My name is Grace Leonard, and I was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. I’ve been playing outside my entire life; whether it be hiking, biking, camping, etc., I’m always trying to find new places to explore. I got my degree in Environmental Biology from Appalachian State University last year and treated myself to a cross-country road trip visiting national parks as a graduation gift. During my travels, I was exposed to so many new environments and knew I wanted to dive deeper into all of them.
While currently working as a ranger for Virginia State Parks, I met people from Americorps groups stationed at our park. I admired the hands-on work they were doing and sought out to find an opportunity where I could get involved. I discovered the opening at Mt. Adams Institute and knew I had to go for it. Washington state was one of my favorite places that I visited on my road trip, and I look forward to returning with a purpose to learn more about the land and contribute to the conservation of such a beautiful environment so that it can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.