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Protecting and Conserving the Quality of Life in the Valley
HomeVisionary Scholar Award


Click on the link below to access the

2024 VSA Application

Previous Visionary Scholar Award Winners with Submissions


Monica Kennedy

BVA 2022

Title: Reach for Yore Memories

Description: We must grasp the past in order to succeed in the present and plan for the future. The Butternut Valley Watershed future lies in our hands. Family farms play a large role in its success because these are run by small groups of people who care deeply for the land and the people they provide for. Local farms have the potential to provide agricultural independence and build resiliency in this community.

In this image of my hand, I reach for the strength of the past in my grandmother’s hand. The receiving of the flowers represents the passing of knowledge of farming from generation to generation. This passing of the flowers holds old, precious, and formative memories of planning crops, planting seeds, long hours of weeding, and early morning harvesting. These types of memories remind us of what is means to be resilient in hardship. They sustain us as we take what we learned from the past to feed our community and build a sustainable future for our land.

By holding close to our past memories, farming will nourish both body and soul of the Butternut Valley Watershed.

2021 Kate Moran Artwork

2022 Runner-up Kenzie Graves Submitted a PDF

You can view the PDF via the link below.

The Butternut Valley Watershed In 2040

The 2021 Visionary Scholar Award Winner Was Kate Morano

The Butternut Waterthread

By Kate Morano

For my presentation, I did an embroidery piece displaying the Butternut Watershed as it is today. You may be wondering why I created the watershed as it is now, and not how it would be in 2040, and that is because I hope the watershed will look the same in twenty years. Nature is an everlasting force; the planet was here long before we were and it will be here long after we are gone. The conservation efforts of groups like the Butternut Valley Alliance make sure of that. That is the message I was trying to send with this piece; that preserving the natural beauty of a place for future generations is the most important thing. We have to understand and appreciate where we are now to know where we are going, and what we can offer the world. 

In my sophomore year, I wrote a piece about the history of the Earth, and it is the themes I touched on in that essay that inspired this embroidery piece. In many ways, I feel that art and writing go hand in hand, so I will attach it below so that whoever is reading this can get a better idea of what I intended with this piece.

“September 9, 2018

270 million years ago, all land on Earth was conjoined into one massive supercontinent called Pangaea. Large reptiles ruled this Earth, and mammals were small and nearly nonexistent. 600 million years ago, another supercontinent existed called Pannotia, where multicellular life is only just beginning to evolve. And 750 million years ago, glaciers covered the planet during what is the greatest ice age to have ever occured on Earth. These vastly different iterations of Earth are tied together by one thing: Nature, a power that surrounds us, penetrates us, and keeps us grounded. Nature is a constant presence in our lives; it is always around us and always changing. It does not need us to survive, but survives in spite of us. Humans worship nature for many different reasons. It is calming, and a way for people to relieve stress, which is why saving it is one of the most discussed topics in the media today. 

There have been five major mass extinctions so far: the End Ordovician, the Late Devonian, the End Permian, the End Triassic, and the End Cretaceous. In the most mild of these extinctions, 75 percent of all species were lost. In the most drastic, 96 percent. The common cause? Climate change. Studies indicate that since the last glacial maximum, temperatures have risen about 40 degrees fahrenheit. The rate of increase of carbon dioxide between 1960 and 1999 was higher than any other 40 year period in the past 2 million years. This has led scientists to believe that we are now approaching the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, and in turn, the end of the current geological epoch, the Holocene.

The realization that Earth will press on without us does not exonerate us from taking action, however. We must strive to save ourselves, and the complex civilizations we have built, but must also keep in mind that humanity is not an affliction on the planet. We are merely a blip in geological time, a single chapter in the vast tome that is the history of the Earth.”

2021 Kyle Meyers Photo Essay

2021 Runner-up Kyle Meyers Submitted a Photo Essay Shown Above

Katelyn Robinson Award Winning Artwork

Katelyn Robinson received the first annual

Visionary Scholar Award in 2020

The Butternut Valley Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization. Our mission is to encourage the Butternut Creek watershed to become an even better place to live, work, and play. Our activities connect communities, protect the environment, and promote the arts.

Leading the Butternut Creek watershed toward a sustainable future.
PO Box 43
Morris, NY  13808