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Fairview teen wins national volunteer award

Fairview resident Virginia Ward has received the 2019 Youth Award as part of the George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service, an annual recognition of volunteer excellence offered by the National Park Service. 

Ward, 15, has been volunteering at the Blue Ridge Parkway for three years, assisting the Parkway’s plant ecologist Chris Ulrey with monitoring of critically imperiled plant species. She has a deep love and respect for the wild places tucked among the Parkway’s craggy rock outcroppings. 

“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,” Ulrey said. “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 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.

For more information about volunteering on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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