The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail Wins the 2023 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award
For Immediate Release: April 24, 2023
On Sunday, April 23, the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission (EPC) and Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew), the independent public wastewater treatment authority serving Alexandria, presented the 2023 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award to The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail (FOTMVT), an Alexandria-based volunteer organization dedicated to the ongoing maintenance and improvement of The Mount Vernon Trail.
Founded in 2018, and inspired by the legacy of Ellen Pickering and Barbara Lynch, the two women who built the Mount Vernon Trail, FOTMVT’s mission is to improve the Mount Vernon Trail for the benefit of all users. The organization focuses on four areas: trail maintenance, natural resource protection, natural resource appreciation and advocacy.
AlexRenew Board of Directors Secretary-Treasurer Bill Dickinson presented the award to FOTMVT President and Co-Founder Judd Isbell yesterday at the Del Ray Citizens Association’s Gardenfest event, one of Alexandria’s community events celebrating Earth Day. Congressman Don Beyer, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, and Councilmembers Alyia Gaskins and Sarah Bagley also attended and praised the organization for how it supports community parks and trails.
The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award recognizes Alexandria community members who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and preserving local natural resources. Volunteers from The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail can be seen on the trail every weekend conducting project work that includes repairing bridges, removing invasive species, performing bump removal service, pothole repair, bridge board replacement, pressure washing slippery bridges, trail edging, and trimming overgrowth of vegetation.
FOTMVT place great emphasis on natural resource protection, coordinating clean-up activities focused on the removal of invasive plant species that destroy native vegetation and deprive wildlife of food sources. In addition to picking up litter from the landscape, volunteers remove bush honeysuckle, English Ivy and kudzu nearly every weekend, saving mature trees from destruction and allowing the re-emergence of native plants.
In 2020, the organization became a philanthropic partner of the National Park Service. Since that time, the group has conducted 118 volunteer events where 1,908 volunteers have provided 5,425 hours, ensuring the conditions on the trail provide safe, sustainable transportation and recreation by cyclists, runners and walkers.
This annual award honors the late Ellen Pickering and her lifelong dedication to City preservation and conservation. The selection committee is composed of one member of Ms. Pickering’s family, a representative from AlexRenew’s Board of Directors, and a representative of EPC. Nominations are accepted each year starting in February, and awarded in April as part of the City’s celebration of Earth Day.
Visit alexandriava.gov/EarthDay for more information about the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award and other Earth Day activities.
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