Natural Bridge State Park, Jenny Elmes of full circle catering Win Virginia Green Travel Awards
LEXINGTON, Va. (May 4, 2021) – Natural Bridge State Park and Jenny Elmes of full circle catering have been recognized for their environmental stewardship by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance.
The new Children’s Discovery Area has garnered the Virginia Green Travel Leader award for Natural Bridge State Park and Jenny Elmes of full circle catering has been awarded the Virginia Green Travel All-Star Award for her above-and-beyond efforts to protect the environment and support sustainable tourism in Virginia. These awards are determined by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance, the non-profit organization administering the Virginia Green Travel program.
The Children’s Discovery Area at Natural Bridge State Park is a key component of the Kids in Parks Track Trail program, an initiative to help children identify native pollinators, birds, and wildlife. Soon, the Children’s Discovery Area will also be a certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom, a nod to its natural structures and immersive outdoor play experience. It will be the second such certified classroom for Virginia State Parks.
“We are proud to recognize Natural Bridge State Park for their efforts to promote environmental education and their efforts to protect the environment,” said Tom Griffin, the Executive Director of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance. “Virginia Green Travel partners are leading our program’s efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of the industry and to increase green tourism business in Virginia.”
Jenny Elmes is a stand-out environmental leader in the food sector with several green accolades to her credit. Her business, full circle catering, is a certified Virginia Green Restaurant and was bestowed the Virginia Green Caterer of the Year award from the Virginia Green Travel Alliance in 2017 and 2019.
Tom Griffin warmly praised Elmes’ efforts “to reduce the environmental impacts of her catering business in every way imaginable,” and said the Virginia Green Travel Alliance wanted to go beyond the multiple Caterer of the Year awards to honor Elmes personally. “It is wonderful to have Jenny Elmes as a partner in our efforts to promote sustainable tourism in Virginia!”
“Green travel options are important to cultivate and celebrate,” said Patty Williams, Marketing Director for Rockbridge Regional Tourism. “According to Booking.com, 69% of travelers are looking for simple experiences for 2021, like spending time outdoors while on vacation. Natural Bridge State Park is one of several excellent outdoor experiences we have to offer in Rockbridge County, and accolades like their recent Dark Sky designation and this Virginia Green Travel Leader award increase traveler awareness of our hidden gem. When considering green from a recycling standpoint,” continued Williams, “full circle catering is always top-of-mind for event and wedding planners in our area. We are proud of Jenny Elmes and of Jim Jones, Natural Bridge State Park manager, for their leadership in green initiatives in our community.”
Both Natural Bridge State Park and Jenny Elmes received their awards during the 8th annual Virginia Green Travel Conference held virtually via Zoom April 28 and 29, 2021.
The Virginia Green program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, and the Virginia Green Travel Alliance. The program encourages green practices in all sectors of Virginia’s tourism industry. More than 1,150 businesses and partner organizations have voluntarily certified their green commitments through Virginia Green.
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