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Meet Mary Strayhorne

  • Fairfax County Native

  • Sustainable Development Law & Policy Scholar with an Environmental, Real Estate Development and Land Use/Zoning Background

 

  • Committed to protecting Northern Virginia's unique, diverse character, history & future while promoting, protecting and conserving its natural resources.

 

  • Dedicated to Maintaining &  Promoting Conservation without Stifling Sustainable Development Progress & Growth.

  • Can and will apply Smart Growth Policy Research & Development Experience in advising the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District.

  • Support Active Local Stakeholder Collaboration & Participation through policy initiatives that promote ongoing community outreach, collaboration and participation in advisory opinions that go beyond mere technical analysis. 

We Need an Elected Policy Director on the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation Board

 

Mary will give a voice to the practical considerations of ALL Community Stakeholders

--not just the ones with the loudest voices or the deepest pockets.

 

As a Northern Virginia native--born and raised in Falls Church, within the boundaries of Fairfax County--I learned early on through the blessings of a top-notch Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) education that a healthy, clean and sustainable environment are essential to our collective wellness.  It was through the FCPS teachers and administrators together with Parent Teacher Associations and the parents of generations of students --whose curricula and initiatives educated the kids like me at the time on the importance of environmental health through education, interactive exercises and community environmental cleanup programs that the appreciation of a clean and healthy environment in Northern Virginia continues today.  But there is more to learn and even more to be done to ensure that our generation can pass on our legacy to the next generations.

 

My induction into an environmental conscientiousness began at Pine Spring Elementary School in the mid-1980's, where we learned through our blind student counterparts how to have a heightened sense of awareness for our surroundings.  We were introduced to the earth sciences and taught how to identify the diverse array of various natural elements.  I went on to Longfellow Middle School, where again we had a focus on the Earth Sciences, early Biology and how our actions affect the world around us.  It was at McLean High School that the more intense study of various aspects of environmental awareness were reinforced through the various sciences, history and art.   It was in high school that my formal introduction to the legal profession occurred and continued through my legal career in Real Estate law, with a brief detour into multimedia, film and video production and finally--as a result of September 11, 2001--began my journey toward matters of public interest when I interned and worked as a weekend reporter for New Radio 610 in Miami,  I had a brief, but critical introduction into community affairs and the ways in which our issues and voices can be amplified and in some respects ignored. I also learned quickly that there is always more to learn in pursuit of the rest of the story. 

 

My  legal career picked up again soon thereafter where I served as a real estate paralegal to various attorneys while taking night classes to finish my undergraduate degree in American Studies.  I went on later to pursue more advanced legal studies.  I eventually earned both a Juris Doctor from Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and Master of Laws with a specialization in Sustainable Development Law and Policy and a concentration in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice--both degrees earned through a rigorous study of foundational law, with particular focus on various areas including practical application of Smart Growth Development Principles, Land Use, Real Estate Development and Environmental, and Sustainable Development Law and Policy..  During that time I researched water-related and environmental issues in the law, wrote and was published in the American University Washington College of Law Sustainable Development Law and Policy Law Review in both areas.

It was this background that not only made finding a clear path a challenge, but also made finding an opportunity to serve my hometown community much easier to accept.  Which is what brings me here today.

 

Now, as a Candidate for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (NVSWCB), I am:

  • Committed to protecting Northern Virginia's unique, diverse character, history & future while promoting, protecting and conserving its natural resources.

  • Dedicated to Maintaining &  Promoting Conservation without Stifling Sustainable Development Progress & Growth.

  • Can and will apply Smart Growth Policy Research & Development Experience in advising the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District.

  • Support Active Local Stakeholder Collaboration & Participation through policy initiatives that promote ongoing community outreach, collaboration and participation in advisory opinions that go beyond mere technical analysis. 

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