Thoughts From Our President

By Marilyn Shoenfeld

As the year continues to rush by, winter is finally here! Six inches of snow have replaced the autumn leaves, and folks are getting their skis and snowshoes ready for the season. The holiday season is here, and all of us at the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy wish all of you the best possible holidays and a very Happy New Year! 

We would also like to thank all those who participated in Giving Tuesday by supporting WVHC for our first membership drive. Together, we were able to raise $2,957 and welcome eight new members to our community.

Here is a reminder of what we stand for and what you are supporting: WVHC has been around since 1965 when threats to the Highlands of West Virginia proliferated, ranging from superhighways to pump storage projects to mountaintop removal. A quotation from The Highlands Voice states our mission: 

“WVHC, per our bylaws, will promote, encourage and work for the conservation–including both preservation and wise use–and appreciation of the natural resources of West Virginia…especially the Highlands Region of West Virginia, for the cultural, social, educational, physical, health, spiritual, and economic benefit of present and future generations of West Virginians…”  

Our goals are the same today as they were in 1965, and we need your support to carry on our work.

In this issue, you will find updates from the activities of our various committees in 2023. We hope you take a moment to read about all that the Conservancy is doing to protect our beautiful state and feel empowered to make a donation or become involved to help drive our mission forward even further. Visit to support our work.

The 2024 West Virginia Legislative session is just around the corner and is scheduled for January 10, 2024, with an interim session on January 7-9. WVHC has developed, with the other partners of the West Virginia Environmental Council, a list of priorities that we will advocate for during this session. They include net metering, orphaned gas well responsibility, community solar, ORVs, the West Virginia Scenic Rivers Act of 2024, and many other issues. Please read the article written by our Legislative Committee Chair and Senior Vice President on page five of the Voice.

Another proposal has been made by the United States Forest Service to store carbon underground in National Forests. The Conservancy is studying this issue and will comment at the appropriate time.

In other good news, we are proud to announce that Crys Bauer has been promoted to Membership and Operations Director. We look forward to great things from our team and are excited to be working with them.

Things to look out for in January:

On January 9, The West Virginia Rivers Coalition is hosting a Clean Water for All event at the Culture Center in Charleston commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Chemical Spill in the Elk River. The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. and will feature live music, speakers, interactive art, food, and community.

The following day, on January 10, the Conservancy will be holding a Board Meeting at the Kanawha County Public Library, Rooms 308-309 at 10 a.m.

As always, comments and thoughts are always welcome. Please reach out at

Thanks for reading!