Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative formally unveiled its sustainable arboretum, located on the grounds of its Rockingham, Va., headquarters. The April 29 event attracted dignitaries, guests and employees to a unique outdoor conservation and learning space that President and CEO Greg Rogers said embodies the cooperative principle of concern for community.

“We really hope that this facility creates a knowledge base and shows how the future of both the electric system and the environment can co-exist, and provide people with what they need in a good, wholesome environment,” he said.

In addition, Rogers said the cooperative hopes the arboretum serves as a place of reflection, as the walkways and benches can inspire visitors.

Delegate Chris Runion of Rockingham, an SVEC member, praised the arboretum effort, noting he and his wife walked around the arboretum with their dog the night before the dedication to get in their daily steps.

“I was more than impressed,” he said. “I don’t know what I was expecting but what I saw was fantastic.”

A view of the SVEC grounds. (Photo By: Steven Johnson)

The arboretum takes up 3.5 acres on the east side of the SVEC’s headquarters. It offers a variety of trees and pollinator-friendly habitat. Information boards around the arboretum walkway describe the project and the accompanying trees and shrubs. It is next to SVEC’s solar array, another sign of the co-op’s commitment to sustainability.

Work has been going on since 2020 with the project, led by Scott Sorrels, SVEC vegetation management supervisor, but the ceremonial unveiling was delayed because of the pandemic.

A highlight of the afternoon was the reading of Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” by Mika Sorrels, daughter of Scott Sorrels, the vegetation management supervisor at SVEC. Sorrels was integral to the project.

Among SVEC’s partners in the project are Aerial Solutions, Xylem Tree Experts, Weed Control, Reading Landscapes and the Virginia Department of Forestry.

—Report by Steven Johnson, Vice President, Communications, VMD Association