NOVA faculty, staff and students are invited to a Science Seminar on Friday, February 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Ernst Center, CE Forum at NOVA’s Annandale Campus. The speaker will be Loudoun Valley High School Science Teacher and NOVA alumnus Liam McGranaghan, 2015 recipient of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). The seminar is titled “Trail to Environmental Science.” There will also be a meet and greet with light refreshments from 11:30 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. in the CE Forum.
Come to an informal presentation about taking environmental science out of the classroom and into the great outdoors. Using nature as a classroom, McGranaghan has been teaching his students at Loudoun Valley High School about natural history, environmental science and the impact humans have on the environment.
By promoting public awareness, seeking compromise and working to improve the local community, Loudoun Valley students built a one-mile nature trail on a conservation easement between private interests and the Town of Purcellville. Their nature trail now hosts several environmental events each year including field trips, water quality monitoring and nature hikes.
Student projects include establishing a pollinator garden and building an informational kiosk complete with maps, brochures and checklists of local flora and fauna found along the trail. They have also designed and installed informational trail signs, built boardwalks and bridges. When not on the trail, McGranaghan and his students take part in local amphibian, bird and wildflower field trips.
McGranaghan attended NOVA’s Annandale Campus where he received an Associate of Science degree. He continued his education at Virginia Tech where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. After college, he worked several years in the construction trade but found his calling when he took up teaching high school biology and earth science. While teaching, McGranaghan continued to further his education once again by attending graduate school at George Mason University where he obtained his Master of Science degree in biology in 1996.
Throughout his career, he has shown a strong passion and understanding for the natural world. He is an avid amateur nature photographer, falconer and raptor bander. He also enjoys reptiles, amphibians and wildflowers. He has taught classes for the Graduate School USA in birds of prey and herpetology. He also leads nature walks for a variety of organizations and events including the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Shenandoah Audubon and the Smithsonian. He has authored several articles on native plants and animals and written a book on falconry, “The Red-Tailed Hawk: A Complete Guide to Training and Hunting North America’s Most Versatile Game Hawk.”
Presented by the Science Seminar Committee; Math, Science and Engineering Division; and the Lyceum Committee, Annandale Campus.