A Primer for Stewardship: What We're Doing and Why It's Important to Protect, Preserve and Enhance Fairfax County's Cultural and Natural Heritage
Recently, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors introduced a county-wide plan for environmental excellence. This environmental vision, along with the Natural Resource Management Plan developed by the Park Authority last year and the long-established Heritage Resource Management Plan, helps set the stage for a new approach to resource management. What's it all about? Stewardship.
Due to the county's tremendous growth, sound stewardship of parklands, green space, public gardens and historical and archaeological sites has become more important than ever. Here's what you need to know about stewardship:
What is stewardship? The Park Authority defines stewardship as the careful, responsible and sustainable management of the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the Park Authority by the citizens of Fairfax County for present and future generations.
Why is stewardship important? Our resources, such as water, trees, plants, animals, archaeological sites and historic structures, are not only directly threatened by development, but also require active and thoughtful management. By preserving and protecting our resources, we ensure they can be enjoyed by future generations.
What are we doing? The Park Authority has always emphasized stewardship - it's a key part of our mission. However, we are now taking a more deliberate and active approach to resource management. This is demonstrated by the adoption of the first-ever agency-wide Natural Resource Management Plan by the Park Authority Board earlier this year and by the Cultural Resource Management Plan that is now in the works. In addition, the plans focus on building and expanding partnerships with other agencies, groups and volunteers. Finally, both plans highlight the important role that education and public involvement play in stewardship.
Some of these stewardship projects include:
These examples are just a few of the many initiatives, large and small, that we will be implementing as part of our stewardship vision. This is an exciting time to be a steward of Fairfax County's natural and cultural heritage. We have a lot of work to do. As Mike Kane, a former director of the Park Authority said in an address to employees, "This is stewardship - taking heartfelt and diligent care of our natural and cultural resources in the best way that we can. It is everyone's responsibility".