It was the Disney Company that inspired the creation of the Chronicle of the Horse/MFHA Conservation Award, but for the wrong reasons!
And it’s most fitting that George Ohrstrom III was presented with the Conservation Award at the 2014 annual meeting of the MFHA, for he is connected through his family to the genesis of the award. Ohrstrom currently serves as co-chairman of the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), the respected and influential Virginia-based conservation organization that the Ohrstrom family was instrumental in forming in the 1970s.
The PEC gained national attention when they demonstrated how local grassroots efforts—combined with a clever strategy of enlisting the support of the nation’s most prominent historians—defeated the Disney Company’s efforts to build a theme park in Virginia’s historic countryside in the fall of 1994. At the time the PEC went to war, Disney had already quietly amassed political support in the Virginia legislature, had seduced the local Chambers of Commerce and real estate boards, and had secured the rights and promises of approval to the land they wanted, on the eastern border of some of Virginia’s prime foxhunting country.