Save River Farm campaign wins award for conservation and advocacy efforts


River Farm manor house (Credit: AHS/River Farm)

The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust’s (NVCT) Save River Farm campaign recently won a professional award from the Potomac Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

According to a July 21 press release from NVCT, the campaign was presented a merit award in the “Public and Non-Profit Projects” category for its conservation and advocacy efforts at River Farm to fend off a potential sale of the property, which is owned and operated by the American Horticultural Society (AHS). 

The Save River Farm Committee — led by NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome — worked on two fronts in its conservation work from 2020-2021, protecting the historic and cultural resources associated with River Farm and ensuring that public access to the gardens and open space would continue as envisioned by the property’s original benefactor, Enid Annenberg Haupt.

In the end, AHS took River Farm off the market and reopened the grounds, located along the Potomac River just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, to the public. This year, the national nonprofit is celebrating its 50th year at the site, including with a free anniversary picnic on Aug. 24.

NVCT’s winning campaign entry in ASLA Potomac’s award program was spearheaded by Save River Farm Committee member Daniel Straub, a landscape architect, according to fellow committee member Anne Fafara.

“He did all the heavy lifting to make sure NVCT received this award,” she said.

“Receiving the 2023 Merit Award from the Potomac Chapter of ASLA is a tremendous honor for NVCT, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for the recognition,” said Rowsome. “NVCT remains steadfast in its commitment to conserving and preserving the rich landscapes and historic treasures of Northern Virginia, and there’s no better feeling than to walk the beautiful grounds of River Farm today knowing they are safe and protected.”

NVCT and the project team picked up their award May 11 at ASLA Potomac’s Annual Awards Gala, which took place, appropriately enough, at River Farm.

Note: The author previously worked at AHS/River Farm.

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