Natural Resource Leaders Gather in Richmond for Third Leadership Institute Session

December 15, 2010

December 15, 2010  — Virginia's natural resource management leaders will meet in Richmond's Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center Jan. 5 through 7 for the third of six Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute-sponsored workshops. The institute's program rotates through different locations throughout the commonwealth.

Participants in the institute program are referred to as fellows. This year's fellows – from Virginia industry, business, local and state government, and the environmental community – will continue their yearlong work together to develop skills in conflict resolution, personal leadership and collaborative dialogue.

Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program, this year's class also includes participants from Ohio and Colorado, states that are considering starting their own natural resource leadership institutes.

In addition to the core curriculum offerings, in this session the fellows will visit the Capitol and learn from state legislators and lobbyists about how they interact and what principles are at play in those interactions. They will also participate in a panel discussion to examine the balance of power between state and local government in growth management. Robert Holsworth, founder and president of Virginia Tomorrow, will address the institute fellows about political developments in Virginia. Patricia S. O'Bannon, chair of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, will visit with the fellows to speak about local natural resource challenges.

The session is not open to the public, but media can contact Steve Talley at for information about the proceedings.

The Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute is a partnership of the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The institute program is supported this year by a grant from the Dominion Foundation that supports collaborative decision-making for protecting Virginia's environment and natural resources. The institute is also supported with grants from the George Beals Conservation Leadership Fund of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Educational Foundation, the Ballyshannon Fund, Merck and Company, the Virginia Department of Forestry and individual institute alumni.

The Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute program is designed to encourage communication and understanding between people representing different interests in Virginia's natural resource issues. Each three-day session offers interactive exercises that focus on a topic such as conflict resolution, facilitation, consensus building, interest-based negotiation, public involvement, environmental justice and collaborative leadership.

After the visit to Richmond, other program sessions will take leaders to Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley to learn about sustainable agriculture and impacts of agricultural waste management on water quality; and to Southwest Virginia to learn about coal mining, land reclamation and sustainable forestry.
For information about the VNRLI program, contact Steve Talley at

Media Contact

Jane Ford

Senior News Officer U.Va. Media Relations