International packaging leader MWV (formerly MeadWestvaco), a long-time college partner, continued its support with a $100,000 gift to the Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support. “This gift represents the third year of MWV’s support for the center, which enables us to continue efforts to improve our assessments of the natural resources upon which so many in our state depend for recreation and livelihood,” said Stephen Prisley, center director. MWV is one of a number of industry partners providing leadership support to the newly formed center, which provides stakeholders in Virginia agencies and industries with improved data, models, and analytical techniques to assess the status and trends of natural resources such as wood fiber, water, and biodiversity.

“The work the center is doing is exactly what the southeastern U.S. needs during this time of substantial demand increase on small-diameter pine,” said Kirby Funderburke, director of wood supply strategy for MWV. “Our focus is to support the center in working with colleges throughout the South to provide scientifically sound resource modeling and assessments.”

MWV’s support of the college spans several decades. MWV has been a member of the Forest Productivity Cooperative since the cooperative’s inception in 1969 and has funded numerous research projects on sustainable forestry and land management. Dozens of graduate students have been housed at MWV facilities while conducting site work, and MWV employs many graduates in land management and procurement positions. Most importantly, MWV has provided the land base and silvicultural treatments for several large-scale and long-term projects — some involving thousands of acres for as long as 15 years!

“MWV’s philanthropy is as vital as ever to business and society, and we look forward to building our relationship in a strategic and collaborative way,” said Emily Hutchins, the college’s development director. “Support from MWV and other center partners such as RockTenn, which has since merged with MWV to form WestRock, allows our faculty and students to directly engage with industry to find proactive solutions and make smarter decisions for our natural resources, which in turn makes their businesses more sustainable.”