Robin Rich-Coates Honored at District Awards Banquet


The Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District’s 2022 Awards Banquet was held on Wednesday, October 26th, at 6:00 PM in the Great Hall at the ESCC Workforce Development Center. The event took the opportunity to honor former Director and District Chair, the late Robin Rich-Coates, beloved Eastern Shore Community College educator, who passed away suddenly in 2022.

The crowd of nearly 60 honored both Rich-Coates and former Vice-Chair Fred Holland, who had passed in January of 2021. In addition to a program that acknowledged events, statistics, and individuals that contributed to the District in 2022, slides were shared remembering both fallen members.

Current District Manager, Carmie M. Savage commented, “Robin started serving as a District volunteer in 1985 and then in January 1991 she became the first female Director to the Board.  She started serving as District Chair in 1997 and remained in that position until she passed away on May 10, 2022.  Robin was more than just the Board Chair; she had also been my mentor and friend.”

Savage continued, “Not only was Robin serving as our local District Chair but also as Chair of the Virginia Association of Conservation Districts Education Committee. Additionally, she had been appointed by Governor Northam to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. She was always active in local environmental education activities, including work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Nature Conservancy, and the Eastern Shore Environmental Education Council, just to name a few.”

“Robin was instrumental in starting an Eastern Shore Arbor Day event sponsored by the District. At this event, free trees have been disbursed annually in partnership with the Department of Forestry and others. In 1993, after attending an event in Maryland, she was inspired to start the State’s first Envirothon competition on the Eastern Shore.”

In closing the District’s salute to Rich-Coates, Savage concluded “Robin was a leader in all aspects of the word, and the District will uphold its mission guided by her memory.”

Formed in 1945, the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, and it supports the District through financial and administrative assistance provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.