Carter family conservation award sets the table in the Northern Neck
, 2014

Carter family conservation award
sets the table in the Northern Neck

As the Garden Club of Virginia prepares for Historic Garden Week, April 20 through 27, so does The Garden Club of the Northern Neck (GCNN). In partnership with the Northern Neck Land Conservancy, the GCNN is preparing to launch a social marketing campaign funded by the Garden Club of Virginia’s Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award.

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From left, Jamie Tucker, Carol Hughes and Susan Hill of The Car Wash Cafe exhibit the placemats, a key component in the social marketing campaign to promote the good health of the Cat Point Creek watershed. Photo by Robert Mason, Jr.

Approximately 40,000 placemats designed to promote the good health of the Cat Point Creek Watershed will be placed in restaurants, historic sites and state parks in the Northern Neck beginning April 19, said NNLC past president and GCNN conservation committee chairman Carol Hughes.

The Garden Club of Virginia’s Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award was established to fund implementation of a conservation project that will serve as a catalyst for community action for natural resource conservation and environmental protection within the Commonwealth, explained Hughes. It was awarded to the GCNN in partnership with the NNLC in 2012.

The award has helped fund the campaign to share information about the Cat Point Creek Watershed—46,800 acres of hilly terrain that includes farms, streams, forests, millponds, and wetlands, she said.

This watershed represents one of the most unspoiled examples of tidal freshwater systems remaining in the Chesapeake Bay region and the entire East Coast, added NNLC executive director Jamie Tucker, who is responsible for the placemat design.

There are large expanses of unspoiled wetland habitat of bald eagles, peregrine falcons, migratory wildfowl, otter and many varieties of salt and fresh water plants, said Tucker. Cat Point Creek headwaters originate in Westmoreland County, continue for 19 miles into Richmond County, flow into the Rappahannock River, and ultimately, into the Chesapeake Bay.

The proceeds from Historic Garden Week in Virginia, “America’s largest open house,” have preserved the grounds of the Commonwealth’s most cherished historic landmarks, said Hughes. Northern Neck landmarks such as Stratford Hall, Menokin, Mount Airy, Westmoreland State Park and George Washington’s Birthplace, all located in or near the Cat Point watershed, depend on the assets the watershed provides.

The tables will be set with the placemats:

• In Lancaster at Car Wash Café, Carried Away Cusine, Lancaster Tavern, Lee’s Restaurant, The Oaks, Smokin’Joes and Willaby’s.

• In Northumberland at Cockrell’s Creek Seafood, Horn Harbor, Luna, and Tommy’s Restaurant.

• In Richmond County at Anna’s Pizza, The Daily, The Fat Finch, Lilly’s, Menokin Foundation and Mt. Airy.

• In Westmoreland at Angelo’s, Art of Coffee, George Washington’s Birthplace, High Tide on the Potomac, Kinsale Harbour Restaurant, Stratford Hall Dining, Westmoreland State Park and Wilkerson’s.

• In Essex at Essex Inn, Relish, and Arnest Seafood and Café.

• In King George at Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast.

• In Middlesex at Merrior.

The Northern Neck Land Conservancy and the Garden Club of the Northern Neck are indebted to Bessie Carter’s family for their vision of preserving and protecting Virginia lands, said Hughes. Without their initiative and the implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan, conceived by the late Sen. Gerald Bemiss and Attorney George Freeman, Virginia would not have an articulate environmental philosophy.

These placemats urge all Virginians to take part in protecting this national treasure watershed for its balance and benefits that sustain all throughout the region, she said.

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