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Because many of these announcements are posted well in advance of the event, please consult the contact person before attending to confirm details.  Please also check the EcoEvents Calendar for additional details, other items, and updates.


*Tuesday, February 6 – RACC Land Use Committee (LUC) Meeting, 4:00 p.m. in the RACC office meeting space, 2nd floor of the Wells Fargo Bank Building, 101 South Main Street, Lexington (enter the vestibule and go through the door to your right and up the stairs).  As the new year begins, some of the issues to address are the city’s comprehensive plan review, holding a community education series, the Arcadia Initiative and the Route 60 East water and sewer 'pipedream' to name a few.  Anyone interested in land use issues is invited to attend.  For more information contact Chris Wise at jwise@wlu.edu or 540-784-9258.

Tuesday, February 6 – Winter Speaker Series at Natural Bridge State Park, at Natural Bridge State Park Visitor’s Center.  Presentations will take place in the Interactive Classroom in the Visitor Center unless otherwise noted (*). 

  • Tuesday, February 6, 7 pm: “Present Day Issues Plaguing Native Americans”, presented by Victoria Ferguson, manager of the Monacan Exhibit at Natural Bridge State Park.
  • Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 pm: Film “Murder Hole Cave”, presented by author and owner of Murder Hole Cave, Marion McConnell.
  • Saturday, March 17, 1:00 pm: “Bridging History and Nature: The Forests, Farms, Families, and Flags of Rockbridge County”, presented by Eric Wilson, Executive Director of the Rockbridge Historical Society.
  • Saturday, March 24, 2:00 pm: “Performance: Alphornist Monica Hambrick Under the Bridge”, presented by Monica Hambrick, alphornist and music educator.  *Location: meet on Cedar Creek Trail, under the Bridge. 

For more information call 800-933-7275 or go to www.virginiastateparks.gov.

Wednesday, February 7 – Talk by Jim Kahn, Professor of Environmental Studies, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Science Center, Room A214, W&L Campus.   Sponsored by The Williams School and Environmental Studies Department.  The topic will be "Economic Activity or Bad Policies: Rent-seeking and the demise of ecosystems".  In economics and in public-choice theoryrent-seeking involves seeking to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating new wealth. Rent-seeking results in reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced actual wealth-creation, lost government revenue, increased income inequality,[1] and (potentially) national decline.   Dr. Kahn is the John F. Hendon Professor of Economics as well as Professor of Environmental Science.  Call 458-8341 for more information.

Saturday, February 10 - Rockbridge History Bee, 10:00 a.m. at the Ramsey Education Center,
2040 Magnolia Avenue, Buena Vista.  The Rockbridge Historical Society welcomes our whole community to Buena Vista to follow along with the questions on local history, as area high school students compete to demonstrate their year's study of Remarkable Rockbridge.  Join us at this busy "Hive of History" in Buena Vista, as students from Parry McCluer High School and Rockbridge County High School show what they've learned in their studies of Rockbridge History, competing for honors as the next generation of Rockbridge historians.  Although students take the prizes, this is a great opportunity for all community members to join the fun, and learn more about our County in the process.  Announced rounds of multiple choice questions -- all drawn from RHS' Remarkable Rockbridge -- allow audience members to follow along with progressively more difficult questions. Enjoy the chance to be jointly proud in your own knowledge, and in our students' accomplishments.  For more information call 464-1058 or email rochist@hotmail.com.

Saturday, February 10 – BoxerWorld Concert, 6:00 p.m. at Salerno’s, 115 South Jefferson Street, Lexington.  This is the first of three concerts with proceeds to benefit Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden.   The other concert date will be Saturday, March 17, same time and place.   Among the musical acts slated to perform are Aquatic Lasso, Disposed Kings, Diseased Earth, From the Wild, BlueNX, Debra Guy and Ryan Songbird.  Suggested donation is $8.00.

Sunday, February 11 - Hike for the Hardy on Brushy Hills, 2:00 p.m.   A winter hike in some seldom-visited areas of Brushy Hills woodlands will take place this Sunday.  The annual “Hike for the Hardy” will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will be led by members of the Friends of Brushy Hills.  Participants will follow a loop of about six miles around the periphery of the entire woods, starting out among the older trees and green ferns on the western slopes of Union Run watershed.  Those wishing a shorter adventure can turn off early for a loop of about three miles. 
“The trees and views are especially beautiful during the winter months,” noted Amy DeHart, of the Friends of Brushy Hills, the sponsoring group. “The trail will provide a glimpse of the diverse trees and amazing sink holes on the Town Spring watershed. We’ll follow some of the lesser-known trails, with beautiful views of the Town Spring watershed and of mountains beyond.”  Hikers are advised to wear shoes with good tread and to bring water and perhaps a snack.  A walking stick may be useful, especially if some of the route is snow-covered.  
Hikers will meet at the Town Spring on Union Run Road, just west of the city.  From Lexington, drive to the end of Ross Road (2.3 miles from the city limits) and turn right on Union Run Road.  Continue 0.6 miles to the Brushy Hills Trails sign and Town Spring (a low stone building on the right).  Cars may be parked in the lot across the road, or along the road out of the traffic lane.  The adventure will not be cancelled for cold temperatures or light snowfall, but in case of extreme weather it will be cancelled.  For further information, or if in doubt about the weather, call Alexia Smith at 463-4010.

