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Friday, May 24, 2024

Norfolk Southern Contributes $1M to Save Jamestown Campaign

In June 2023, tidal flooding inundated archaeological sites that contain 17th century features and artifacts. Repeated inundation makes excavation impossible and destroys artifacts by accelerating decay. (Photo: Jamestown ReDiscovery Foundation)

RICHMOND — Norfolk Southern Corporation has made a $1 million leadership gift kicking off the Save Jamestown campaign to preserve the site.

The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation made the announcement on Monday.

According to the foundation, Jamestown, the location of the first permanent English settlement in America, is under serious threat as land area is lost each year due to recurrent flooding and sea level rise. The Save Jamestown campaign was launched to raise awareness of the destruction caused by rising waters and funding for the urgently needed infrastructure.

Norfolk Southern’s $1 million contribution provides a crucial start to the campaign,
ensuring the continued preservation of Historic Jamestowne, the foundation said.

“The archaeological story of the people and events that planted the seeds of our American
democracy is revealed every day at Historic Jamestowne. The future of this internationally
In June 2023, tidal flooding inundated archaeological sites that contain 17th century features and artifacts. Repeated inundation makes excavation impossible and destroys artifacts by accelerating decay. significant site is threatened if actions are not taken to protect the archaeological resources,” said Preservation Virginia Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth S. Kostelny. “This incredibly generous gift from Norfolk Southern gives us the confidence to continue the work to Save Jamestown.”

Owned by the nonprofit Preservation Virginia since 1893, Jamestown is the site of the
archaeology program Jamestown Rediscovery, which has uncovered more than 4 million artifacts since it began in 1994. Worsening environmental impacts are already restricting Jamestown’s ability to share the history of this important place with the public, upending normal operations and forcing the site to close more frequently each year because of flooding, the foundation said.

June 2023 flooding. (Photo: Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation)

Additionally, artifacts that have remained buried for hundreds, or even thousands, of years are at risk of disappearing in the rapidly changing environment, and the future of the site is in jeopardy, the foundation warned.

“As a company deeply rooted in Virginia’s history and communities, we feel a strong
responsibility to protect the historical legacy and environmental integrity of this region,” said Norfolk Southern Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglin. “Preserving this historically significant site is critical in the face of environmental challenges. Our support for the Save Jamestown campaign underscores our dedication to our communities and a better planet that we aim to safeguard for future generations.”

The funds from Norfolk Southern will support environmental and archaeological studies which must precede the anticipated design and construction of berms, floodgates, pumping stations and other measures to divert the rising water, the foundation explained. In addition to its contribution to protect Historic Jamestowne, Norfolk Southern has also partnered with the Elizabeth River Project, a conservation nonprofit in Virginia, to develop a living shoreline to stabilize the eroding Elizabeth River shoreline near its Lambert’s Point marine terminal in Norfolk.

“The exponential impacts of the effects of climate change mean a good portion of Jamestown may be underwater in our lifetimes. The archaeological resources that exist here represent the earliest history of our nation and they will be lost without a significant effort to protect them,” said James Horn, President and Chief Officer of Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. “We’re delighted to receive the support of Norfolk Southern and hope it inspires others to give generously to help us Save Jamestown.”

More than 200,000 visitors come to Historic Jamestowne each year. The site remains open to the public seven days a week unless impacted by a major storm or tidal event.

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