There is a Season
In the over 27 years Downtown Greens has been in existence, it has seen a LOT of changes. Not only within its gardens but also here in town.
Homes have been built, dams have been brought down (with only some delay). Our population has grown, we’ve elected new mayors and city officials, new folks have become neighbors, and the river keeps flowing. A goose has become a star, the otters have come back, and our sweet river foxes have had many kits. But one thing that hasn’t changed in Fredericksburg in the past 27 years is its heart and overwhelming sense of welcome.
The same could be said about Downtown Greens. So much has changed and yet our roots stay constant.
This organization, which started as slightly less than 2 acres, can now boast a whopping 58.8 acres of greenspace being conserved and utilized for and by our community. We’ve had Downhome Balls, Fork It Over Festivals, Downtown Runarounds, block parties, free yard sales, concerts, and Backyard Soirées.
We remember times when hand sanitizer meant rinsing the mud off with a garden hose. We struggled along with our community during covid and found ways to support each other until we came through on the other side.
Laura Shepherd and Lisa Beaver carved Downtown Greens out of the clay loam, growing flowers, food, and friendships. Sarah Perry came with a sharp mind and an eagerness to watch us grow and took on the mantle of running and greatly expanding this once small community greenspace. And now we enter the next phase.
Please welcome our new Executive Director and all round swell guy, Jim Schepmoes!
Jim, a native Virginian, has over 20 years of experience working at nonprofits dedicated to preservation and to helping disadvantaged populations. He has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master's degree from Kent State University. He and his wife, Rita, live on a small farm in King George County with Holly, their barky Beagle and numerous Wyandotte chickens.
When asked what about joining the DTG team he was most excited for, Jim said "I am most excited about the expansion of educational opportunities at all levels that the new campus will provide to the community. We will be able to connect many more people with experiential greenspace education."
And, of course, what DTG interview would be complete without some lightning round questions!
Favorite flower: Cone flower
Favorite vegetable: Squash
Favorite insect: Dragonfly
Favorite Virginia native plant: Cone flower
Favorite movie: Citizen Kane
In addition to having great taste in flowers and vegetables, Jim brings to the table years of experience, a dedication to the mission, and a fresh take that will help Downtown Greens grow and provide even more opportunities for our community!
Please join the staff and Board of Directors in showing Jim a warm Fredericksburg welcome! We look forward to this community standing together as it has done all these years to support our mission, celebrate the gains, and continue to enjoy the greenspaces made possible by our combined efforts.
With Jim’s guidance we cannot wait to see how much more we can do and how much further we can grow in the next 27 years.
Janet Douberly is Media Manager at Downtown Greens.