Roanoke Blue Ridge Parkway Volunteer Named Virginia’s Cox Conserves Hero for 2017

Friends of The Blue Ridge Parkway celebrate the gift they received in honor of member Barbara Duerk.

Barbara Duerk, an ebullient, visionary force in the Roanoke Valley, has been selected as the state winner for the Virginia Cox Conserves Heroes Award for 2017.  The annual Cox Conserves Heroes program in partnership with the Trust for Public Land recognizes volunteers who create, preserve, and enhance shared outdoor spaces and supports charitable non-profit organizations with a conservation mission.

Barbara has designated the non-profit, FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke Valley Chapter as her award donation recipient.

Barbara introduces herself as “bicycling, boating, backpacking Barbara Duerk,” and she is a visionary force for so many organizations.  She is an ambassador on the Roanoke River Greenway, founder of Girl Scouts Virginia Skyline Adventurers, and a member on the board of the Virginia Bicycling Federation.  She is known for promoting our community assets and for encouraging everyone to “go outside, get motivated to move and to appreciate our natural resources.”

“Barbara has been instrumental in helping our chapter lead the charge for increased community use of, and stewardship on, the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Friends’ Chair of the Roanoke Valley, Heidi Ketler.

Parkway volunteers and donors assist with ongoing needs on the overlooks, trails, cemeteries, facilities, and entertainment venues.  Barbara works on programs and outreach, developing events and activities to increase awareness of the Parkway.

A check for $10,000 was presented Duerk on July 9 at the regular 7:00 PM Sunday evening Music on the Mountain series at the Roanoke Mountain Picnic area.

“The power of Vitamin N – Vitamin Nature is essential for restoring our souls and healing our bodies, both mentally and physically,” said Duerk who has been involved getting young girls outside, motivated to move and to appreciate our national parks through her volunteer work with Girl Scouts Virginia Skyline.

The monies received will be designated for volunteer projects benefiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, and will include reopening the connector trail between the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway trails, replacing the roof on the entrance building and the kiosk at the Roanoke Mountain picnic area, enlargement of the dance floor there as well as refurbishing the numbers on the parking spaces and other trail projects.

Some of the donation will also go to supporting Junior Appalachian Music (JAM), a program dedicated to encouraging young people to keep the music traditions of the Blue Ridge mountains alive.

To learn more about the important work FRIENDS chapters are doing in North Carolina and Virginia, go to https://www.friendsbrp.org/who-we-are/chapters/ or call 540-772-2992.  For more information on volunteering with FRIENDS, visit https://www.friendsbrp.org/get-involved/become-a-volunteer/