Volunteers after a recent KVC cleanup.
The idea for Keep Virginia Cozy came about pretty organically (pun intended). Founder Brian Bell is an avid outdoorsman at heart. Growing up in Staunton, he spent a great deal of time outside with his family — from hiking and camping to being a Cub Scout and then Boy Scout.
After high school, Bell spent some time in Lynchburg soaking in life by the Appalachian Trail, but finally settled in to Richmond to make life by the James River his new home.
Over the past couple of years, Bell grew tired of seeing litter along his hikes and outdoor adventures and decided to pick up the trash along the way. From there it grew to cleaning up litter on hikes and during camping during trips with friends and family, too (not that they had much of a choice, if they were hiking with Brian they were handed a picker and a smile).
Bell is no stranger to picking up litter, but he is also willing to lend a hand with even the dirtier work. Some tasks are a bit more challenging than others, but thankfully he isn’t plagued by a fear of heights. If you’ve seen someone repelling off of the side of the waterfall at Maymont, that’s not Spider Man; it’s just Bell removing invasive vines so that folks can enjoy the splendor of the waterfall in the Japanese Gardens.
In 2017 Bell decided to take a leap of faith and formalize a nonprofit group — Keep Virginia Cozy
. The goal is simple: make Virginia a cleaner, safer, cozier environment for all. The group’s main focus will be to perform litter pickups and engage in community outreach. But KVC isn’t afraid of hard work, and whether it be invasive species removal or trail stewardship, KVC is willing to lend a helping hand when needed.
Trash isn’t going to pick itself up.
While Keep Virginia Cozy will be based out of Central Virginia, we hope to host cleanups throughout the Commonwealth. Our park systems from the Shenandoah Valley to the James River through the Chesapeake Bay are the lifeline of our great state, and it is imperative we keep them clean for future generations to come.
So now that we’ve gotten your mind filled with beautiful images of sunsets along a clean, glistening James River, I bet you’re wondering how you can help. We have several ways in which you can participate or lend support to Keep Virginia Cozy.
Volunteering – There is no shortage of work to be done to cleanup litter in the Commonwealth. We welcome volunteers to donate any time that they can, be it 30 minutes or 3 hours. Please contact us if you’re interested in volunteering.
Donations – If you can’t lend time we are always in need of financial support to aid in purchasing supplies. We’ll also gladly take a donation of equipment or supplies such as gloves, trash bags, first aid kits, safety vests, bug spray, bottled water, etc. Feel free to check out our Facebook page for additional info.
– We are thankful to have had some wonderful sponsors so far in 2017 to help us along the way! A big thanks to Sugar Shack, Lamplighter Coffee, Mountain Khakis and Parks Project! If you’re interested in sponsoring an event with Keep Virginia Cozy please reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org