As published in The Journal (Martinsburg, WV), August 31, 2021 —
CHARLES TOWN — The Two Rivers Giving Circle has honored Kristin Alexander, of Berkeley County, and Grant Smith, of Jefferson County, with Conservation Awards.
The awards were presented during the Giving Circle’s annual summer picnic, held at Charles Town’s historic Harewood mansion on Aug. 15. They recognize both individuals for their many years of strong support for natural resources conservation in the Eastern Panhandle. Both of them received handcrafted platters made from local clay by award-winning potters Pam and Ren Parziale, of Sycamore Pottery in Leetown.
The Two Rivers Giving Circle is a field of interest fund of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. Since its inception in 2008, it has provided more than $100,000 to Eastern Panhandle organizations engaged in natural resources conservation and historic preservation. It is one of the few grant makers in the region that focuses on these two fields.
Each year, the Giving Circle also recognizes one or more individuals who have been leaders in one or both of these fields.
Alexander is the Executive Director of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, a post she has held since 2007. She first joined PVAS in 2001, as director of its first nature preserve, the Yankauer Preserve in Berkeley County. In that role, she was the organization’s only employee. She now oversees an organization that includes five staff members, operates four nature preserves, and offers a wide variety of programs and activities aimed at promoting greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world. A native of Maryland, Alexander moved to the Eastern Panhandle in 2000. She lives in rural Martinsburg with her husband Jeff and son, JJ.
Smith has been the President of the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle for the past two decades. The Land Trust was established in 1994 to preserve open space, farmland, and rural landscapes in the three-county region, and it entered into its first conservation easement in 1997. Under Smith’s leadership, this still-all-volunteer organization has grown to the point where it now holds or co-holds 50 conservation easements that are protecting more than 4,800 acres. Smith and his wife, Renny, first moved to the area in 1988, after he retired from a long, distinguished career with the U.S. Department of State. They currently live in Shepherdstown.
To learn more about the Giving Circle, and to get information about joining or contributing, go to the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation website at www.ewvcf.org or contact Michael Whalton, the Foundation’s executive director, at 304-264-0353 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of membership is $500 annually. Contributions of any amount are welcomed.