Valley Conservation Council Announces Peter Hujik as New Executive Director

In January, Valley Conservation Council (VCC) announced Peter Hujik as its new Executive Director. In the role, he will lead the organization’s efforts to protect the significant natural and cultural landscapes of the greater Shenandoah Valley region and to preserve the life-enriching benefits its lands and waters provide. 


I was able to speak with Hujik, as well as Highland resident Kirk Billingsly who serves as a VCC board member and treasurer, to learn more about the organization’s efforts in Highland and goals for the future. 


Here is Billingsly on the work VCC is currently doing in Highland and surrounding areas:


“There’s a fair amount of land already actually protected in Highland. VVC has 477 acres we’ve already protected. In addition to that there are 58,300 acres in Bath, Highland, and Allegheny counties. It’s not just VCC, you’ve got the Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and other land trusts that have land back in the Laurel Fork area as well as the Bullpasture River Valley.”


Hujik brings regional conservation leadership experience and vision to the VCC with a goal of expanding the organization’s cutting-edge conservation efforts throughout the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia Highlands.


Here he tells us a little about his background and his desire to work in the Shenandoah Valley specifically:


“I’ve worked in land trust my whole career, so I’ve been able to work in a lot of different areas. I grew up in Wisconsin, and like Kirk, I spent a lot of time in northern Wisconsin out in the forest and on the lakes up there. My first position was with the Nature Conservancy in Northern California, and I worked in the northern part of the Central Valley of the Lassen foothills. That’s a big agricultural area. Then my wife is from the east coast and we moved to upstate New York. I was working in the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in central New York within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and then about 10 years ago, we moved down to Virginia, and I was working on the other side of the Blue Ridge in the Piedmont.”


“I developed a lot of momentum on farmland protection and tapped into some underutilized sources of federal and state funding for farmland protection, and I thought it would play really well in the valley. You look at projections of changing weather patterns across the country and across the world in fact, the mid-Atlantic is likely to stay one of the most viable areas for farming. Even though we still have some dry years, we’re getting rain, unlike parts of the west that have had really long severe droughts. So the valley has a long legacy of farming, and I think it’s going to be a really important part of its future.”


Building on the success of 2023, VCC has 20 additional easements already in progress for 2024. The organization was also awarded several first-time and very significant gifts and grant awards in 2023. The funding will allow it to carry out its mission at a meaningful scale throughout the Valley this year and in the years to come.


VCC is a community-based organization that relies fully on the generosity of its members to support its Valley-wide land protection and outreach efforts. For more information or to donate, visit


Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

Current Weather