Ransom Hughes of North Garden, Va., a freshman majoring in forestry at Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, recently won the Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition. Hughes studies music under cellist Alan Weinstein at Virginia Tech.

The Richmond Symphony Orchestra Leagues holds yearly concerto competitions that consist of a piano division and an instrumental division. First and second place winners are selected for each division and while most competitors come from central Virginia, any student in Virginia is eligible. The winner receives an opportunity to perform with the Richmond Symphony.

Hughes succeeds not only in the world of music, but academics as well. As a forestry student he has started and maintains his own nursery of trees. He has collected seeds of numerous deciduous and coniferous trees from across the United States and currently has around six hundred saplings of over 60 varieties in his backyard nursery. His project has included experimentation with various soil compositions for the purpose of maintaining healthy and vigorous saplings, as well as building his own fence to protect the seedlings from deer and other animals.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.

Written by Hilary Fussell, Public Affairs Assistant