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January 4, 2022

McDainel and Ohrstrom 2021 “Heritage Heroes”

Mary Leigh McDaniel and George L. Ohrstrom II.
The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association has recognized county Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel (Marshall District) and George L. Ohrstrom II of Clarke County with its 2021 Heritage Hero Awards.

Based at Atoka, the association each year honors “individuals or groups who have demonstrated years of preservation leadership and responsible stewardship” in the region.

“Their preservation efforts have made a profound impact on protecting our historic landscape for future generations,” association Chairman C. Dulany Morison said.

VPHAA presented its 2021 Heritage Hero Awards on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Buchanan Hall in Upperville.

Of Ms. McDaniel, Mr. Morison said: She “has worked tirelessly during her tenure as an elected official to preserve the integrity of our beautiful countryside. Over the last six years she has been a stalwart pillar of opposition against inappropriate commercial enterprises in areas zoned rural agricultural and played a major role in defeating the expansion of the Blackthorn Inn and Barrel Oak Winery (proposed resort).

“In addition to her consistent principled leadership as a supervisor, she was an important contributor on the Route 50 Calming Task Force and has served on the Board of the Land Trust of Virginia, where she worked to protect rural properties with conservation easements. She currently serves as co-chair of the Warrenton Garden Club Conservation Committee and is working with elected officials and the Virginia Department of Transportation to make Fauquier County more pollinator friendly. Ms. McDaniel’s leadership and willingness to advocate for our cherished landscape at every level has been critical to the preservation of the rural, agricultural, and authentic character of Fauquier County that attracts residents and visitors alike.”

The association chairman said: “Mr. Ohrstrom has made environmental conservation in Clarke Country his top priority for over 40 years, and he is the third generation of the Ohrstrom family to carry the preservation legacy forward. His family helped found the Piedmont Environmental Council in 1972 and he has served as a PEC director since 2000 and co-chair since 2013.

“He has focused on farmland protection, the restoration of streams, and the cultivation of natural wildlife habitat. In addition to protecting several of his own properties with conservation easements, he has served as chair, vice-chair and treasurer of the Clarke County Easement Authority which now holds over 8,000 acres of conservation easements.

“Mr. Ohrstrom is also a major supporter of the Friends of the Shenandoah, which conducts monitoring and water quality sample analysis in support of efforts in the Shenandoah River and Goose Creek, as well as is a member of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, which advocates for important conservation policies in Virginia. His commitment to conservation and preservation for almost half-a-century have been instrumental in the preservation of Clarke County and the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area.

Previous winners of the Heritage Hero Award include Sen. John Warner, Karen Hughes White, Janet Whitehouse, Hope Porter, Linda Newton, Robert H. Smith, Su Webb, Lori Kimball, Bob Sinclair, Robert Lee, Walter Nicklin, John and Mary Fishback, Mitch Diamond, David Blake, Scott Kasprowicz, Gayle and Tom DeLashmutt, Paul Ziluca, Mary Thomason-Morris, Al Van Huyck, Fauquier-Loudoun Garden Club, Charles “Chuck” Kuhn, Bradley J. Bondi, Friends of Balls Bluff and Jean Perin.

The association focuses on preservation and education about the region’s history and culture.
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