The Northern Neck Land Conservancy received the 2021 Elizabeth Cabell Dugdale Award for Meritorious Achievement in Conservation from the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) on Wednesday, October 20.

Conservancy President, Capt. Stuart Ashton, Jr., USN Ret. accepted the award on behalf of the organization’s board members, staff and many generous regional landowners. The Garden Club’s Conservation Forum was cancelled this year so a local awards event was held at Mount Zion, a beautifully restored historic home in Lottsburg. Owned by the Cowart family, Mount Zion showcases the Northern Neck Land Conservancy’s work to convene forward-thinking landowners, conservation funders and land preservation allies for the greater good of the Northern Neck.

The Elizabeth Cabell Dugdale Award is presented to an organization, industry or individual that demonstrates outstanding service in the conservation and wise development of the natural resources of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Past recipients include Christine and Frederick Andreae and the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary, Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, and the Piedmont Environmental Council.

The Garden Club of the Northern Neck nominated Northern Neck Land Conservancy for the award to recognize its steadfast commitment for more than 17 years to preserve the rural heritage of our region and conserve its lands, waters, economies and culture for future generations. In this time, the conservancy has secured 6,100 acres of land — a strategy that permanently preserves the Northern Neck’s many assets.

“Our organization founders understood the immense value of the Northern Neck — our open spaces, abundant wildlife, and our rural heritage,” said Stu Ashton. “We can all be grateful for their vision, effort and expertise. Northern Neck Land Conservancy is benefitting us all now and it will continue to do so for years to come.”

A number of Northern Neck leaders gathered to celebrate as GCV Conservation Award Committee Chair Jane Edwards and Northern Neck Garden Club President Laurie McCord recognized the conservancy. The gathering included easement donor Lake Cowart, Land Conservancy founding board member Mary Louisa Pollard, past conservancy Presidents Steve Walker and Lawrence Latane, and new Executive Director Lisa Biever, along with several other board and staff members and supporters.

Everyone can join in conserving our region’s lands, water, economies and culture. Visit to learn more about creating a conservation easement, making a donation or getting involved with the Northern Neck Land Conservancy.