Boosted by multi-million dollar endowment, ownership of the 45-acre Winkler Botanical Preserve (5400 Roanoke Avenue) was signed over to NOVA Parks on Thursday (September 15).
Mayor Justin Wilson was joined by members of City Council, interim Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt, City Manager Jim Parajon and city staff for the deed signing ceremony.
“This is a beautiful property,” Wilson said. “The fact that we are making this handoff happen here tonight, and in bringing NOVA Parks as the custodian of this property for the next generation is so exciting.”
The Winkler Botanical Preserve was created in 1979 by environmentalist Catherine Winkler Herman, who established it as a natural space for generations to enjoy in perpetuity.
The Winkler Organization gave NOVA Parks a $1 million check for capital needs at the deed-signing event, and will give a $3 million operating endowment for educational programs and other improvements.
“The steadfastness of the Winkler’s generosity over generations and their ability to see beyond the horizon is both humbling as it is inspiring,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, chair of the NOVA Parks board of directors.
Randall Kell, president of the board of the Winkler Botanical Preserve for 30 years, said that the deal with NOVA Parks is a “match made in heaven.”
“How wonderful it is to have such an experiences, successful organization such as NOVA Parks, which shares so many of the values, goals, aspirations and ambitions that the Preserve has had for more than 50 years, step up to lead the Preserve for future generations.”
Kay-Wyatt said that the Preserve will be a valuable educational resource for Alexandria students.
“When you have an opportunity and a gift like this for children to come outside of that traditional classroom and to experience nature’s classroom, it is a gift to us all as educators,” Kay-Wyatt said.
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