VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Southern Gas Association awarded its 2018 Community Service Award to Virginia Natural Gas for its efforts in restoring longleaf pines in the state.
The award was given during the organization’s Management Conference, recognizing the more than 150 longleaf pine trees planted in one day at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area and Mount Trashmore Park.
“The employees and leadership of Virginia Natural Gas demonstrated exceptional corporate citizenship, as well as commitment to improve and invest in their community through the Longleaf Pine Restoration Project,” said William N. Cantrell, president of Southern Gas Association.
According to The Nature Conservancy and Virginia Natural Gas, the longleaf pine occupied more than 1.5 million acres in pre-colonial Virginia. But by the late 1890s, the pine had been harvested to near extinction due to its predominant use by the region’s early shipbuilding industry. At the turn of the century, the longleaf pine occupied less than three percent of its original range in the southeast and fewer than 200 mature trees remained in the state.
“We are committed to supporting initiatives that protect and preserve the environment, and are honored to be recognized for this project” said Jim Kibler, president of Virginia Natural Gas. “With the help of our company and others, our hope is the longleaf pine will grow and once again thrive in coastal Virginia.”
By the time that the trees planted during the project reach 10-years-old, 10 tons of CO2e will be captured by the 150 of them combined. That is equivalent of taking two cars off the road for a year. These trees mature around the age of 30, and can reach heights of 110 feet and up to three feet in diameter. The pines can live as long as 300 years because of their resistance to storms, droughts, insects and fire.