As one of the architects of an important program to save precious natural areas in West Virginia, Nature Conservancy official Beth Wheatley is deserving of an award she is to receive this week.
Wheatley is director of government affairs for The Nature Conservancy in our state. In that post, she helped develop the Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund. The program has been so successful it is expected to provide $1.6 million a year to help save important land and streams throughout the Mountain State.
On Thursday, Wheatley will receive the Guardian of the Year Award from the West Virginia Land Trust.
Wheatley's efforts represent a philosophy used by many others involved with Nature Conservancy efforts in West Virginia. It is cooperation rather than confrontation in preserving valuable natural areas.
Instead of attempting to browbeat or otherwise pressure landowners to employ environmentally sound practices, the conservancy asks for their cooperation. That is done in the realization that the vast majority of Mountain State landowners love wild natural places and want to safeguard them.
Thousands of acres of beautiful places and irreplaceable habitat for plants and animals have been saved by the conservancy.
Congratulations to Wheatley - and to the many other preservation leaders who do excellent work through The Nature Conservancy.