The Ironman event. Courtesy of Carilion Clinic.

Volunteers are still needed for the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

The weekend-long IRONMAN event begins on Friday, June 3 and will host more than 2,600 triathletes. Registration is open for non-medical volunteer opportunities, including:

  • Course pointers
  • Carvins Cove setup and transition volunteers 
  • Bike and Gear Check Out 
  • Environmental Crew on race morning, suitable for families. 

Disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors but donors have no say in news decisions. See our policy. You can help fund us, too.

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Jennifer Wills. Courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

University of Lynchburg names new director for nature center

The University of Lynchburg’s Claytor Nature Center has a new director. Jennifer Wills, who holds degrees in biology, law, and natural resources, will start on June 1. She replaces interim director Dr. Laura Henry-Stone.  

Claytor encompasses 491 acres of forests, streams, and fields in Bedford County about 25 miles from Lynchburg’s campus. The land and facilities, including Belk Observatory and Cloverlea Farmhouse, are used for student and faculty research, as well as community education and recreation. 

Wills envisions Claytor Nature Center as a “top nature destination for students and the general public” and said what excites her most about the job is “the impact it can have on students and the public.”

Her short-term goals are simple.  

“I want to learn as much as I can while moving things forward,” Wills said in a statement. “A big part of that will be listening to stakeholders about their interests in Claytor. Over the course of several months, I want strategic planning to be underway. 

“And in the course of a year — or two — I want Claytor to be known across the region, so that when I ask whether someone has heard of the Claytor Nature Center, the answer is ‘Yes and we have plans to visit.’”

Wills holds an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Louisville, a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and a master’s degree in natural resources, with a focus in leadership for global sustainability, from Virginia Tech. 

She spent 16 years as an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, taught in the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability at Virginia Tech, and formed a nature-based professional leadership coaching and consulting business. 

Most recently, she was the chair of the board of directors at Camp Kum-Ba-Yah in Lynchburg, Virginia, and program manager at the Central Virginia Land Conservancy.  

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Heartland Horse Heroes. Courtesy of Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber winners named

Heartland Horse Heroes Therapeutic Riding has the Farmville Area Chamber Commerce’s Looking Our Best Award, and the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce’s Community Pride Award. Pictured from left to right: Kaitlin Maxridis, Kather Denby, Barbra Wheeler, Jordan Miles, Eddie Slagle, Amy WHite, Sandra Moss, Ruth Lyle, Josh Holfopple, Lynn Owen, Brother Maximilian Wather, LaRue Sprouse, Anna Snoddy, Vivian Jones, Emma Ranson, Anne Tyler Paulek, Addy Auten. 

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From left: VCCS Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois, NRCC President Dr. Pat Huber, Dylon Leonard, Daniel Irwin, Abigail Ridpath, and Addison Levy. Courtesy of New River CC.

New River Community College students named to PTK All-Virginia Academic Team

New River Community College (NRCC) student Addison Levy has been named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Top Ten 2022 All-Virginia Academic Team. Students from across the state were recognized by Virginia’s Community Colleges at an awards luncheon in Richmond.

The Top Ten All-Virginia Academic Team consists of those members of the All-Virginia Academic Team achieving the highest rating in the international program sponsored by PTK, USA Today, and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Levy completed her coursework at NRCC in December 2021 and graduated from NRCC in May 2022 with an associate degree in business administration.  While at NRCC, she was a member of PTK.  She plans to transfer to Liberty University to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in music business online. Throughout high school and college, Levy has used her passion for traditional Appalachian music to perform, entertain, and teach music. She will continue to work as a full-time musician through school and pursue all avenues of the music world once she graduates. 

Three other NRCC students were nominated for PTK 2022 All-Virginia Academic Team and New Century Workforce Scholars including Dylon Leonard, Abigail Ridpath, and Daniel Irwin.  Leonard studied instrumentation and control automation at NRCC and plans to work at R.J. Reynolds immediately after graduation.  He was named the 2022 Outstanding Student in Instrumentation and Control Automation Technology. Ridpath earned an associate degree in general studies at NRCC and plans to transfer to Radford University to pursue a degree in writing. She was an ACCE scholar and earned the 2022 Outstanding Student in English award.  Irwin studied medical office administrative support and medical coding at NRCC and plans to continue his education at NRCC. 

PTK is an international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs, particularly state colleges and community colleges, and the organization’s mission is to recognize academic achievement of college students and to provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and leaders. To become a member of the Omega Eta chapter of PTK at NRCC, students must currently be enrolled at NRCC, have a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average, completed at least 12 non-developmental credits at NRCC.