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Randolph graduate shares research during VFIC annual meeting

Eva Pontius Hey ’23 presents at the VFIC annual business meeting.

Eva Pontius Hey ’23 recently took her research on the road. She presented about Randolph’s climate resilience work at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ (VFIC) annual business meeting on June 3.

Her talk focused on the climate resilient food forest she designed for R.S. Payne Elementary School as a result of VFIC’s Heat Watch Project, which surveyed temperatures in Lynchburg during the summer of 2021 to identify neighborhoods that had higher temperatures than others.

Those areas are known as urban heat islands, and R.S. Payne is right in the center of one. As part of the Heat Watch project, the Department of Forestry provided additional funding, funneled through the VFIC, to purchase trees for planting in hot neighborhoods to help cool them in the summer months.

Hey worked with Randolph professor Karin Warren last summer to research food forests, and using the Heat Watch data, identify possible locations.

She designed the garden for R.S. Payne using the principles of permaculture, an approach to land management that aims to recreate the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems in gardens. The community came together this spring to work on the project.

Putting down roots: Randolph collaborates on project to plant a forest garden at local elementary school


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