Tri-Cities fund will lead

to better quality of life

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

RTD reporter Sean Gorman's recent article, "In Tri-Cities, 'big dreams' for the environment," on the establishment of the Tri-Cities Environmental Endowment Fund was well-written and highlighted how several local community and environmental leaders in our region are working toward protecting our natural resources and restoring our local environment. I have a personal insight to the conditions of the James River, in particular. Before moving to Hopewell, I lived on the James River beside the Benjamin Harrison Bridge, where the factories along the James light up the evening sky. Then, as a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University, I took a class titled “Rivers as a Resource,” where the pollution of the James River was the major focus and caused me concerns whenever I enjoyed playing in the river.

The only way we are going to continue to protect and preserve our local environment is through action, not rhetoric. Talk is cheap — action is where it counts. In order to improve air quality, reduce sediment and nutrient pollution, stabilize outfalls, restore ravines, preserve wetlands and clean up illegal dumping grounds, we need money to fund these projects.

I believe the Tri-Cities Environmental Endowment Fund is going to be a big game changer for the region. With increased accessibility of funds, localities, school divisions, nonprofits, civic organizations and churches in the Tri-Cities will be able to better fund conservation and environmental improvement projects. With more projects completed, the more benefits we will see with an improved quality of life.

I'm so impressed with the leadership and vision of this team of local leaders that I have personally donated to see this fund grow. I challenge everyone to donate to this worthy cause and help improve one of the most environmentally challenged regions in Virginia.

Thomas Dance Wagstaff.

Kiwanis Club of Hopewell.

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