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The Virus and Clermont Farm, 3-13-20


To Our Educational Partners, Friends, and Members of the Community,


At the Clermont Foundation we take seriously the trust you place in us and our people as a community educational organization. We are taking every step possible to assist in reducing the spread of the Covid-19 virus and helping to assure the health and safety of people in our community as well as that of our staff, students of every age, and volunteers. We are following the guidance of the CDC, the local Health Department, and our partner organizations, including Virginia Tech and the Clarke County Public Schools.

This is to update you on the steps we are taking.

Specifically:

1. Working with our partner educational organizations (CCPS,VT, Extension Service, etc.), we are cancelling from Monday, March 16, all K-12 student classes, university faculty-student events, Extension Service classes and field schools for working farmers, and other planned meetings and events at Clermont through May 30. In April and May the situation will be re-evaluated with the health authorities and our partner educational organizations.


2. The offices of the Clermont Foundation, which manages Clermont Farm for its owner, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, will remain open for business during the March 16-May 30 period, but no guests will be received except by appointment for rare business necessity, and no meetings will be held except by phone or digital platform. Meetings of the Foundation's community board of trustees will be re-scheduled and/or held electronically. The current re-building of the Foundation's website will continue, as will in-house development projects and farm activities.


3. Clermont is a production beef cattle and sheep farm, specifically to provide a basis for agricultural education and research, and to preserve the historic 360-acre agricultural landscape which has been in continuous production for 270 years. Like farmers everywhere, we care about the welfare of our animals. We have made extensive back-up provision for the feeding and care of our animals in case of staff illness, and, despite the loss of our barn, for the storage of adequate stockpiled feed and other supplies. All the livestock at Clermont, including the thousands of bees in our Training Yard for Novice Beekeepers (partner educational organization Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah), will be well taken care of.

Thank you for your interest and support of Clermont Farm's educational work, and please let us know if you have questions.


Bob Stieg, CEO

The mission, vision and values of The Clermont Foundation were revised and defined by the Trustees in 2012, based on the terms of the Williams Trust, the mission and values of the site’s owner, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the values local citizens brought to their trusteeship:

Mission/Purpose Statement (defined as “What we do”):

The Clermont Foundation supports research and education programs in history, historic preservation, and agriculture at Clermont Farm, using its cultural landscape for the purpose of increasing contemporary public engagement in those areas. These programs are planned and developed in partnership with Clermont’s owner, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and with local and regional partner organizations.


Vision Statement (defined as “What we want to accomplish over time by doing these things”):

To be an effective regional leader in engaging people of all ages in sustainable historic preservation and agricultural production, and in exploring the meaning of cultural and natural heritage, both public and personal.


Values (defined as “What guides our work”):

  • Care — That we care about the natural and built environment, take good care of it,and take care in how we think about, plan for, and use it.
  • Sustainability — That the ways we use this natural and built environment can be sustained long-term both financially and environmentally.
  • Incrementalism — That the projects and programs to achieve our goals will be implemented step by step over time, as experience, study, and resources allow.
  • Inclusion — That we will respect the wholeness of the site and its history, and the community of which it is a part. That we recognize that Clermont Farm is a complex “cultural landscape” (of a specific type designated as a Historic Vernacular Landscape) and a sustainable element of our community.

It is a natural landscape which Native Americans, Europeans, and African Americans added to and structured for their purposes, and whose cultural imprints, still in the ground and the buildings, clear or faint, have made something new of the natural landscape. Like historic buildings and districts, these special places reveal aspects of our country’s origins and development through their form and features, and the ways they were used. Cultural landscapes also reveal much about our evolving relationship with the natural world.

Respect for the wholeness of this cultural landscape includes the idea that none of the contributions made by different peoples and participants in Clermont’s history will be privileged, and none will be excluded, and that representation and interpretation of the site’s history will reflect this. Clermont will, based on this value, continue to invite and nurture community.