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.
Rockbridge Area Events:
Saturday, March 25 through April 2- 23nd Annual Rockbridge Area Community Clean-up and week following. New this year is a week-long window of opportunity to complete clean-up projects from March 25 through April 2. This will give groups more flexibility in scheduling and allow for alternate dates in case of bad weather. As part of the clean-up, Rockbridge County has again joined RACC to host the 2nd Annual Litter Challenge during the annual Community Clean Up. Teams will take photos of their bags to document their haul of litter. The winning team will receive the Litter Cup, created by Mark Cline, and will hold the Cup until the next cleanup day. Documentation for the Challenge will be used for education on this issue.
The Clean Up is a volunteer citizen effort to pick up trash along roadsides and in other public areas to beautify our Rockbridge home and strengthen our sense of community by sharing in the work of this rewarding project. We are asking Adopt-a-Highway groups to work during this week to increase our community wide effort. Our previous 22-year-long, unbroken series of cleanups have been invaluable in the beautification of the area. Our pride in our Rockbridge Area is strengthened as a result of the wonderful community participation we have witnessed in prior years. In the years past we have had up to 600 volunteers who have collect over 6 tons of trash.
If you are interested in supporting this enriching community experience, please sign up here. Signup forms along with orange bags and safety vests will also be available at the Rockbridge Regional Library and its in-county branches, at the County Recycling Collection Centers and the Office of Community Development located in the Rockbridge County Administrative building, beginning in mid-March. Participants may choose the roads/locations around Rockbridge County that they wish to clean. Participants in the Clean Up can also choose alternate dates and times if needed.
If you know of any particular areas that should be targeted by the Clean Up this year, please notify Barbara Walsh at 463-2330 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or mention the area during online registration.
Saturday, March 25 – Downtown Beauty Blitz, 9:00 a.m. Main Street Lexington is looking for volunteers to help prepare for the arrival of spring by enhancing Lexington’s beauty and public spaces. Volunteers will be needed to help with refreshing planter boxes, planting flowers, sprucing up planted areas and spreading mulch with the guidance of Jennifer Hughes, City Arborist. Bring your rake, shovel, gloves and good spirits! To volunteer please contact Rebecca Logan at 261-4218 or Main Street Lexington at 319-4181. Rain Date is April 8. Check the Main Street Lexington Facebook page by 8:00 a.m. for inclement weather update.
Saturday, March 25 – Chessie Trail Walks, 10:00 a.m. to noon. Join Friends of the Chessie Trail (FOCT) for a year-long series of walks on the trail! Starting in March, FOCT member Vicki Sessions will lead the first walk and explore the section of the trail from the sign at Mill Creek down to the final wildflower sign. This walk will be an introduction to "sensing" the Chessie. We'll look at the current condition of the following areas: the cliffs and sink hole near the beginning of this part of the trail, water and water levels, emerging vegetation, and bird activity.
This part of the trail will be featured every fourth Saturday through June 24 for the first part of the walk series: Saturday, April 22, 10:00 a.m. – noon. The 2nd walk will be in the midst of spring wildflower season! We'll examine the changes that these flowers bring to this section.
Saturday, May 27, 10:00 a.m. – noon. For the 3rd walk we'll focus on the wonderful variety of trees.
Saturday, June 24, time TBA. We are planning to do our 4th walk during the evening to enjoy the trail in a different light!
Bring along a pocket notepad and pencil for field notes. Cameras and binoculars welcome! There is no drinking water available, so you may want to bring water along. Also, please note that there are no bathrooms and no benches or other easy places to sit along this section. All ages and ability levels are welcome!! Young children are invited to come along with their parents. Dogs on leashes are also welcome. This section of the trail is fairly smooth and stroller- and wheelchair-accessible. For more information email email@example.com. To learn more about FOCT go to www.friendsofthechessietrail.org.
