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Conservation Awards

Nature Needs Tenacious Protection

Trees can't talk, and water doesn't whistle, which is why land and water need advocates to invest their time and energy in protecting them. Animals do not articulate in the ways humans do, and as they lose more and more habitat, they need people to stand up for them. 
Here at NVCT, we tirelessly work to protect all aspects of nature, understanding that much of nature is voiceless and needs us to speak up for it loudly and clearly.

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Honoring Tenacious Protectors

In 2022, we decided to begin acknowledging more conservation heroes who join us in speaking up for nature, realizing that highlighting those in our region that are most committed to "Saving Nearby Nature" is integral to inspiring the next generation of like-minded environmental champions. In that spirit, at our annual gala, "An Evening At River Farm," we presented the inaugural Rich Bliss Award and Peggy Stevens Award in honor of our founder and former long-time board member Rich Bliss and the late former NVCT Executive Director Peggy Stevens for their significant contributions to conserving Northern Virginia's land and water for all time.

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The Rich Bliss Award

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The Peggy Stevens Award


Rich Bliss Awardees

Anne Fafara
& Keister Evans

The Bliss Award recognizes an individual whose vision, determination, and devotion to the environment have made Northern Virginia a better place for future generations. Through positivity and persuasion, the individual has persevered and remained undaunted in their efforts to protect our natural world for all time.

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The Rich Bliss Award Recipients: Keister Evans & Anne Fafara

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 Awardees

Paul Siegel
& Betsy Martin

The Stevens Award recognizes an NVCT conservation landowner whose enthusiasm, focus, and exemplary management of their land is a model in the community and a benefit to the living things and people who rely on it. With pride and purpose, the individual has shown through action and devotion what it truly means to love nature.

Peggy Stevens Award Recipients: Paul Siegel & Betsy Martin

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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