Winchester-Frederick County Tourism Receives $10,000 Healing the Planet Grant

WINCHESTER, VA – To help improve the health of our local waterways, the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau (WFCCVB) announced today it is the recipient of a $10,000 Healing the Planet grant from The GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

The WFCCVB will be using the grant funds to remove invasive plant species and landscape the hillside between the Visitor Center and Abram’s Pond. The hillside has become thickly overgrown with invasive plants and trees since the Visitor Center was built around 2007. The goal of the landscaping project is three-fold. First, it will improve watershed management for Rouss Spring, which feeds Wilkins Lake, Abrams Run and eventually Opequon Creek. Second, it will be planted with strictly native grasses, shrubs, and trees to improve the biodiversity of the area. Finally, a variety of native flowering perennials will also be planted to create a healthy pollinator habitat. The Visitor Center has partnered with Shenandoah University and Dr. Iara Lacher from Seven Bends Nursery to craft and implement a multi-year plan to clear the hillside, prep it, and plant a variety of minimum-maintenance native plants.

“We are very thankful to receive this grant, which will allow us to be increasingly better stewards of the land by the Visitor Center,” said Justin Kerns, Executive Director of the WFCCVB. “There is a great opportunity for us, being in an especially visible location to both locals and visitors from around the country, to showcase the beauty of our native flora and educate members of the public who come here.”

More than $300,000 in funding was awarded by The GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in support of projects that aimed at improving the health and quality of waterways to help protect water resources and improve the overall health of communities. Eligible projects included stream health and water quality monitoring activities, marine debris removal, storm water/MS4 education initiatives, lake/pond ecology, watershed education activities, watershed landscape measures, rain gardens, streambank restoration, erosion control, AMD remediation, rain barrels, pollution abatement and source water protection. Funding for the grants was provided by customers at GIANT, MARTIN’S, and GIANT Heirloom Market stores who agreed to round up their grocery purchase to the nearest dollar from March through May.

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