Fredericksburg residents Carl and Anne Little, founders of the urban reforestation organization Tree Fredericksburg, have been recognized for their work by the environmental group Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which last week presented the Littles with one of four 2015 Forest Champion Awards for being “Most Effective at Engaging the Public.”
Every year, Tree Fredericksburg pulls together 450-500 volunteers—University of Mary Washington students, local students from Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties, scouts, church groups, and businesses–to help with fall and spring tree plantings. Since the organization started in 2008, Tree Fredericksburg has planted almost 5,000 trees in their mission to restore the urban forest in the city.
“Carl and I are happy to accept this award,” said Anne Little, who serves as president of Tree Fredericksburg, “but really, it’s a testament to the great volunteer spirit and commitment to trees that defines the Fredericksburg community.”
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is an organization that brings together individuals, environmental groups, businesses, and governments to find collaborative solutions to the problems threatening the region’s waterways, with a focus on building a strong commitment to stewardship, and delivering innovative, broadly-supported programs that benefit the land, waters, and residents of the Chesapeake Bay.
The purpose of the annual awards, given out this year at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum in Shepherdstown, W.V., on Friday, September 25, is to recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals and groups to conserve, restore and celebrate forests throughout the six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed.
About 55 percent of the 41 million acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is forested, but the amount of forested land continues to decline by an average of 100 acres per day. Groups such as Tree Fredericksburg are active in the fight to halt that trend.
“We know that forests are the best land cover for preventing nutrient pollution, and can say with confidence that every acre of forest lost to other uses means more nutrients entering the Bay and its rivers,” said Sally Claggett, U.S. Forest Service Liaison to the Chesapeake Bay Program at last year’s awards ceremony. “The need for local champions of trees and forest has never been greater”