The history of America is closely tied to that of Virginia, particularly during the Colonial period. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America and slavery was introduced there in 1619. The surrenders, ending both the American Revolution and the Civil War, occurred in Virginia. The state is called “Mother of Presidents” because 8 U.S. presidents were born there.
Native to Virginia are 12 varieties of oak, 5 of pine, 2 each of walnut, locust, gum, and poplar. Persimmon, ash, cedar and basswood can also be found. 15 plant species are now listed as threatened or endangered, including the Virginia round-leaf birch, northeastern bulrush, and the small whorled pogonia.
Among indigenous mammalian species are white-tailed deer, elk, black bear, bobcat, woodchuck, raccoon, opossum, red and gray foxes, spotted and striped skunks, along with species of moles, shrews, bats, squirrels, deermice, rats, rabbits, beaver, mink, and river otter.
56 Virginia animal species that are listed as threatened or endangered include the Virginia northern flying squirrels; Indiana, gray and big-eared bats; bald eagle; red cockaded woodpecker; Virginia fringed mountain snail; three species of pigtoe; and three species of whale.
Local government and school divisions are implementing on specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions. In addition, while striving to attain certified “Green Government” or “Green Schools” status, local government, school divisions and independent schools can save money.
The Green Government Challenge includes: formal adoption of sustainability plans and climate protection resolution; conducting energy audits; purchasing electric power from renewable sources and installing renewable energy technology (solar, wind or geothermal); developing policies to utilize energy efficient and dark sky compliant light fixtures; establishing energy management team within the government; establishing policy of LEED certification for all new government facilities; establishing community-wide recycling collection and waste (both e-waste and hazardous waste) management programs; adopting “Green Fleet” policy that incorporates purchase of low emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles and the use of alternative fuels like, biodiesel, natural gas and ethanol, in fleet operations; preserving open spaces, farmlands and forests; developing and implementing plans for tree preservation and planting; adopting anti-idling policy for school/government fleet vehicles; providing benefits for walking, ride sharing, biking or taking transit to work; and implementing “Green Living”, “Green Office” and “Green Business” challenges.
“Green Public Schools Challenge” and “Green Independent Schools Challenge” are a few other such challenges being taken seriously by the state.