Who We Are
Sustainable Shenandoah Valley is a Regional Centre of Expertise. There are similar organizations throughout the globe that serve as locally organized, coordinated, and self-directed networks of teachers, higher education representatives, members of the local business community, local and regional governmental officials, researchers, and other community members that facilitate learning, create platforms for local dialogue, and partnerships for sustainable development.
The Central Shenandoah Valley
Geographically Sustainable Shenandoah Valley reflects the central valley counties of Augusta, Highland, Rockingham, Page, and Shenandoah. The total area of the RCE is 7,943 km2 (3,067 mi2) with an estimated population of 317,000. The Valley is classified as a rural area; however, there are two metropolitan statistical areas within the RCE, Harrisonburg and Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro, that comprise nearly 66% of the RCE population.
The Shenandoah Valley is a longstanding physiographic and cultural region in the state of Virginia, United States of America; the region has a strong place identity for both the people who live there and for the United States generally. Geographically, the Shenandoah Valley represents the watershed of the Shenandoah River and is bordered by the Appalachian Mountains, the oldest mountain range on Earth.
As a watershed, the Shenandoah River Valley is significant because it drains to the Chesapeake Bay, the largest marine estuary in North America and the second largest in the world. Culturally, the Shenandoah Valley is renowned for its extraordinary natural beauty, for its role in colonial American history and the American Civil War, and for its considerable agricultural productivity. Farming is overwhelmingly composed of poultry, dairy, and beef cattle in family-owned farms averaging less than 100 acres (40 hectares). Employment is heavily concentrated in light manufacturing, services, and wholesale and retail trade.