Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains is pleased to announce the awarding of the “Jane Pratt Blue Ridge Mountains Education Award” to a Zach Konicke, a graduating senior from Loudoun Valley High School who will be attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the Fall. Zach was nominated by Mr. Liam McGranaghan, Environmental Studies teacher. In his essay Zach stated:
“My teacher, Mr. McGranahan (sic), and I visited the Blackburn Appalachian Trail Center in Round Hill, VA. Upon hiking ten minutes and witnessing a breathtaking overlook, I knew this to be a natural resource we as people must protect. Having lived in Philadelphia for the first thirteen years of my life, I was used to looking to the horizon and seeing aesthetically polluted landscapes, complete with tall buildings and plentiful condominium complexes. Now living in Virginia, my entire paradigm on the natural world has shifted. No longer do I know a life of environmental ignorance, but instead, a deep appreciation for what nature selflessly offers. The childlike wonder I experienced while walking through the woods, learning from a man whose knowledge far surpasses mine, distilled in me a desire to preserve and protect this resource for others to experience…I look forward to advancing my knowledge of environmental stewardship…I see it as an opportunity to surround myself with like-minded individuals and further my knowledge of both local and global environmental concerns.”
Mr. McGranaghan also expressed:
“…my thanks and appreciation to Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for their generous support of our local mountains and ecosystems through the scholarships they offer our students. Zach will make a good environmental steward and your support of his college fund will go a long way in making that happen. Thanks too for allowing me to be park of that process.”
The award consists of $1,000 scholarship toward college tuition and a framed certificate, awarded to Zach at Loudoun Valley High School’s Awards Assembly. The future certainly looks bright when a young adult like Zach, and teachers such as Mr. McGranaghan, appreciate, and are willing to dedicate themselves to, maintaining and preserving our beautiful mountain environment.