Blue Ridge Spirit
by Sarah Gillig Sunu -- June 21st, 2013

We’ve been having some beautiful weather here in North Carolina! I took advantage of it last week with some Nic School grads on a trip out to the Blue Ridge. It was a great chance to play with my landscape lens.

My first taste of the Blue Ridge Mountains came when I attended the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA), a Youth-In-Government program that I participated in when I was in high school.  Youth-In-Government programs are about debating issues that are important for our society, and practicing the democratic process.  Students generally have to craft a proposal that they present to their peers, on a topic of national or international importance.  You can probably guess, based on my current studies, what most of my proposals were about!

It wasn’t just about debate though. Whenever I see mountains (particularly the Blue Ridge Mountains), or the ocean, I am awed by nature, and reminded of what we CONA alums call the Blue Ridge Spirit.

The Blue Ridge Spirit isn’t really supposed to be defined, as it’s a bit different for everyone.  But the impact of the Blue Ridge Spirit can be seen in every positive interaction between people from different backgrounds and walks in life, in the efforts of individuals and groups to help people they have never met, and in the work that people do to build a better world for everyone. But to my mind, it shouldn’t stop there–we should extend that care and understanding to all living things. After all, humans are part of the ecosystem, not outside it! When we recognize that as a society, I think that we will see big changes in how we treat environmental issues.

CONA and the Blue Ridge Spirit provided a catalyst for me as a budding environmental student, encouraging me to believe in the power of people for positive change. It remains a touchstone and an inspiration to this day.

Where do you find your Blue Ridge Spirit?

Exploring clothes!

Snapped by Tawnee

Cliff face

Also snapped by Tawnee.


Tawnee kindly snapped this one for me!

Tides for Friday, June 21st, Beaufort, NC

High: 5:15 AM, 3.0 ft

Low: 11:19 AM, -0.4 ft

High: 5:59 PM, 4.1 ft

Tide predictions from NOAA Tides and Currents



  1. Tawnee
    Jun 21, 2013

    You captured some great shots, Sarah! Thanks for the photo credit too, haha. Love the idea of Blue Ridge Spirit – we definitely encountered that with basically everyone we met! Seems like anyone who choses to voluntarily spend their time on difficult-to-access trails has some appreciation that we’re all in this together!

  2. curatenie cluj
    Jun 26, 2013

    Nice picture! You have a free spirit like me!
    Good luck!

  3. Gretchen Gillig
    Jul 13, 2013

    I like your Blue Ridge Spirit essay. Gorgeous scenery in North Carolina. Wonderful shot on the precipice. Would love to hike along sometime.

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