Garden Club of Virginia receives national award for work with Virginia State Parks

RICHMOND — The Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) received a national award for its decades of work with Virginia State Parks.

The National Association of State Park Directors presented the GCV with the President’s Award for a Statewide Organization at the NASPD annual conference in Rogers, Arkansas.

“The Garden Club of Virginia first planted the seeds for state parks in Virginia in 1929,” said Virginia State Parks Director Craig Seaver. “From the early days to today, the garden club has been a vital partner in the Virginia State Parks mission to conserve natural resources while providing public access to the outdoors.”

The GCV was founded in 1920 and within a decade members were working to establish a state park system.

“The founders of the Garden Club of Virginia knew how important preserving open space was to the fabric of the commonwealth,” said Jean Gilpin, president of the Garden Club of Virginia. “In 1929, GCV petitioned the General Assembly for funds to establish what are now Virginia Stare Parks. It is appropriate that in recognition of this heritage and in celebration of our 100th anniversary, the Garden Club of Virginia embraces state parks with a centennial gift: $500,000 in grants awarded over five years. GCV is proud and honored to share our mission of preservation, conservation and education with Virginia State Parks.”

Since 2016, 17 state parks have received $364,653 in grants that have funded projects such as the Youth Conservation Corps, which helps engage young people in park projects to develop a conservation stewardship ethic; children’s Discovery Areas and Playscapes to allow children an unstructured yet safe play area to learn about and experience the outdoors; Track Trails to promote health and wellness initiatives; native pollinator habitat; shoreline stabilization projects; educational exhibits in park visitor centers; and other conservation projects.

“The garden club has done so much for Virginia State Parks in recent years and over the past decades,” Seaver said. “I’m proud of this partnership with the garden club, and I’m pleased the organization is being recognized nationally by the NASPD.”

For more on everything Virginia State Parks has to offer, visit


Kevin McDonald and daughter Ellie explore the new Discovery Areas at Hungry Mother State Park, created with a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia.



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