LFCC Student Wins Photography Award from VOWA

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2015

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Winners of the VOWA (Virginia Outdoor Writers Association)/Dominion 2014-2015 Annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing – Photo Contest were announced Saturday March 21, 2015 at the organization’s annual meeting held at the DoubleTree Hotel in the Charlottesville, VA.  VOWA honored three outstanding collegiate students for their excellence in writing and photography.  

The 2014-2015 winner of the VOWA/Hunt’s Best Collegiate Outdoor Photo Award, was Michael “Steve” Wilcox a student at Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown VA, in the first of its kind Nature, Outdoor, and Wildlife Photography Certification program in the country…designed and led by VOWA’s own Rob and Ann Simpson, nationally renowned photographers and writers.  Wilcox is also talking courses in Fine Arts at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

A returning student, retired from public education, Wilcox’s photography is “an extension of his passion for nature and art.” Since his early teens he has spent as much time as possible appreciating nature through hiking, backpacking, kayaking, mountaineering, and researching the natural world.


Wilcox received a certificate for his stunning image, “Monarch on Goldenrod” taken shortly after sunrise in Big Meadows during a class field trip to Shenandoah National Park. He describes,  “ While the class was tracking deer, I discovered this monarch, Danaus plexippus, perched on a blooming goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, in the cool, overcast early morning.” 

Other Virginia Collegiate students honored: The VOWA/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate Award for Best Overall Essay, went to Christina Nelson a freshman at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA for her beautifully written essay “Into the ‘Real’ World” and The VOWA/Cooperative Living Magazine Collegiate Award for the best entry relating specifically to Virginia was won by College of William and Mary junior, Peyton Smith for her touching story “The Heron’s Hymn.”  


Following the presentation of awards, winners read their winning essays, and Wilcox showed and spoke about his winning image to a group of 65 members and guests of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) – some of the best writers/photographers on the East Coast.  A celebratory lunch was graciously sponsored for all by Dominion Resources.  All three winners were inspiring in that they typify scholarship and love of the outdoors.


The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. represents a coalition of writers, photographers, and video/film producers who inform various media on the out-of-doors, its enjoyment, and conservation. Through this association, VOWA members strive to improve themselves in their craft and increase their knowledge and understanding of the outdoors.


Anyone who is interested in more information about VOWA, reading the winning entries, or entering VOWA’s annual contests can access that information at www.vowa.org or contact Marie Majarov, Chairman of the Board, VOWA at [email protected].

(Steve Wilcox’s “Monarch on Goldenrod” winning photo)

(Steve Wilcox’s “Monarch on Goldenrod” winning photo)


Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.