Like many visitors to Westmoreland County, Bobbie Burton was taken in by the area’s beautiful scenery. That was the draw for the executive director of Hull Springs Farm when she moved here in 2007 to join Longwood University, which owns the farm. Now, she is planning on enjoying more of that scenery when she retires in December.
“I’ve always been interested in conservation, preservation and wildlife, so Hull Springs just gave me an opportunity to make what already had been an avocation for six years and couldn’t be more happy about it.”
Burton made the decision to step down from her post earlier this year.
“It seemed like a good time for me to step aside and bring in some new energy. Plus I’m getting into my sixties and I’d like to spend some more time sailing,” Burton said.
Hull Springs Farm has 637 acres farmland, forest, shoreline, and wetlands as well as 10 buildings. It is a segment of almost 2,000 acres of conserved land on Machodoc Neck that acts as an ongoing demonstration project of best conservation management practices. For 20 years, the farm has been used to teach about sustainability to students in secondary education schools and universities led by Longwood University. Is focus is on the best management of the forestry, agriculture, wetlands, habitat and shorelines.
Educational and Facilities Coordinator Brian Barbre, who has been the understudy of Burton, described her as an encyclopedia of Hull Springs Farm.
“They are some large shoes to fill and she has not only running the ‘Hull Springs Farm show,’ but she has been a part of the community,” Barbre said. “She’s taken over a lot management of Hull Springs Farm.”
Burton said she was impressed with Barbre’s time spent in the Peace Corps for the past two years.
“I think he is going to be a tremendous asset to Hull Springs, Westmoreland County and the whole region. He has a fantastic background in conservation,” Burton said.
Burton has served as a staff member of Hull Springs Farm Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Task Force, Board of Directors for the Northern Neck Land Conservancy and similar organizations.
Before joining the staff as vice president of Longwood University Advancement in 1998, she was the director of development for the Richmond Symphony. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with an economics and political science degree, and masters in liberal studies.
Eventually her work in development and alumni relations moved her to Westmoreland County from Farmville.
“It was kind of a complete career transition when I left alumni relations areas to conservation and land management, but it was something that had always been interesting to me,” Burton said. “As sort of a final phase of my career life I probably enjoyed it more than anything else I’ve ever done.”
Mary Farley Ames Lee, a 1938 graduate of the university, gave the site to Longwood that sits along Glebe and Aimes Creeks. The Longwood University Foundation Inc. owns Hull Springs Farm.