Northern Virginia Regional Park Authorit, VA


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Why My City is Cool

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) has adopted the Cool Counties Resolution.

NVRPA operates a park system in these six member jurisdiction that includes 21 parks over 10,000 acres. For the last year and a half we have had an aggressive energy conservation policy in place, which includes monthly tracking of all of our energy consumption. Between fiscals year 2006 to 2007 we reduced our carbon emissions by 2% in our operations.

We hosted an energy conservation fair in July 2006 and are hosting a free outdoor showing of An Inconvenient Truth at one of our parks this month.

“We feel like this is a great opportunity for residents and their families to come out and enjoy one of the most beautiful sites our region has to offer,” said NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert. “Parks and natural areas not only offer great areas for outdoor recreation, they are also essential to reducing greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. Few issues are better for thinking globally and acting locally.”

Visitors to this important event will have a chance to hear about some of the environmental efforts being undertaken by both the Parks Authority as well as local governments in Northern Virginia, including brief remarks by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson.

The event serves as an informal kick off to NVRPA’s official adoption of the Cool Counties Initiative last month. Cool Counties is part of national initiative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by marshalling all 3,000 counties in the United States to the cause, including both Arlington and Fairfax Counties. The City of Alexandria is a signatory of a similar Cool Cities initative. The program’s emphasis focuses on reducing energy consumption and the use of alternative fuels, among others.

NVRPA began its energy conservation effort a little over a year ago. These efforts have resulted in a total carbon emission drop between 2006 and 2007 agency wide. Efforts at Brambleton Regional Golf Course for example, saved enough energy last year to heat and cool 103 average homes for a year, a 27 percent reduction in the course’s energy consumption. Last month’s adoption of the Cool Counties Initiative by the NVRPA Board of Directors was an important step for the Park Authority, according to NVRPA Chairman Bill Dickinson.

“We shall lead by example in the field of energy conservation. By adopting this resolution, we will help create a more sustainable society that is less dependent on non-renewable resources, and achieve long-term cost savings in the process.”

“The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has shown real leadership in signing on to the Cool Counties initiative. Their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas are a direct help to the Arlington Initative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE). I am thrilled NVRPA is offering a free showing of An Inconvenient Truth. The more people that see this important movie the better our chances are to correct global warming. I would encourage everyone to attend this event,” remarked Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson.

NVRPA Board of Directors member Judy Braus (Fairfax County), who also serves as Vice President, Education and Centers, National Audubon Society added that programs like the one being held at Meadowlark were key in terms of raising public awareness.

“The local governments like Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria that have taken formal action to reduce their emissions and help citizens understand what they can do to reduce pollution are making an enormous difference,” Braus noted. “Global warming is one of the most critical issues facing our world. Understanding the issue and some of the steps we can all take to reduce our emissions is the first step to solving this issue. That is why coming to the event at Meadowlark is so important.”

Fairfax County was instrumental in working with other Counties to develop the Cool Counties initative. On hearing the news of NVRPA’s adoption of the Cool Counties Resolution Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly remarked, “I applaud the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s adoption of Cool Counties. Because of their large land holdings, substantial fleet, and numerous facilities, the NVRPA has the capacity to make a significant contribution to the effort to stabilize and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, for example, NVRPA cut carbon emissions by 2%. The adoption of Cool Counties will provide a comprehensive framework in which the NVRPA can expand upon their greenhouse gas emission reductions efforts.”

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