Saturday, March 25 – Native Wildflower Walk, gather at 9:30 a.m. to start walking by 10:00 a.m. The walk will be on the W&L/VMI cross-country trails. Meet at West Denny Circle and park in the lot near the W&L indoor tennis courts. Sponsored by the local chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society and lead by Peggy Dyson-Cobb, the walk will last for approximately 2 hours. Please dress for the weather that day (we’ll go unless it is pouring rain) and bring water and snack for yourself. Folks are welcome to return to their cars whenever they need to. For more information contact Peggy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other scheduled spring wildflower walks:
Native Wildflower Walk April 8 - Chessie Trail, meet at the Lexington end. To reach the trail from Lexington, take Rt. 11 north to Old Buena Vista Road (just after the Maury River Bridge), turn right and go 1/2 mile. Parking is along the road on both sides.
Native Wildflower Walk April 22 - Brushy Hills. To reach Brushy Hills from Lexington, drive to the end of Ross Road (2.3 miles from city limits) and turn right on Union Run Road. Continue 0.6 miles to the Brushy Hills Trails sign and Town Spring on the right, with parking lot opposite.
Native Wildflower Walk May 6 - W&L/VMI cross-country trails. West Denny Circle, which is west of Lexington. Park at the lot near the indoor tennis courts.
*Monday, March 27 -- RACC Watershed Committee Meeting, 5:00 p.m. at 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). Anyone interested in Rockbridge County water issues is encouraged to attend. For more information contact Daphne Raz at email@example.com 463-7156 or Sandra Stuart at 463-5663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, March 27 – Braiding the Way Community Forum, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room (Old Courthouse), 2 South Main, Lexington. Do you love to walk, hike, bike, paddle or fish? We do too! Come learn how you can provide input and get involved with outdoor recreation projects in Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County. The public is invited to learn more about Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in the Rockbridge Area by attending this Community Forum. Braiding the Way is a coordinated, comprehensive and regional approach to outdoor recreation planning, programming and promotion in the Rockbridge area. For more information go to www.RockbridgeOutdoors.com/BraidTheWay or call 463-3777.
Wednesday, March 29 – Calfpasture Planning Effort/Lake Management Working Group Meeting, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. The Boy Scouts will host this third and final lake management working group meeting at the Goshen Scout Reservation’s Gray’s Lodge (340 Millard Burke Memorial Hwy, Goshen, VA). During the meeting we will review a final scenario for implementation of a series of lake management practices, associated costs and an implementation timeline. For more information contact Nesha McRae at 540-574-7850 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, March 29 – Community Led Information Session “Won’t Pipe Down”, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room, 204 West Washington Street, Lexington. A community led information session about the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Join the sponsors for an expert panel, a film screening and letter writing. For more information contact the RACC office at
463-2330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, April 1 – Kid’s Only Fishing Day, 9:00 a.m. – noon at Natural Bridge State Park. Kids, gather some fishing gear and an adult guardian for some outdoor fishing fun along the Cedar Creek Trail. Try your hand at catching some newly released rainbow trout from Cedar Creek. Register at the Cascade Falls picnic area at the start of Cedar Creek Trail. Fishing is for children only with free admission to those 15 and under. Regular $8 admission fee applies for adults and tickets will be available in the Visitor’s Center. Age divisions 5-7, 8-10, and 11-15 will be directed to specific areas along the stocked stream. Creel limit is six fish. For more information call 540-291-1330.
Saturday, April 1 – Shredding Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon at the Rockbridge County High School parking lot. Sponsored by The Main Street Group. Go green and protect your identity by clearing out clutter! Free use of an industrial shredding truck! Volunteers will help carry items from your vehicle. Limit 5 containers per household or small business. Items may have paper clips or staples. Event takes place rain or shine! For more information email Cathy Carlock at email@example.com or Emily Reel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, April 1 – Solar Homes Tour, 1:00 p.m. meet in the parking lot at Tractor Supply. The tour leaders will head out from there and visit three near-by homes that have installed solar panels. Two of the locations have roof mounted systems and one is a ground mount. Anyone interested in learning more about solar will be able to see the panels and the inverter and talk to the owners about their experiences. The tour should take a couple of hours. For more information contact Bob Biersack at email@example.com or 463-1942.