Monday, February 12 – Citizen’s Climate Lobby Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at the W&L Student Commons, Room 116.  For next week, we are going to cancel our regular Tuesday meeting and instead have a meeting on Monday to specifically plan for the community discussion on climate change.  Please come share your thoughts and help us make this event a success!  CCL is a community group and everyone is welcome to attend.  For those interested in learning more about our organization go to www.citizensclimatelobby.org  or email lexington.va@citizensclimatelobby.org.   For more information about the meeting email Tessa Horan at horant18@mail.wlu.edu.   Come on out and help us plan our outreach and advocacy efforts for a safer climate and better world!

Tuesday, February 13 - Talking Native Plants, 11:30 a.m. at Ruby Tuesdays, 1120 North Lee Highway.  Sponsored by the Virginia Native Plants Society, Upper James River Chapter.  We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.  Anyone interested in native plants is invited to attend.  Everyone should bring plant questions for discussion.  For more information email janhuntersmith@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 14 – Rockbridge Bird Club Meeting, 7:00 p.m. in the Piovano Room, Rockbridge Regional Library, Lexington.  The program by Dan Bieker will be on rarely-seen wildlife in Virginia. 
He will be showing us some of the many fascinating yet rarely observed species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that live in Virginia thanks to its varied topography, patches of wilderness, and abundant waterways. Dan is an Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences at Piedmont Virginia
Community College, where he teaches Field Ornithology and Appalachian Ecology.  The public is welcome.  Contact the Club by email at rockbridgebirdclub@gmail.com or call Alexia Smith at
463-4010 or Laura Neale at 540-261-1909.

Saturday, February 17 – Rockbridge Bird Club Field Trip, 7:30 a.m. meet at the Lexington Food Lion parking lot to carpool.  The trip is to Reddish Knob in Search of Crossbills which is into western Rockingham County and to the top of Shenandoah Mountain in search of Red Crossbills, visiting some of the County’s
birding hotspots in route.  Heading back south, we’ll travel a scenic forest service road that lies along much
of Shenandoah Mountain’s long ridge, hoping for Ruffed Grouse, Common Ravens, and Black-capped Chickadees. Day’s end will find us parked in Swoope awaiting a showing of Short-eared Owls.
We plan on a pit stop at a country store where food and drink can be purchased before heading up Shenandoah Mountain, but it would probably be a good idea to bring plenty of snacks and water. Dress for cooler temps at high elevation, and bring a sense of adventure. Our expected return time is about 7:30 p.m. In the event of rain or snow on Saturday, we’ll reschedule the trip for the next day Sunday, February 18. For more information please contact Wendy Richards at 463-5214 or richardsw@wlu.edu.

Saturday, February 17 – Sustainability 101 Workshop, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Boxerwood, 963 Ross Road, Lexington.  Are you curious about what “sustainability really means”?  Or do you know what it means personally, but are you wondering what scientists have to say about it?  Have you wondered how it is relevant to a place like Boxerwood, or a town like Lexington?  Are you confounded by questions like, “paper vs plastic?”, “wild caught vs farm-raised”, or “solar vs geothermal vs natural gas”?  Boxerwood will host a workshop to explore some of these questions.  Through simulations and games, this Science Class for Adults will lay the foundation for understanding a clear, science-based framework for sustainability.  Participants will learn about The Natural StepTM, an internationally recognized and open source set of principles that can guide our stewardship of our homes, our businesses, our schools, our towns, and indeed, our world.
Whether you are a business manager wanting to jumpstart your sustainability efforts, or a teacher looking for techniques to introduce students to sustainability, or simply someone who would like to make sense of the growing phenomenon called sustainability, this workshop offers an engaging, interactive way to get you started.  The workshop cost is $25 for non-members and $20 for members. To register and pay, follow this link on the Boxerwood website: https://boxerwood.org/event/sustainability-101-workshop/. You may also e-mail Catrien van Assendelft (Sustainability Manager) at catrien@boxerwood.org with questions.  Space is limited so register soon!

SAVE THE DATE: March 17 to March 25 - The 24th Annual Rockbridge Area Community Clean-up, Again this year is a week-long window of opportunity to complete clean-up projects from March 17 through March 25.   This will give groups more flexibility in scheduling and allow for alternate dates in case of bad weather.  Sign up now using the green button to the left or go to http://rockbridgeconservation.org/clean_up.php.


