Fairview-based teen Virginia Ward receives national award for Blue Ridge Parkway volunteering

National Park Service

Press release from National Park Service:

Blue Ridge Parkway officials are pleased to announce that park volunteer Virginia Ward has been awarded the 2019 Youth Award as part of the George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service, an annual recognition of volunteer excellence in the National Park Service. This national award celebrates outstanding service performed by a volunteer under 18 years of age, in fiscal year 2019.

Ward, a 15-year-old from Fairview, North Carolina, has a deep love and respect for the wild places tucked amongst the craggy rock outcroppings along the Parkway. Ward has been volunteering at Blue Ridge Parkway for 3 years where she assists the park’s plant ecologist, Dr. Chris Ulrey, with monitoring critically imperiled plant species.

“In my 21 years with the National Park Service, I have not encountered a young person that so inspired and filled me with hope about the future,” said Dr. Ulrey. Ward’s assistance has been a welcome gift to the rare plant program on the Parkway, making it possible to complete the important monitoring work more safely and efficiently.

The VIP (Volunteers-in-Parks) program was established under National Park Service (NPS) Director George Hartzog 50 years ago as a formal opportunity for the public to share their gifts, talents, and time with the agency in support of the NPS mission.

The Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognizes the exemplary contributions of these very important people. Learn about the additional volunteers honored from parks across the country at https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/2019-hartzog-awards.htm.

For more information about volunteering on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/blri/getinvolved/volunteer.htm or email the park’s volunteer coordinator at BLRI_Volunteers@nps.gov.

About Community Bulletin
Mountain Xpress posts selected news and information of local interest as a public service for our readers. To submit press releases and other community material for possible publication, email news@mountainx.com.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.