Charlotte Metz Hanes is president and CEO of River Ridge Land and Cattle Company. She is a strong advocate for proper land stewardship, whole farm planning, and conservation easements. “Easements will conserve the farm way of life and can be part of a landowners' estate planning," she says. "The New River is the ‘Golden Apple’ for the 21 counties through which it flows in three states. If you misuse it, you lose it."
Michael Foreman, Forest Legacy Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Forestry praised the leadership role played by Charlotte Hanes in organizing landowners. “Charlotte Hanes is a model land steward. She understands both the economic side and the ecological side of conservation. I wish we could have this high level of local conservation leadership everywhere, and I am in awe of her accomplishments in conserving the New River Corridor.”
In 2006 and 2007 Charlotte led the successful fight (against all odds) to keep a large state prison from being built on the New River in Grayson County. In recognition of her fight to relocate the prison, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine awarded her with the Gold Environmental Excellence Award. In 2008, the National Committee for the New River presented her the Wallace and Peggy Carroll Advocacy Award.
Charlotte is a founder of Grayson LandCare, a grassroots movement of farmers, landowners, and residents addressing economic and environmental problems by promoting sustainable land and water management in Grayson County and southwest Virginia.
Through Grayson LandCare Charlotte and four other cattle producers formed Grayson Natural Farms, a company specializing in naturally raised, grass-fed beef. Grayson Natural Farms strives to improve the income of local livestock producers by direct marketing a value-added product.
Charlotte is a board member of Rachel’s Network, a national organization located in Washington, DC, dedicated to creating a network of women conservation funders who are an influential voice for the environment. She is a member of Rachel’s Network Agriculture and Environment Learning Circle. This circle seeks to bridge the gap between the agricultural and environmental communities by exploring the environmental problems that could be solved through cooperation with the agricultural community.
Charlotte has also served on boards of Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art, Piedmont Craftsmen, National Committee for the New River, New River Community Partners, New River Conservancy, Save Our State Inc., National Outward Bound Advisory Board, Wake Forest University’s Board of Visitors for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Land Trust Alliances’ Board of Advisors, and the Museum of Modern Art’s International Council.
Charlotte graduated from East Carolina University, where she was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Charlotte was a practicing physical therapist at NC Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill and at Methodist Hospital in Houston. She became Director of the Physical Therapy Department at A.P. Memorial Hospital in Reidsville, NC in 1978 and was employed by Rockingham Orthopedic Associates in 1981.