Beatrice Hero

“We used to ride our horses through herds of bison, elk, deer, and exotic cattle in Deer Park.”

My husband Adie and I own a 1,400-acre hay farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. We spend many hours on horseback, riding through our fields and forests, enjoying the beauty of nature.

We partner with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to promote biodiversity of native species through best-management practices in all our farming activities.

For example, to encourage the survival of grassland-nesting birds, we delay the cutting of our hayfields until these birds, including species as rare as bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks, have finished nesting and fledging their young. We also grow about 200 acres of native grasses and wildflowers to benefit bees and butterflies. We plant only indigenous trees and shrubs on our property.

In my 20s, I lived in Africa and studied wildlife conservation both in the wild and through my work in zoos. I have served on the boards of many conservation organizations, including the National Zoo Board and the National Wildlife Federation.

My passion for wildlife conservation and the environment come from growing up at Grant’s Farm and caring for the animals there.