The good news is that a lot of people care about Virginia’s environment. There are several excellent environmental safety organizations in Virginia that have done and are doing influential work in preserving the state’s habitats, species and communities.
Some of these organizations work by educating people about environmental issues and global warming. Other grass-roots agencies actively work with conservation projects and wildlife conservationists. Some are run by the government, while others are initiatives of universities and communities.
Here is a list of the top environmental safety organizations in the state. We hope the good work they have done will inspire others to do the same.
Environment Safety Organizations
Virginia Tech’s Environmental Health and Safety department tries to educate the university community about environmental safety and health issues. The department’s aim is to implement a culture of responsibility in the running of the university and its day-to-day operations.
EHS also tries to bring its ethos to various university departments, so that hazards are recognized and controlled quickly. It also supports safe and healthy living in the workplace and classroom, by providing education, feedback and training.
These could include programs on biosafety, prevention of pollution, environmental compliance, surplus chemicals, lead hazard control, radiation safety, farm safety, waste management and other environmentally-relevant issues.
The state government’s Department of Environmental Quality has a mission to protect and improve the state’s environment and promote the public’s health and well-being. To that end, it runs a host of programs related to various aspects of the environment.
These include programs of air quality, monitoring, assessment and forecasting, air checks for vehicles, coastal zone management, enforcement of laws and regulations, environmental impact reviews, land protection, waste regulation, pollution reporting, renewable energy programs, stormwater management, Chesapeake bay water quality restoration and others.
The department works with the community and other state, cross-border and federal agencies like the EPA to develop and implement better plans and programs for better environmental standards. At present, the department is mainly focusing on the sustainable management of the coastal plain aquifers, policies for greenhouse gases and better water monitoring.
The Virginia Waste Industries Association (VWIA) maintains links with Virginia companies that practice safe waste disposal and recycling. The body promotes responsible waste management by educating businesses and the public to become leaders in recycling. Many of the VWIA’s members support charitable environmental safety and health organizations to improve quality of life for citizens.
Wild Virginia is a non-profit that educates and advocates for the preservation of the state’s forests. The group organizes events, hikes and outings for raising awareness. It also organizes film festivals. Currently Wild Virginia is running campaigns against natural gas pipelines being built in the forests of Virginia and West Virginia. It also runs a Forest Defense Task Force that encourages participation to protect the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
The Virginia Wilderness Committee is a non-profit group of citizens that works with federal agencies to pass laws under the 1964 Wilderness Act in the Shenandoah National Park, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and other wild areas on public land. VWC is currently running campaigns to include more wilderness areas into the national parks.
The Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) is a network of over 120 conservation groups across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The group is the Virginia affiliate of the NWF (National Wildlife Federation). It has worked on issues ranging from renewable energy to stream restoration. As a NWF affiliate, it is dedicated to increasing Virginia’s wildlife and fish populations and help them adapt to changing climates.
The Old Dominion Land Conservancy is dedicated to preserving Virginia’s natural resources and land for its historic, scenic, natural, agricultural and recreational value. It also educates the public on the need for conservation.
The Land Trust of Virginia has a mission to help landowners protect open spaces, natural resources, cultural heritage, farms and water resources through the use of conservation easements. The group holds 149 easements totaling nearly 15,000 acres of land across Virginia counties.
The Virginia Water Environment Association is a non-profit that works to educate its members and develop policies on effective wastewater management and improving water quality. The association organizes training and education programs for the general public and the technical community.