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Conservation Awards

Honorees of the Rich Bliss and Peggy Stevens Awards represent the values below:

Rich Bliss Award

In commemoration of Rich’s enormous personal contributions to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, we hereby name the annual Rich Bliss Award after the organization’s founder and longtime board member, whose dedication and commitment to protecting nearby nature has left an indelible legacy on our region.

Peggy Stevens Award

In commemoration of Peggy’s incredible contributions to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, we hereby name the annual Peggy Stevens Award after the organization’s former executive director, whose energy, resourcefulness, and passion for land conservation helped make NVCT what it is today.


Every year the recipients of these prestigious awards are celebrated during NVCT's annual fundraising gala and acknowledged for their commendable conservation impact. 


Rich Bliss Award

Nancy Hyde, an attorney and longtime board member of NVCT, dedicated 18 years to the organization from 2001 to 2019. As Vice Chair, she also briefly served as the executive director in 2013. Nancy's unwavering dedication to preserving nearby nature was evident in her active involvement with NVCT's land stewardship committee throughout her tenure. She actively participated in Land Trust Alliance annual rallies and Virginia's United Land Trust conference and successfully led NVCT through accreditation processes in 2008 and 2013. In 2020, Nancy played a crucial role in the passage of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act in the Virginia State Assembly, supporting families, particularly people of color, in maintaining their ancestral lands.

Even after her board service, Nancy maintains close ties with NVCT, regularly checking in on the staff, personally welcoming new members, and treating the entire team to lunches multiple times a year as a gesture of appreciation. Her exceptional commitment to protecting the vital lands and waters of Northern Virginia has made a lasting impact on the region, shaping NVCT into the organization it is today.

Peggy Stevens Award

In 2018, Joe and Laura Braceland became the proud owners of Oak Hill, joining the efforts to preserve this historic property. They share a deep passion and love for Oak Hill, embracing their role as custodians. The Bracelands open the property periodically, allowing the community to appreciate its rich history. They organize annual home tours and outdoor displays that celebrate Oak Hill's legacy, fostering a sense of community and environmental appreciation. Through their dedication, Joe and Laura contribute to the preservation and enjoyment of Oak Hill's remarkable heritage.


Rich Bliss Award

Keister Evans served as Executive Director of the American Horticultural Society from 1970 to 1976 and was integral to River Farm becoming the organization's home base. Nearly 50 years later, Keister served as a critical leader on the Save River Farm Committee, a campaign that successfully protected the place he had worked so hard to originally acquire. Keister's quiet counsel, historical remembrances, and savvy diplomacy were essential to the effort.

Anne Fafara also served on the Save River Farm Committee and was a pivotal voice for the campaign. She was essential to the partnership and community building that created the groundswell of pressure, which dissuaded developer interest, energized community stakeholders, and engaged the historical community. Anne also protects River Farm's natural horticultural brilliance herself as a long-time volunteer gardener on site.

Peggy Stevens Award

Paul Siegel and Betsy Martin are the ideal owners of conserved land and devoted conservationists. They created and maintained the "Friends of Little Hunting Creek," organized cleanups and invasive plant removals, and continue to bring conservation prospects and volunteers to NVCT while remaining highly active in land conservation policy. They have forged a conservation community all around them and do all they can to safeguard their neighborhood and make a lasting impact on protecting Little Hunting Creek.

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