VLWA Scholarship Apply Now

Click on the link above to find out more about the VLWA Scholarship
Applications are Due by April 1, 2021!  

The Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association (VLWA) has been awarding Leo Bourassa scholarships since 2001 to deserving college students to help fulfill our mission. The scholarship program is named after Leo Bourassa who was the founding father of VLWA. The goal of the scholarships is to support students in their education in the field of water resources to help promote good lake and watershed management within the Commonwealth of Virginia. VLWA has awarded seventy-eight student scholarships to-date for a total amount of $153,300 and the scholarship awards have ranged in value from $3,000 to $500 each. The scholarship recipients are selected based on academic performance, contribution to the field of water resources, and related extracurricular activities. The applicant must be a Virginia resident attending an accredited Virginia college or university and applications are due by April 1, 2021. More information about the VLWA Leo Bourassa Scholarship Program can be found HERE. Please see the website for details on applicant eligibility and application submittal requirements. The application form can be submitted electronically via the website. Two reference letters for each applicant will need to be mailed to the VLWA scholarship committee chair at the address listed on the website.     APPLY NOW!

Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP)

VCAP offers a wide variety of practices that can help individual homeowners and other groups control stormwater, improve water quality, and beautify their property, all the while reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients that make it into Virginia’s waterways. There is a wealth of information available at http://vaswcd.org/vcap, including overviews of each practice, project photos, and more technical information.

Rain Garden installation at Graves Mountain Lodge

Best Management Practice Applications Now Being Accepted for 2020-2021

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, located at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA, 24151, is now accepting application for the Program Year 2021 Virginia Agricultural Cost Share (VACS) program.  This program offers conservation practices to farmers that include planting winter cover crops on cropland, ways to manage and store animal waste, plans for use of nutrients, exclusion of livestock from streams, install watering systems and rotational grazing, plant trees to convert crop and pastureland to forest, plus several other practices.  These practices are incentivized and can pay up to 100% paid by a reimbursement.  To qualify, land must be currently in agricultural production with a water quality concern present.  For more information, please call the Blue Ridge SWCD at 540-352-3312 and ask for Michael Tabor or Allen Jackson. Our early sign-up deadline is September 4, 2020 and new practices will be ranked and approved no earlier than the September 28th Blue Ridge SWCD Board Meeting.  Programs offered through Blue Ridge SWCD are available to all people regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or political affiliation.

Blue Ridge SWCD Welcomes New Director

In November 2019, Freeda Cathcart was elected as the Blue Ridge SWCD’s newest director, representing the City of Roanoke. In the early 1990’s, Cathcart was the President of the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. She was one of the Founders of the Left Bank Land Co. in Floyd, Virginia working with the shareholders to create the “Artesia” Land Trust on their property in 1995. Artesia protects the watershed and the old growth forest from being developed for future generations. The property associated with the Left Bank Land Co. supports several successful farm market growers and independent cottage industries. 


Cathcart currently serves on the “League of Women Voters of the Roanoke Valley” and “Points of Diversity” boards. She and her husband of 32 years have four children. She enjoys hiking, kayaking and singing in her church’s choir.

Jamison Inducted to Conservation Hall of Fame

Mechanicsville, VA, August 12, 2019.  Daphne Jamison, a recognized leader in conservation for over 35 years, was inducted into the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD’s) Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame at a luncheon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Aug. 5th during the NACD Southeast Region Meeting. The Hall of Fame honors distinguished conservationists whose careers have resulted in the wise use of our nations precious natural resources upon which we all depend. Jamison was nominated for the honor by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) for her significant contribution to soil and water conservation.

Daphne W. Jamison

VASWCD President Chip Jones stated that “Someone who practices what he or she preaches is someone that is well-suited to become a great leader, and Daphne is an example of someone who works hard in and out of the workplace, not for fame and recognition but because she wants to and that’s who she is.”

A graduate of Radford College, Daphne spent 33 years teaching science in Roanoke County Public Schools. However, retirement hasn’t slowed down Daphne in the slightest. Daphne has served the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District (BRSWCD) for three decades and has been re-elected repeatedly as a Director. She has worked extensively with the VASWCD and served as President in 2001 and 2002.

Daphne has donated countless hours of energy and expertise towards the promotion of soil and water conservation work on a watershed basis, in addition to securing funds for non-point source pollution programs across Virginia. She was appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to serve on the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board and has worked closely with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). In 2013, she received the Bobby Wilkinson Award, the highest honor a SWCD Director can be awarded. Even in her downtime, Daphne has been an active member in her community, volunteering to monitor water quality for over 30 years alongside Ferrum College and the Smith Mountain Lake Association.

