RLEP Mission

The Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection is dedicated to preserving

the natural resources and rural character of Rappahannock County, Virginia.

RLEP’s Board of Directors

Rick Kohler, President       ~       Phil Irwin, Vice President and Founder

Nina McKee, Treasurer       ~      Jeff Christie, Secretary

Aleta Gadino  ~  Marshall Jones  ~  Karissa Epley  ~  Jim Manwaring

Joe Keyser  ~  Bud Meyer  ~  Jeff Smith  ~  Larry Wohlers

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Rappahannock Sunrise

  • Rick Kohler (President) has lived in Rappahannock since 1989, has served on the RLEP Board for 12 years and was elected president six years ago.  He is interested in biodiversity, preserving open spaces, dark skies, clean water and creating strong links with other conservation organizations and the entire Rappahannock community. Rick works as a real estate broker in Washington, VA,
  • Phil Irwin (Vice President) has lived in Rappahannock since 1960 and was the catalyst for the establishment of RLEP in 1970 to oppose a high intensity electric transmission line, which they defeated!  He set up the inaugural meeting 15 December 1970 and served as president for 17 years. After 40 years, Phil is an Emeritus member of the board.
  • Nina McKee (Treasurer)  Nina is a CPA in Washington, VA and is versed in Conservation Easement tax benefits.  She is our point person to assist citizens on Easements,
  • Jeff Christie (Secretary) has been visiting Rappahannock regularly for over 30 years to enjoy hiking and the outdoors, and has owned a house in the County with his wife, Paula, since 2002.  He is interested in preserving Rappahannock’s natural beauty, open spaces and vistas. Jeff was a transactional attorney specializing in energy and infrastructure projects with a major international law firm until his recent retirement.  He is our point person on Eminent Domain issues with power and pipeline companies.
  • Aleta Gadino became interested in environmental issues while living in CA in the 1970’s and early 80’s.  She has been a supporting member of WWF, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, and many other organizations relating to natural resources and wildlife.  Her love of nature began with camping trips in western national parks with her family.  Her love of gardening, and, later in life, earning an Associates degree in Horticultural Technology continued that connection as she relocated to Northern VA, and finally to Rappahannock County.  She is a member of the Rappahannock County Garden Club and a Master Gardener volunteer.  If the name Gadino sounds familiar, it may be due to the vineyard she and her husband have nurtured since 1990 and the wines they produce at Gadino Cellars. Aleta is our point person with Rappahannock Schools.
  • Marshall Jones first lived in Rappahannock in 1990 and commuted to his job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in DC for many years. This is his sixth year on the RLEP board. Marshall is with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal and has a strong personal and professional interest in biodiversity and conservation, locally and internationally.  Marshall is an integral member of our Education Committee.
  • Joe Keyser is a successful builder of lovely homes in Rappahannock.  He recently constructed the bridge on the Butterfly Trail in Washington VA for RLEP.  Joe is our point person on construction issues and is on the Education committee.
  • Jim Manwaring with his wife Carolyn, lives on and operates a family beef cattle farm that has been in the family since 1948. He worked 30 years as a manufacturing engineer at the Teves plant in Culpeper. Jim feels that keeping family farms viable in the county is key to keeping the open spaces that we all love.  He is our expert on Farming issues in the county and also serves on the Education Committee.
  • Larry Bud Meyer  a six-year resident of Rappahannock County, spent his earliest years on the family’s Holstein dairy farm in northeast Missouri. A career editor and newsman and foundation executive, he is president of Meyer Communications, a strategic communications consultancy for foundations and nonprofits. He retired in 2009 after 14 years as Vice President of Communications and Secretary with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he supervised the foundation’s brand and developed its online and print strategies. He is chair emeritus of the Communications Network. Prior to joining Knight Foundation, he spent 14 years as an editor and news executive with The Miami Herald, the last four as executive assistant to the publisher. He is a member of the Rappahannock Lions Club.  Bud serves as our Grant Coordinator.
  • Jeff Smith is a retired environmental attorney with over 35 years of professional and private experience on conservation issues at both the national and local levels.   He is a master naturalist and lives on a farm in Rappahannock County.  Jeff was instrumental in creating the RLEP Dark Skies initiative.
  • Larry Wohlers is our newest board member.   Larry recently retired as Ambassador to the Central African Republic.  He was the driving force in the the creation of the Solar Cooperative and is responsible for its success.

RLEP’s History

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