Local organizations awarded greener future grants – The Suffolk News-Herald

Dominion has provided grants to Hampton Roads organizations to help have a positive environmental impact on the area with specific, measurable short-term projects.

The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in environmental stewardship grants to support 115 community organizations in 10 states across the country. These donations included nonprofits and school districts in Hampton Roads, including Suffolk and Chesapeake.

“Acting as good stewards of our environment is central to Dominion Energy’s mission,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, Chairman of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “We are honored to support these worthy organizations doing great work to improve the world around us today and tomorrow.”

One such donation included the North Suffolk-based Nansemond River Preservation Alliance. The NRPA uses a variety of initiatives to educate local residents about the importance of protecting Suffolk’s waterways and run projects on their behalf.

“The Dominion Energy grant supports NRPA’s flagship environmental education program, Nansemond Watershed Initiative: Connecting the Classroom with the Environment,” said Elizabeth Taraski, President and CEO of the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance. “NWI is a hands-on, interactive approach to educating the next generation to become environmental students. The new grant will allow the NRPA to reach more than 1,800 students.

The NRPA received funding from Dominion last year and used the money to put together learning kits. The organization typically visits local classrooms to teach students about waterways. Due to the pandemic limiting visitors, the alliance has set up learning kits for students to learn the same information on their own.

Another local organization that received money was The Friends of the Great Dismal Swamp, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education about the Great Dismal Swamp. According to Chris Lowie, refuge manager at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, money from this project will go towards a new trail entrance on the Jericho Trail off White Marsh Road.

“It’s wonderful that the Friends of the Great Dismal Swamp have received this grant,” Lowie said.

Currently the Jericho trailhead and parking lot is about two miles out in the swamp. This grant will help start a project to bring the trailhead closer to the road. Besides the trailhead, there are plans for a parking lot, an outreach center, and an education center.

Other local projects included the Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast for Solar Power Learning in the Outdoors, The Historic Oaklawn Cemetery Foundation for project preservation, and the YMCA of South Hampton Roads for All Kids Swim: Making Nature Accessible Through Water Safety .

“We hope these grants will make it easier to appreciate and learn about our outdoor environment in a sustainable way,” Applewhite said.

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