Since he was a child, Alan Wolverton has loved nature and respected the environment. These traits were acknowledged by his first grade teacher, who sent a note to his parents telling them to encourage him to continue pursuing his interest in the outdoors, and solidified in the third grade when Wolverton watched the trout stream that he grew up near transform from a sparkling, spring-fed stream with plants and fish to a slimy, smelly mess.
“I told my third grade teacher, Mrs. Seek, that I was going to make sure our waters were not polluted and would find a way to make our streams and environment a better place by doing something productive, instead of just watching our environment be turned into a dumping ground,” said Wolverton, a Edinburg resident.
After graduating from high school, Wolverton enrolled at Laurel Ridge Community College to pursue an associate degree in natural resource management. He chose the College because he wanted hands-on training in the region in which he planned to work.
“I enjoyed the one-on-one association that I had with my instructors. The classes suited my schedule, since I worked full time,” Wolverton said. “Laurel Ridge was always adding to its student resources. I remember the old electric typewriters that they replaced with word processors my last year at Laurel Ridge. The library was fantastic and a valuable tool for me.”
Wolverton graduated from Laurel Ridge in 1986 and accepted his first job with the National Park Service. Throughout his career, he has held various jobs in the field of environmental protection and natural resource management. Currently, he works for the town of Round Hill in Loudoun County as a utility supervisor, water and wastewater utility systems chief operator and laboratory director. In these positions, he is responsible for infrastructure planning, reviews of subdivisions and planning for the town’s long-term water resource needs.
“The field of water reclamation has long been misunderstood. Clean, fresh and dependable water supplies are taken for granted all over this nation. Within a few short years, we will see more and more cities and towns cry out for freshwater, and there will be no new supplies. My long-term goal is to plan for my town’s freshwater supply 60 to 100 years into the future. Providing innovative approaches and making sure even a small improvement is not overlooked benefits us all on a larger scale as a nation,” he said.
Wolverton feels that our environment is very fragile. He is concerned that as a nation, we are only interested in what the land can give us versus respecting and preserving our resources. “To me, ‘conservation’ is the wisest use for the greatest benefit of all involved, including the environment and wildlife. We have to be willing to allow large areas to be left wild and pristine. Not all of our wilderness needs to be exploited for oil, natural gas and to desecrate our wild areas for the short-term benefit of man,” he said.
As Wolverton strives to make a difference in the community, he is grateful for the education that he received at Laurel Ridge and the difference that the College makes to area residents.
“I would like the community to know that Laurel Ridge offers a fine curriculum at an affordable cost. The education is as high a quality, if not better, than many state colleges. Laurel Ridge has given our community many students who have gone on to be leaders in their fields and highly respected with their peers,” he said. “I feel that if Laurel Ridge had not been located in the [Shenandoah] Valley area, many rural students would have missed the opportunity to attend college. I know I would have been one of them.”
Because of Wolverton’s service to the community and protection of the environment, he was selected to receive the 2008 Laurel Ridge Distinguished Alumni Award.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.