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NVCT Works With Great Falls Resident to Protect 5-acre Natural Area

Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2022


Aaron Kershaw, Communications Coordinator

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust / (703) 354-5093, ext. 103

The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust recently celebrated the protection of a 5-acre parcel in Great Falls near the Potomac River that is now safeguarded forever, thanks to a generous land donor. The property owner, Tom Cafferty of Cafferty Commercial Real Estate Services, has now completed his third conservation easement with NVCT, as he strikes an effective balance between providing commercial real estate development services and preserving the natural heritage of a rising populated region.

"This is our third donation to NVCT. We completed our first easement with NVCT in 2005 and again in 2013," said Cafferty. "We're doing this because it's good for the community and good for the environment, plus the environmental properties of this land are better conserved than developed."

Cafferty also highlighted the tax incentives associated with land protections as an additional reason he donated the 5-acre land in an easement. "There's also a strategic benefit in the tax structure the IRS set forth that creates subsidies to give us additional incentives to donate the land."

The property contains a significant stretch of the Pond Branch watershed draining to the Potomac. The National Wetland Inventory indicates that the site features Freshwater Forested/Shrub wetlands along its mainstem stream.

This unique tract of land contains a forest of mature mixed deciduous and coniferous trees, including American beech, oak, tulip poplar, and hickory. Deciduous trees like oak, maple, and elm usually wow us during the fall season as their leaves change colors and shed annually. Coniferous trees like pine and redwoods have needles instead of leaves, hold their color in the fall, and use cones, not flowers, to spread their seeds.

Many common wildlife species depend on this property, including resident and migratory birds, red fox, Pileated woodpeckers, White-tailed deer, and more. Additionally, there is potential habitat onsite for two state-endangered species, the little brown bat and the tri-colored bat, which are federally listed as threatened species. The state-listed, threatened wood turtle habitat on the property also adds to the conservation importance of this valuable place.

“We were pleased to again work with Tom to realize his vision for protection of the land owns. His model of doing what’s good for business while understanding how important it is to conserve our natural world is one we hope others will move towards, said NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome. “Our world would be a better place if more people thought like and made the decisions Tom has made.”


The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a regional, nonprofit land trust that forever conserves, manages, and advocates for land that has natural, historical, and cultural value to our Northern Virginia communities. NVCT works with conservation partners, local governments, and private landowners to preserve, restore and steward the land in Northern Virginia. Since its founding in 1994, NVCT has protected over 8,000 acres in urban and rural areas. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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