Sunday, February 11 - Hometown Habitat Screening, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Piedmont Virginia Community College’s Theater in the V. Earl Dickinson Building, 501 College Drive, Charlottesville.  Sponsored by Sierra Club.  Want to create a wildlife habitat right outside your door?  Learn how at a FREE screening of selections from Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman and featuring Doug Tallamy.  This event also includes a panel discussion by local experts: landscape architect Kennon Williams, Gem Bingol of Piedmont Environmental Council, and Devin Floyd of the Center for Urban Habitats plus exhibits by local environmental organizations.  Contact John Cruickshank at jcruickshank4@gmail.com for more information.

Saturday, February 24 – 14th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Germanna Community College, Culpeper.  Sponsored by the Virginia Tech’s Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program. Over 1,300 Virginia woodland owners have attended this annual conference.  A variety of break-out sessions are offered to appeal to both new and experienced owners, as well as owners of both small and large woodlots.  Visit the conference webpage to see what topics will be offered in 2018.  Register 
on-line or Register by mail.  Cost is $45/person or $80/couple.  Contact Adam Downing at adowning@Vt.edu or call 540-948-6881 for more information.

Friday, March 16 – 7th Annual Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium “A Gardener’s Palette”, 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Best Western Inn & Conference Center, 109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro.  Sponsored by the Waynesboro Parks and Recreation Department. Join us as we present “A Gardener's Palette”.  Dip your brush in a variety of topics offering something for everyone from garden hobbyist to experienced landscape architect. In the end, we'll have a canvas filled with colors and perspectives to consider and put in practice.  Proceeds from the event support our horticulture department's Bloom Program.  Regular Registration is $90 per person.  Early Registration (before January 15) is $80 per person; Late Registration (after February 26) is $100 per person.  For more information contact Parks and Recreation at 540-942-6735 or email events@ci.waynesboro.va.us.   To learn more about the conference go to

Wednesdays - Lexington Farmers Market, winter location, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Dunlap Auditorium.  Dunlap Auditorium is located in Murray Hall adjacent to Lexington Presbyterian Church and is best entered in the rear of the building off Randolph Street.  Parking is available at the Rockbridge County Courthouse parking garage and the parking lot behind the county administration building.  For more information contact Mitch Wapner at mitch@paradoxfarm.org.


Virginia Master Naturalists 2018 Training Registration Now Open: The Virginia Master Naturalist Alleghany Highlands chapter (which includes members of the former Rockbridge chapter) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Basic Training course. Classes will be hosted Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, Virginia from February 22nd through May 24th. Two Saturday field trips are also required. Additional information on the program is at www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/ (on the Chapter Tab select Alleghany Highlands) or from Christine Hodges at (540) 862-0369.

Southern Environmental Law Center’s video stories “In The Path”, SELC is launching a site that they hope will bring more attention to the fight to help stop the AC Pipeline.  Recently they have been documenting the profound human costs of building the ACP and sharing videos of people in the path of this pipeline. Today, with the launch of this video, their stories are presented in a storytelling narrative that SELC hopes will bring together all the issues and problems of this pipeline and put a human face on this threat.
            Each story has a pivotal moment of recognition that may well be familiar to you. For the Harrises, it was when Dominion told them they would be bulldozing just behind their kids swing set, despite the parents’ objections. For Hazel Palmer, it was when she realized Dominion could sue her for not letting them survey her property, but she couldn’t sue them for taking land she wasn’t interested in giving up.
SELC asks that everyone please view and share InThePath.org so that people can learn more about the Harrises, the Palmers, and other local families fighting to protect their lives and livelihoods from the ACP.
For more information contact Claudine Ebeid McElwain, Program Communications Manager, Southern Environmental Law Center at 434-977-4090 or go to www.SouthernEnvironment.org.

Recycling Containers Available through RACC – RACC and the City of Lexington recently received a Keep Virginia Beautiful grant of $1000 to buy 15 portable Clearstream containers designed for recycling trash at public events. The special program, called 30 Grants in 30 Days”, was designed to address issues related to litter prevention, recycling, waste reduction, beautification and education of the public. The grants this year were sponsored by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and MeadWestvaco. RACC will facilitate this loan program and track the quantity of recyclables collected. Call RACC at 463- 2330 to reserve containers for your event.

“Please note that events listed on this calendar are sponsored by a variety of organizations, and are provided as a service to members of RACC and the community.  Listing on this calendar does not imply connection with or endorsement by RACC.  If your organization has a conservation-related event that you would like to submit for inclusion on the calendar, please send the announcement by e-mail, formatted as the examples in this calendar, to: Barbara Walsh at racc@rockbridge.net.  Please also include in the announcement: the name of the sponsoring organization, contact person, and phone number and e-mail address for further information, along with the words “Calendar Request” in the subject line of the e-mail.”