Local organizations received grants for a greener future

Published 7:26 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dominion gave grants to Hampton Roads organizations to help make a positive environmental impact on the area with specific and measurable short-term projects.

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

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

Email newsletter signup

One of these donations included the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, based in North Suffolk. The NRPA uses various initiatives to both educate local residents on the importance of protecting Suffolk’s waterways and lead projects to benefit them.

“The Dominion Energy Grant supports the NRPA signature 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 educate the next generation to be environmental students. The new grant will allow NRPA to reach over 1,800 students.”

NRPA received funding from Dominion last year and used the money to put together learning kits. The organization usually goes into local classrooms to teach students about the waterways. Because of the pandemic restricting visitors, the alliance put together learning kits for students to be able to learn the same information on their own.

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

“It feels wonderful that The Friends of the Great Dismal Swamp was awarded this grant,” said Lowie.

Currently, the trailhead and parking lot at the Jericho Trail are about two miles into the swamp. This grant will help kickstart a project to bring the trailhead closer to the road. Along with the trailhead, there are plans for a parking lot, 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 make it easier to enjoy and learn about our outdoor environment in a sustainable way,” said Applewhite.