Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee

The Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee (TESC) has re-formed as a merging of the Tree and Beautification Committee and the Committee on the Environment. The TESC is currently looking for members to join this newly revived committee! To submit an application, please click here.

The Tree & Environment Sustainability Committee will be defining its mission and activities in the coming months. The vision of the committee is to establish partnerships with citizens, business owners, and other stakeholders to plan and implement measurable environmentally responsible and sustainable initiatives for Purcellville and our nation.

The Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee focuses on these areas:
  • Tree ordinance development and oversight
  • Town-side and watershed cleanup events
  • Community gardening and tree planting projects (see below for the project with Virginia Trees for Clean Water)
  • Sustainability Ideas
  • Nature preserve and trail enhancement education series
  • Hail to the Trail (scroll down for more information about this annual event)
  • Rain Barrel Program
  • Energy saving audit and mitigation
  • Electronic and hazardous waste
  • Recycling and certified bottled water free zone
  • Workshops and education on environmental sustainability

Virtual Tree Care Workshop, January 21, 2021 - How to Prune Your Trees and Help Keep them Healthy!

The Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee is pleased to host the second of three virtual workshops about tree care featuring Jordan Herring, Senior Area Forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry. The upcoming virtual workshop will be held Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m. Pruning trees the right way takes practice, but is critical to help manage their growth and encourage new growth of flowers, fruit, and foliage. Mr. Herring will share tips and best practices about how to prune trees, what time of year to prune based on the species, common myths, and what to avoid.  Register online for this free workshop. When you register, you will receive the information about how to join the virtual workshop.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. It protects 15.8 million acres of forest land from fire, insects, and disease, and manages 24 state forest lands totaling 68,626 acres for timber, recreation, water, research, wildlife and biodiversity.

Annual Hail to the Trail, Virtual Event on October 11, 2020

The Town of Purcellville's Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee hosts the annual Hail to the Trail--Purcellville's Green Expo at the Chapman DeMary Trail. The 2020 event kicked off virtually on Sunday, October 11, 2020 with a video of the Arbor Day Celebration and a video with winners of the Wonder of Trees Poster Contest being recognized. Through the entire week, we shared videos and tips from local non-profit organizations. Get the latest information on the Hail to the Trail Facebook page. 

About the Chapman DeMary Trail

The beauty of the Chapman DeMary Trail encourages exploration of the outdoors and emphasizes stewardship in everyday activities. The trail is supported by The Nature Generation, Loudoun Valley High School, the Piedmont Environmental Council, and the Town of Purcellville. The Town of Purcellville holds the conservation easement for the 10-acre area. The Chapman DeMary Trail, located in what is considered to be the last stand of old growth forest in the Town of Purcellville, provides amazing hands-on environmental learning and stewardship opportunities to thousands of residents, visitors, students, and scouts!  It is located at 355 North Hatcher Avenue (behind the building at 205 East Hirst Road) in Purcellville, Virginia. Read even more about the trail at

South Fork Catoctin Creek at the Chapman DeMary Trail

Wonder of Trees Poster Contest, 2020
The Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee and the Purcellville Arts Council are co-sponsoring a poster contest about trees that focuses on how planting trees helps the environment, which may include: cleaning the air, trapping carbon, cleaning water, providing food and shelter for wildlife, or helping people (food, resources, shade, health benefits).  Any current student in the Purcellville area may participate, including all schools that feed into Woodgrove High School and Loudoun Valley High School as well as homeschooled children. There will be three winners each from elementary, middle, and high school levels. The deadline for entries was January 31, 2020.

Virginia Trees for Clean Water: Restoring the Riparian Buffer at the Chapman DeMary Trail

The Town of Purcellville is pleased to announce that it is a recipient of the annual Virginia Trees for Clean Water grant issued by the Virginia Department of Forestry. The project is to restore the riparian buffer at the Chapman DeMary Trail, a 10-acre area that runs along the South Fork Catoctin Creek, part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Town of Purcellville holds the conservation easement for this privately-owned property. The native trees we planted included: black cherry, river birch, sycamore, and willow oak.

What is a Riparian Buffer?

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry website, a riparian buffer is a “streamside forest” with plants that line waterways to protect them from the impacts of surrounding land use. The functions of riparian buffers include:

  • Slowing flood waters and reducing the volume of water through root absorption.
  • Improving water quality by filtering runoff and promoting sediment deposition.
  • Allowing water storage in plant roots and providing pathways to groundwater layers.
  • Providing canopy cover which shades and cools the stream, improving habitat conditions for instream organisms (fish, salamanders, frogs, etc.). This shade also provides relief from extreme heat for terrestrial animals.
  • Providing habitat for a variety of birds and small mammals. These buffers also act as corridors to similar habitat, providing food, shelter and nesting sites.

Riparian areas also provide great opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, bird-watching, picnicking and camping.

Thank you for your help!

The Town hosted two community planting days for this project. The first was on April 29, 2018, and the second was on March 16, 2019. Over the two planting days, more than 100 volunteers joined us to plant nearly 200 seedlings that will help restore the riparian buffer. Check the back of the kiosk at the Chapman DeMary Trail to learn more about riparian buffers and native plants.

Energy Saving Tips
Participants at the 2019 Hail to the Trail were asked to share their favorite energy saving tips. Here are tips provided:
  • Turn off the dishwasher at the drying cycle and let it air dry
  • Use the permanent press cycle in my washing machine for low-soil clothing
  • My family turns off the lights and uses the sunlight
  • Get energy efficient windows
  • Turn off lights as you leave a room. 
  • Lower the water when washing hands of dishes
  • Set your thermostat ti lower temperatures in the winter and higher temperatures in the summer and dress appropriately for that
  • We do weekly "lights out" nights
  • Consider geothermal heating and cooling
  • Compost food waste
Check out these tips for saving energy throughout the year!
Recycling Tips
Participants at the 2019 Hail to the Trail were asked to share their favorite tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling. Here are the tips they shared:
  • My mom uses store bags as a trash can instead of just throwing them out
  • I use "cellulose/cotton" sponges in the kitchen--they last longer and are biodegradable
  • Compost kitchen veggie scraps--it makes the trash less smelly and is great for organic gardening
  • Wouldn't it be great if returnable containers for take-out were available? The grocery store could be the collection hub.
  • Put trash in the right containers
  • Use the same bag
  • Use glass jars to collected used cooking oils
  • Wipe your hands with a paper towel and lay it out to dry for a second use
  • Recycle plastic bottles and utensils
  • Reuse plastic grocery bags as trash bags
  • Use plastic grocery bags as fillers when packing breakable items or mailing items
Check out these tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

TESC collage for website