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Alumni Profile: Jay Pinsky — Retired Serviceman, Active Agent of Change


   

Jay Pinsky Jay Pinsky talks to students about nonnative invasive plants in the Whitney State Forest in Fauquier County, Va., during an education day workshop. Photo by Bart Bauer, The Green Bow Foundation


Nov. 15, 2013 – When Jay Pinsky entered the college’s Executive Master of Natural Resources program in 2012, the lifelong outdoorsman wanted to develop his leadership skills, but after 20 years in the Navy, he was casting around for what he should do with the rest of his life.

“Then Professor Bruce Hull said, ‘You can be an agent of change,’ and I embraced it as my focus,” said Pinsky, a former combat photographer who received his degree in May. “I can’t just say that ‘they’ — whoever ‘they’ are — should do something; I have to make it happen.”

Pinsky’s first project after entering the program was to persuade Fauquier County, Va., where he lives, to get state approval to name county bridges in honor of military veterans. No simple task, it involved forming a council, researching 20th century military records, and persuading state legislators as well as county officials to support the measure. He did, and before long, veterans’ names will appear on bridges across the county.

“The executive master’s program made me sensitive to opportunities where I could take a leadership role to make something happen,” Pinsky said. “I started several big projects at about the same time.”

An avid hunter, Pinsky noted the diminishing number of hunters in the country and a corresponding decline in license-fee contributions to state game commissions. As a capstone project, he took steps to found the Green Bow Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the primary goal of giving youth interested in hunting the education, mentorship, and advocacy opportunities necessary to mature into natural resource sustainability leaders within the outdoor sportsman community. Partnering with organizations as diverse as the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Farm Bureau, and the National Rifle Association, Green Bow is training its first 10 participants this fall.

Pinsky also proposed instituting student internship/ advisory positions within the Fauquier County government, a move that was accepted by both the schools and county planning officials. Soon, teacher- nominated students from the county’s three high schools will learn about county planning while making officials aware of the youth perspective on issues. Pinsky is also working to set up a college scholarship linked to the program.

As if that were not enough, Pinsky, a government reporter with the Fauquier Times Democrat in Warrenton, Va., has taken on another project. Leveraging his Navy photojournalism skills, Pinsky is creating a coffee table book of images and stories of Fauquier County farmers to promote support for local agriculture and raise funds for the Fauquier Education Farm public agricultural education site.

“I may be retired from the military,” he said, “but I’m not done serving.”


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