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SCC Honor Society Visits Natural Bridge State Park

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Surry Community College's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recently journeyed to Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia.

The students marveled at the natural rock formations and enjoyed a picnic beside the beautiful stream, which flows under the Natural Bridge. Their advisor, Dr. Kathleen D. Fowler, challenged them to find George Washington’s “graffiti” on the rock formation. He carved his initials there sometime around 1750, when he surveyed the patent for Natural Bridge. The patent was later granted to Thomas Jefferson on July 5, 1774. The initials are high up on the cliff face above the stream, so the Honor Society members had to use binoculars to find them, but they enjoyed the challenge.

Chapter President, Ellie Edwards commented, “The trip to Natural Bridge State Park was a great bonding experience for me and my fellow PTK members. I enjoyed walking to the waterfall and entering the cavern. All in all, it was a fun experience. For example, we had so much fun trying to guess certain berries and flowers that we saw while we were hiking. Although we never went on the bridge, it was a beautiful sight. I am definitely going to go back one day to hike the trail and stand on the bridge.”

In addition to enjoying the beauty of the park, they also learned a little about sustainable practices. “What a wonderful trip to reconnect with nature,” states Honor Society Public Affairs Secretary, Veronika DiMeo. “The park is definitely a quiet place to relax with picturesque surroundings. I learned how the Natural Bridge Park keepers help pollinators and much more. By reducing mowed areas, they create colorful wildflower fields, not only supporting pollinators and a diversity of other insects and animals, but also controlling soil erosion, creating food and shelter for wildlife, and saving on lawn maintenance time and money. A comment I heard was ‘That is such a messy area,’ and I responded. ‘Oh no, there is a reason for this sustainable practice.’”

Six people sitting on a rock in front of small stream and greenery.
PTK Members enjoying the waterfall at Natural Bridge State Park. From left to right is PTK co-advisor Dr. Kathleen Fowler, Rachel Russo, Angelina Flippin, Ellie Edwards, Veronika DiMeo, and Luke Cagle (back row).

A little fun, a little history, and a little conservation—what a great mixture of learning and enjoyment. In fact, the Surry Community College’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is built on four pillars: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship.

“We schedule both fun activities and service projects throughout the year. Keeping a balance of fun and hard work is important,” explains chapter co-advisor, Dr. Kathleen D. Fowler who is also an English instructor at SCC.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with nearly 1,300 chapters on college campuses in all 50 States of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 3.8 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with over 250,000 active members annually.

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa and their projects, contact PTK's faculty co-advisors Dr. Kathleen Fowler at (336) 386-3560 or fowlerk@surry.edu or Kayla Forrest at (336) 386-3315 or forrestkm@surry.edu or go to www.ptk.org.

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