Claytor Nature Study Center, Bedford County

For all those 3- to 5-year-old adventurers with cabin fever, the Claytor Nature Study Center has a cure: a four-day “Animals in Winter” hike series that will get them exploring the forest throughout the month of February, searching for traces of wildlife and learning about animals’ winter survival strategies. The center, nestled at the foot […]

The Clifton Institute, Fauquier County

A ring of children crowd around a kneeling camp counselor, who holds a dragonfly just inches from their faces. “How can you tell this guy is a predator?” the counselor asks. “Big eyes!” one child volunteers. “Spiky legs to hold prey!” another says. This is a typical scene at the Clifton Institute, an environmental education […]

Waddle Farm, Smyth County

Several years ago, a neighbor asked Shelley Waddle if she and her husband, Jeff, had ever considered protecting their 1,158-acre Saltville farm from development with a conservation easement. She was skeptical at first. “We didn’t understand the process, the terminology,” says Shelley, a farmer and schoolteacher who was born and raised in Smyth County. “Once […]

Craun Farm, Augusta County

Jim Craun celebrated a 100th birthday in June. Not his—his barn’s. The barn is one of several buildings that Mr. Craun has restored on his family’s 165-acre farm in Augusta County. The cavernous interior is barely enough to contain his memories of summers spent working there as a boy, when his grandparents owned the place. […]

Preserving the Jordan

Rappahannock is a small county with a big penchant for preservation. Of its 170,825 acres, roughly 35 percent, or 60,000 acres, are protected—half in Shenandoah National Park and half in conservation easements on private land, mostly held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. About 6,700 of VOF’s easement acres lie within the Jordan River watershed. From […]

White House Farm Foundation, Page County

In 1760, about 30 years before construction began on the White House in the District of Columbia, a Mennonite settler named Martin Kauffman II built his own little White House in Page County, Virginia. Kauffman constructed the building as a residence and Mennonite meeting house, locating it at the foot of the Massanutten Mountains, along […]

Oak Grove Plantation, Halifax County

Oak Grove Plantation, a bed & breakfast just outside South Boston in Halifax County, works hard to minimize its environmental footprint. Some of the steps it has taken include recycling, composting, installing energy-efficient storm windows, offering optional linen service, drying laundry on clotheslines, collecting rainwater with rain barrels, and using compact fluorescent lighting. The inn […]