Executive Director Kendall Tyree commented that “Daphne is deserving of more than just this award, because her dedication and enthusiasm for conservation is contagious to everyone she encounters. Her contributions to the advancement of conservation have been impactful across the Commonwealth. We are grateful for her dedication and commitment and are proud to have nominated her for this recognition.”

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The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) is the non-profit organization that represents Virginia’s 47 conservation districts and about 680 men and women who serve on their staffs and governing boards.  For more than 70 years, conservation districts have worked with cooperating land users and local jurisdictions to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices.  For more information about VASWCD, visit: www.vaswcd.org.

What is NEED?

Elementary & Secondary Info Activities

Over 35 years ago, The NEED Project began as a one-day celebration of energy education when National Energy Education Day was recognized by a Joint Congressional Resolution. In the same year, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation stressing the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools, a reduction of our dependence of fossil fuels, and increasing use of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency. Since its founding, NEED has kept its Kids Teaching Kids philosophy as a fundamental principle of NEED programming – encouraging students to explore, experiment, and engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom. NEED trains and assists teachers in harnessing the energy of the classroom – the energy of students. NEED is expanding and evolving to best meet the needs of teachers and students – in the classroom and beyond…   NEED students are the future of the energy workforce. Students interested in engineering, science, economics, environmental sciences, law, geology and a host of other disciplines have a role in the energy industry. We work hard to help teachers meet the requirements of state standards, Common Core, and the Next Generation Science Standards. As states adopt their new standards, NEED will continue working to provide state alignments to our entire curriculum portfolio.  To learn more about NEED visit https://need.org.

2021 Dominion Envirothon: “Water Resources Management: Local Control-Local Solutions”

Envirothon is a hand-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school students.  Teams are tested in five areas.  #1 Environmental Issues:  Students are tested on a current environmental issue with an in-field test and oral presentation.  Students present their solutions , to be judged, to a panel of professionals.  #2 Aquatics: Students work along marine and freshwater biologists to assess the quality of delicate aquatic ecosystems.  Students learn to identify aquatic organisms, manage watershed and determine non-point source pollution.  #3 Soils:  Professional soil scientists help students learn about soil structure, interpret maps, evaluate land forms, and understand soil characteristics that affect both agriculture and urban development. #4 Wildlife: Students learn first hand from wildlife experts about animal populations, identification and the importance of habitat conservation. # 5 Forestry: With the help of professional foresters, students learn the basics of tree identification, forest structure and how to maintain healthy forest ecosystems.

A $50,000 Dominion Foundation grant has made Dominion the primary state sponsor for the program. The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Energy (NYSE:D). Envirothon is run by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) and Virginia’s 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. 

Fueled by Dominion’s generous sponsorship, Virginia’s 2019 Dominion Envirothon was bigger and more competitive than ever. Individuals interested in volunteering or learning more about starting an Envirothon team at their high school, 4-H, FFA, Ecology club or home school group, should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or the VASWCD at (804) 559-0324.

How to form a team:

Teams consist of at least 5 members and must be in grades 9-12.  FFA, 4-H, home school and scout groups are also eligible. Coaches may be a teacher, coach, or enthusiastic adult willing to help.

Henry County Envirothon Team (orange t-shirts) placed first overall and Franklin County Envirothon Team placed second overall at the April 2019 Area V Envirothon competition at Gentry Farm in Ringold, VA
Henry County’s Envirothon Team placed 8th overall and Franklin County’s Envirothon Team placed 9th overall at the Dominion Envirothon state competition at Mary Washington University in May 2019.

Win Scholarships & Prizes

Winners compete at local, regional, and state competitions.  First place state winners go on to the national level to compete for scholarship money and prizes.

Why Should You Participate?

Learn about important environmental issues*Gain hands-on experience in solving real-world problems*Great for college and job applications*Spend time with teammates and friends*Possibly travel across the country to the North American Envirothon for a chance to win scholarships and prizes!

For More Information

on forming an Envirothon Team within the Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and City of Roanoke areas contact Kathy Smith at (540) 352-3314 * Ksmith@brswcd.org or Bonnie Mahl at Bonnie.mahl@vaswcd.org (804) 559-0324 at the VASWCD office.  Click below to download the upcoming 2020 Area V Envirothon Workshop and this year’s Envirothon Oral Presentation Question: