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Students dominate outdoor writing and photo contest


   

McAfee Knob at Sunset Niall Goard earned first place for his image, “McAfee Knob at Sunset.” NOTE: Overnight camping is prohibited at McAfee Knob and is subject to a $100 fine. Niall Goard set up the tent simply for the purpose of taking this photo; he did not camp there overnight.


Aug. 15, 2016 – Students in the college continue to uphold the university’s tradition of success in the annual VOWA (Virginia Outdoor Writers Association)/Dominion Resources annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing and Photo Contest, taking home eight of 12 awards in the 2015-16 competition.

Deirdre Conroy of Falls Church, Virginia, a freshman double majoring in wildlife conservation and in literature and language, won the VOWA/Cooperative Living Magazine Collegiate Award for the best entry relating specifically to Virginia. Her richly descriptive essay, “That Old Mountain,” recounts hiking Old Rag Mountain and the beautiful vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. “I wanted my first writing contest to be related to something I’m interested in, as I love outdoor recreation as well as my field of study, wildlife conservation,” Conroy said.

Freshman forestry major Niall Goard of Chesapeake, Virginia, won the VOWA/Hunt’s Best Collegiate Outdoor Photo Award. His stunning image, “McAfee Knob at Sunset,” captured the knob, the stars above, and the distant lights of Roanoke, highlighted with a green tent lit from within by flashlight. “The college has definitely opened my eyes to many conservation issues, which really fueled my passion for photography. I’ve found a new drive to capture the great outdoors to inspire others so that we can all respectfully enjoy nature without destroying it,” Goard said.

Lynn Wormeli of Herndon, Virginia, a senior majoring in geography with a minor in religion, was runner up in the VOWA/Dominion Resources Collegiate Undergraduate Award for Best Overall Essay for “Countering Insanity,” inspired by her experiences as a camp counselor.

Lauren Bowman of Dublin, Virginia, a senior majoring in wildlife conservation, earned honorable mention in the VOWA/Dominion Resources Collegiate Undergraduate Award for Best Outdoor Essay for “The Kayak,” describing a visit to a chain of barrier islands off the coast of Florida.

Jessica York of Hampton, Virginia, a junior wildlife conservation major, earned first honorable mention in the VOWA/Cooperative Living Magazine Collegiate Award for her essay, “Alone in Nature,” in which she writes about an experience hiking to the Cascades waterfall near Blacksburg.

Melissa Skirkanich of Leesburg, Virginia, a junior double majoring in wildlife conservation and multimedia journalism, took second honorable mention in the VOWA/Cooperative Living Magazine Collegiate Award for her essay, “The Mountain Man,” recounting a sunrise climb to McAfee Knob.

Christopher “C.A.M.” Gerlach of Alexandria, Virginia, a junior double majoring in meteorology and geography, earned honorable mention in VOWA/Hunt’s Best Collegiate Outdoor Photo category for his image of a hawk captured at sunset in his own backyard.

Christina Nelson of Purcellville, Virginia, a sophomore wildlife conservation major, earned honorable mention in the photo category for her image of a falconer and his eagle.


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