Activities & Projects

Since our council began operations in 1991, over 170 projects have been adopted; many of them have been successfully completed, some were canceled for various reasons and some are ongoing. Ideas are presented by our council members or members of the general public regularly at council meetings. The council decides which ideas they want to pursue. Old Dominion RC&D supports projects that have positive effects on the region. No assistance is provided for projects of personal interests or gains. If you would like to read our most recent Annual Report, you can obtain information concerning our ongoing projects.

Below you will find information on several of our most successful projects from recent years.

 Old Dominion Resource Conservation and Development Inc. began this project in 1998 with a TEA-21 grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail is modeled after the already successful Lee’s Retreat, a driving tour traversing rural areas of Virginia. The Wilson-Kautz Raid driving tour, that opened in June of 2002, was coordinated by Old Dominion RC&D using TEA-21 funds as well.

Instead of focusing on the Civil War sites, the Heritage Trail highlights contributions made to bring equal education to all Americans. The trail includes 41 sites (several sites shown in photos above) through 13 counties and the City of Petersburg and describes the history of education in Southside Virginia. A Core Committee comprised of representatives of each jurisdiction oversaw the project. The Committee developed a request for proposals and advertised for a historian to prepare site histories. A historian was hired and wrote narratives for the prospective sites. From these narratives, the sign verbiage was written. The design firm, Hall & Partners, created a trail map and logo as well as wrote the sign verbiage.

The Department of Historic Resources was consulted about placement of the signs and found no adverse affects. Easements were obtained from landowners to allow for the placement of the interpretive signs. Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville is the anchor site of the trail and tells the story of how a county closed its public schools for five years beginning in 1959 in reaction to the new integration laws. Other sites focus on the struggles by Native Americans, women, and the handicapped in obtaining an education.

The Heritage Trail opened in May 2004. Virginia’s Retreat, a multi-county tourism marketing organization, is promoting the Heritage Trail and has information on the 41 sites. A study is underway for additional sites. A DVD is available to give an overview and to provide some insight into the people and places highlighted by the trail. For a DVD, brochure or more information on the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail, call us at 434-542-5489 or send an ema this office il request to . The DVD can be obtained for a donation of $5.00.

Old Dominion RC&D, along with five Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) within Southside Virginia, developed an Environmental Field School (EFS) program and targeted socially disadvantaged youth in grades 5, 6 and 7. Students are selected each year from recommendations given by guidance counselors and science teachers. With the majority of the students coming from low income families, this is an opportunity for them to experience the outdoors through interactive classes and learn first hand what is needed to protect and conserve our environment. The EFS, one week in length, is held twice each summer in different regions of the RC&D area. Many people are involved in the preparation and activities including specialists from several state and federal agencies. Students learn more about watersheds, point and non-point source pollution, Best Management Practices, forestry, fish and wildlife. The intent is to enhance the instruction students receive from the public schools and help them increase their scores on Virginia’s Standards Of Learning tests and to enable them to become better environmental stewards. More information can be obtained on the EFS in our northern counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward by contacting Sherry Ragland. For our southern counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg, contact Julie Hamlett.
The Southside area of Virginia is very rural. A large number of people of all ages hunt and fish and participate in outdoor activities. Our area contains the largest man-made lake in Virginia, Kerr Reservoir. Firearms and water based safety instruction are beneficial to our youth. A large amount of homes in the area are dependent on wood for heating; therefore, a course on proper handling of a chainsaw is on the program agenda. Severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornados and ice storms are common and can lead to power outages and downed power lines. An awareness of what to do if you are in close proximity to downed lines is taught as well as education on the safe use of alternative power supplies during power outages. These are some of the subjects touched upon at Farm Safety Day.  Our target audience are youth, ages 6-14. These are the youth that are physically capable of handling farm work and chores though they lack the practical experience to fully understand the potential dangers that surround them on a farm. They are also at the age to learn from interactive presentations and demonstrations. If you would like more information on farm safety programs, please email your request.
Old Dominion RC&D is an equal opportunity employer and provider.