Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains (FBRM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit profit environmental organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and celebrating the Blue Ridge Mountains, is pleased to announce the granting of Special Awards to four Loudoun County high school seniors at the 2018 Loudoun County Public Schools Regional Science & Engineering Fair on Thursday, March 15 at Riverside High School, Leesburg, VA.  The awardees’ projects address issues of critical importance to our mountain ecology: invasive species, soil pollution, and water pollution.  These Special Awards were given as an adjunct to FBRM’s annual Jane Pratt Blue Ridge Mountain Education Award. FBRM believes that the key to lasting preservation of the Blue Ridge Mountains ultimately lies in the hands of future generations, and is committed to encouraging and supporting efforts of youth pursuing various fields of environmental science.

First Place, and an award of $250, was given to Stone Bridge HS seniors Ryan Chong (pictured) and Amaar Farooq for their project: Aliaria Petionata Affect Soil with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. The Second Place Award of $150 was given to Saimanga Palnati: The Effect of Environmental  Pollution on Plant Growth in Loudoun County, VA.  She attends Rock Ridge High School. Third Place, and an award of $100, was won by Briar Woods senior Alexis Van Lenten: The Effect of Contaminated Runoff on Local Bodies of Water.

FBRM hopes that through Special Awards such as this and it’s annual Jane Pratt Blue Ridge Mountain Education Award, these four gifted students, and students in subsequent years, will turn  their attentions and energies to mountain ecology issues as they pursue higher education in the  environmental sciences.

To learn more about Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s mission and activities, please visit