ST. ALBANS — Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans senior Jessica Casey has received a full ride to Green Mountain College, winning their First in Sustainability Scholarship award this spring.

Casey was having milkshakes with her sister when she opened the congratulations email. Saying she was surprised would be an understatement. “I was really shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Casey, who developed a love for the environment and wildlife by attending the Governor’s Institute of Vermont (GIV) last summer and volunteering at Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue, decided to focus her 500-word scholarship essay on how phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain has affected both the community and her personally.

“The high levels of phosphorus cause people to exclude St. Albans Bay from their plans, and the water quality threatens many species dependent upon this habitat,” Casey wrote.

In August of 2016, the last time she went to the beach in St. Albans Bay, the smell wafting off the water was “obnoxious” and the sand quality was “odd and unpleasant,” she wrote.

“This was once a place where I loved to watch my dad play baseball, and then all of us would enjoy a carefree swim in the water,” Casey continued, “but the excessive phosphorus has damaged this area almost beyond recognition.”

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