Interim President's Message
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1. Alteration of Dominion Energy’s transmission-line rebuild project along the southern boundary of the Park. With Cathy’s leadership, FOHMP succeeded in getting Dominion to change their project design, including lowering the planned monopoles. This reduced the risk of birds colliding with the top grounding wire and protected the historic viewshed from Historic Huntley looking south over Hybl a Valley.
2. Removal of two proposed conceptual paved bike trails through the Park from Fairfax County ’s Countywide Bicycle Master Plan. Building those trails would have caused permanent destruction of natural and historic resources, some of which are rare, and would have unfavorably altered the hydrology of the Park..
3. A tenfold increase of FOHMP’s annual budget during Cathy’s tenure, allowing FOHMP to donate more than $200,000 to support programs and natural-resource management at the Park. The long-term financial sustainability of FOHMP was improved by the installation of a second donation box, this one in the parking lot for the Hike/Bike Trail (off South Kings Highway).
4. Increased visibility of FOHMP with elected officials of Fairfax County and the state of Virginia. Cathy and FOHMP educated many officials about the importance of healthy natural resources, such as those at the Park, protecting us from the impacts of climate change and providing important ecosystem services that we need to live healthy lives. Cathy worked hard to embed the importance of healthy natural resources into land-use decisions.
As a result of these and many more accomplishments, future generations will be able to enjoy the same (or better) Huntley Meadows Park and Historic Huntley that we enjoy today.
FOHMP’s Board has asked me to act as Interim President while the Board searches for a new permanent president. (I won’t say “a replacement” as there is no replacing Cathy). Regarding my role, let me first say that the first synonym for “interim” is applicable here - I am only serving as President until we have identified and installed a new permanent president, so if you are interested in the position or know anyone who would be a good fit, please reach out to me or any other member of the Board.
For those of you who don’t know me, I have been visiting the Park regularly since my wife and I moved to Hollin Hills in 1991. One of the first things I did after moving was to look at a map of the area, see this big blob of green, and say to my wife, “We’ve got to go check out this Huntley Meadows place.” We had just started birding and were immediately hooked by this special place.
The Citizen’s Alliance to Save Huntley Meadows Park (CASH) was a pro bono client of the law firm where I was working at the time, and I had the opportunity to work on CASH’s efforts to fight Van Dorn Phase III. It was during this time that I met the indomitable and delightful Norma Hoffman, who later asked me to join the Board of FOHMP.
See you on the trails, and feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about FOHMP or the Board.
Ben Jesup, Interim President