Beginning in 1969, The Nature Conservancy began acquiring lands on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to protect 14 undeveloped barrier islands, migratory bird habitat, and the watersheds that keep our coastal bays clean. The Virginia Coast Reserve includes the longest expanse of coastal wilderness remaining on the East Coast. These pristine lands and waters support the Eastern Shore’s thriving shellfish aquaculture industry as well as outdoor recreation including fishing, hunting, kayaking, and nature study. The Conservancy currently owns 33,000 acres of land in Accomack and Northampton counties, including islands, marshes, woodlands, and farmlands, and manages 12,000 acres of conservation easements held on privately owned land. This talk will cover what land protection is, how lands are acquired, how conservation easements work, and how the Virginia Coast Reserve staff works with our community partners to protect these and other important conservation lands.