The Berkley Group has served as the George Washington Regional Commission’s (GWRC) on-call planner since 2013. Over that time, we’ve had the opportunity to support GWRC with a number of different projects ranging from grant writing and administration to hazard mitigation planning. Through our on-call contract, we support GWRC according to their workload demand enabling them to have access to premium expertise without the cost of additional full time staff.
One project that we’ve assisted with is GWRC’s regional native plant campaign which was funded by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program. This campaign is part of a statewide effort aimed at increasing the use of native plants. We began this project in fall 2015 when a campaign steering committee of interested partners was pulled together to work with GWRC and Virginia CZM staff to develop a campaign strategy for the region. We worked with the committee and GWRC/CZM staff to conduct research about local awareness of native plants, perceptions, and barriers to use. Using that research and drawing on the other regional Virginia native plant campaigns, we worked with GWRC/CZM staff to develop the region’s campaign strategy. The Berkley Group also helped GWRC with a successful CZM competitive grant application that was used to implement the native plant campaign including the development of a native plant guide and other marketing materials and development of a campaign website.
The campaign was coined “Plant Central Rapp Natives” and showcases the colorful, beautiful variety of plants native to the Central Rappahannock area – Stafford, King George, Spotsylvania, and Caroline counties and the City of Fredericksburg. We are currently working with GWRC and Virginia CZM staff to prepare a grant application which will establish a native plant demonstration garden at Cossey Park in the City of Fredericksburg.
Recently we’ve also been working with King George County on a number of projects through our contract with GWRC. These have included a Community Development Department Assessment, Trailway Feasibility Analysis, and development of a Mixed-Use Development district. The Trailway Feasibility Analysis and Mixed-Use Development district projects are still underway, and we have been enjoying this opportunity to support one of GWRC’s member localities.
We look forward to continuing to work with GWRC in the future!
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