Sunday, April 2 – Program: The Heyday of Natural Bridge Station, 2:30 p.m. at Natural Bridge Elementary School in Natural Bridge Station. Sponsored by the Rockbridge Historical Society (RHS). RHS President Stephen D. Beck will take us back to The Heyday of Natural Bridge Station, illustrating the lively industrial, commercial, and familial networks of southern Rockbridge, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The program will feature a slideshow presentation, illuminating the vitality of Natural Bridge Station in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including some of its neighboring communities, and the many families in the southern part of Rockbridge who would build its foundations over the years. Natural Bridge Station was fundamentally shaped by the James River, the Kanawha Canal, and the coming of two railroads, along with other significant investments and industrial initiatives in the mid to late 19th century that would spur development in this vital corridor for the County. If you’re charmed by the touch of that era, and that type of a small crossroads town, come explore “The Heyday of Natural Bridge Station,” the Rockbridge Historical Society’s first quarterly program of 2017: free, with a reception to follow. For more information go to www.RockbridgeHistoricalSociety.org or call 464-1058.
Tuesday-Thursday, April 4-6 – Environment Virginia Symposium: Virginia's Environment, Shaping a Sustainable Future at Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA. Virginia's Premier Annual Environmental Conference since 1990. Governor Terry McAuliffe will speak on Wednesday, April 5 at 8:45 a.m. in the Gillis Theater at Marshall Hall. Don’t miss his address as we discuss Shaping a Sustainable Future. As many as 700 environmental professionals attend this conference from all over the State and from every sector of the environmental industry. Both experienced professionals and newcomers to the symposium attend and enjoy the mutual exchange of ideas, best practices and knowledge. For more information please go to: http://www.vmi.edu/about/center-for-leadership-and-ethics/conferences/environment-va-symposium/ or contact Derek Pinkham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Thursday, April 6 – RACC Board Meeting, 4:30 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). Members and guests always welcome. For further information, contact Barbara Walsh, Executive Director, at 463-2330 or email@example.com.
Saturday, April 15 – Chessie Trail Spring Half-marathon and 5K Run, 6:00 a.m. to noon. The Friends of the Chessie Trail (FOCT) are holding their second half-marathon and 5K race event! The group was very pleased with the success of their first race event and are excited to be holding this second one in the spring. Walkers are welcome. All proceeds are for trail improvements. To register to run, visit http://www.2017chessietrailspringhalf-marathon5k.com. For more information or If you are interested in volunteering, contact FOCT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events Beyond Rockbridge:
Friday, March 24 - Shenandoah Valley Plant Symposium 2017, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Best Western Inn and Conference Center, 109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro, VA. Presented by Waynesboro Parks and Recreation. Join us as we present A Gardener's Palette. We'll dip your brush in a variety of topics: permaculture, food, art, natives, and new selections. The event offers something for everyone from novice home gardener to experienced horticulturist. In the end, we'll have a canvas filled with colors and perspectives to consider and put in practice. For more information click on this sight: Get more information. Or contact Stephanie Seltzer at 540-942-6735 or email@example.com.
Saturday, March 25 – Fabric From Photos: The Forest Project, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Asbury Methodist Church, 205 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA. Join the Virginia Quilt Museum for this special two-part companion event. In the morning, Dawn Flores will present the story of how she and other fabric artists collaborated to document a threatened urban forest before it was clear-cut for development. Learn how Dawn turned her forest photos into fabric designs and quilts. In the afternoon, join curator Jill Jensen for a Gallery Walk through her unique nature-inspired exhibit of printmaking and photography-influenced quilt art. $15 for members/$20 for non-members with $10 optional boxed lunch (please place order by March 23). Purchase tickets online or in-person by March 24. To register visit www.vaquiltmuseum.org/events. For more information email Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, March 28 – Pipeline Fighters (film), 7:15 PM, FREE, The Grandin Theater, 1310 Grandin Road, Roanoke, VA 24015. This is a FREE event sponsored by Preserve Giles County, Preserve Roanoke County and Preserve Franklin County. There will be a Q & A session afterwards with the sponsors and the filmmaker.
Saturday, April 8 - 2017 Honeybee Symposium, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Abingdon, VA. Sponsored by the Highlands Beekeepers Association. Well known bee experts Jerry Hayes, