing into this important momentum, so was I.  With your support, I IMG-6591 2learned about the intricacy and nuance of building strong land protections and formed so many special relationships with those who believe in the importance of that mission.  I learned that it takes perceptive and long sighted people to see both the unique and wonderful qualities of the greater Shenandoah Valley region and the precarious risk that lurks behind lack of adequate protection for our most special place.

And now, with VCC and me both evolving and growing, I’ve been given a terrific professional opportunity.  An opportunity that will allow me to continue to serve a land saving mission across Virginia and even bring large scale projects home to our region.  But it’s oh so bittersweet an opportunity, because it takes me away from VCC, the place where my heart and my profession first beat in tandem.

I’m placing a lot of trust in you.  Trust that you’ll embrace the VCC board and staff and have confidence in the transition plan they’ve carefully crafted to keep the momentum going.  Trust that you’ll continue giving to VCC to protect the hundreds of acres already working through the easement process for this year and the many more waiting in the queue. Our land, water, wildlife and farming future are counting on you.  Counting on the fact that you’re a long sighted, perceptive person, who understands that organizational change is but a blip in the continuum of perpetual land protection, and that we serve a much much much longer vision.  A vision, where six generations from now, children have wild mountain adventures, safe soggy river days, and eat fresh food, grown right here at home.  A vision, where mention of the greater Shenandoah Valley region, always invokes just as much awe and wonder across the world as it does today.

Always with hope,


Natasha Skelton
Executive Director

P.S. You can show your commitment to our Valley and the VCC vision, by sending VCC your donation (and vote of confidence!) using the link below.  You’ll have my thanks and make it just a little easier for me to make the transition from staff to lifetime supporter!


An Accredited Land Trust

Contact Us:

Valley Conservation Council
P.O. Box 988
Staunton, VA 24402
Phone: 540-886-3541

Join Our Mailing List