Alice Wellford
Rappahannock Phragmites Action Committee
Richmond, Virginia

Alice Wellford is a landowner and naturalist who splits her time between the City of Richmond and Essex County, Virginia. Her influence, however, is spread across the entire lower Rappahannock River Valley.

Ms. Wellford first became aware of Phragmites australis in 1999, when she found it growing in her beloved freshwater tidal marsh in Essex County. After investigating its invasive and devastating characteristics, she immediately went to work to alert others in both the public and private sectors and encouraged them to take action. She organized the Rappahannock PhragmitesAction Committee and initiated control in her marshes. Since then, largely through Ms. Wellford’s efforts, over 200 landowners have joined in the control program, and over 700 acres have been treated. Ms. Wellford has donated over 1,700 hours to map Phragmitesstands, search property records, and contact landowners, as well as annually donning her hip boots, grabbing her backpack sprayer, and heading into the marsh.

Understanding the importance of education, Ms. Wellford has developed and presented programs for school groups, garden clubs, and others, and has led field trips in local marshes. She was a featured panel member in a Phragmites forum sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Not a one-dimensional wetlands advocate, Ms. Wellford and her husband Hill demonstrated a true commitment to land conservation by donating a permanent conservation easement on their family farm, Kendale. Included in the easement were over 600 acres of freshwater tidal marsh, forested swamp, and upland buffers.