Ross Lester Andrews

Ross Lester Andrews was an environmental scientist, educator and poet. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the North Carolina Fellows Program and the UNC marching and concert bands. He received the MS in Soil Science in 2003 and the MS in Forestry in 2006 from NC State University. Ross was a certified North Carolina Environmental Educator. 

Ross was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Human­Earth Restoration, a non-profit that works to improve the connection people have to the Earth and their enjoyment of the outdoors, with their ultimate goal of protection of the planet. 

Ross’ lifelong love of nature grew from Boy Scout camping and backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and canoeing in rivers near Charlottesville, Virginia, his hometown. He began writing poetry under the great oaks and poplars of the UNC campus, and in 2008 he published a book of poems entitled, “Wild Peace.” 

Ross and his fiancee Wendy Sarratt had just begun to make their home together in the bucolic community of New Hill when Ross passed away while on a run near Yates Mill Pond in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ross was devoted to his seven-year old daughter, Naomi Sequoia Andrews (pictured here with Ross at Lake Champlain), with whom he shared his deep love for spending time in nature and for dancing. 

Ross’ scientific leanings were passed down to him from his paternal grandfather, Dr. W.B. Andrews and his father, Dr. Lester S. Andrews. W.B. was a research agronomist who developed the method for applying ammonia directly into the soil as a nitrogen rich fertilizer in the 1940s. Lester Andrews, the initiating donor of this endowment, is professor emeritus at University of Virginia’s department of chemistry, and has received numerous national and international awards for his research. Ross’ maternal grandparents were also life scientists: Dr. W.W. Hare was a plant pathologist and Dr. Mary L. Hare was a biologist at Miss. State University, where his parents grew up. 

Ross was a graduate of The Inner Life of the Child in Nature program at the Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World in Greensboro, North Carolina and he served on the editorial committee for the nationally recognized “What’s Good in My Hood?” service learning ecology program for urban communities. He was active in Partners for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit in southeast Raleigh, where he organized restoration tree plantings and  environmental education programs with community members at the Walnut Creek Wetlands before becoming the first Director of the Walnut Creek Wetland Center, an urban nature center with the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. Prior to that, Ross served as an environmental educator for Wake County Parks Recreation and Open Space and as an environmental consultant with EcoScience Corporation. 

(This information is directly from an information sheet that is part of the Andrews Endowment)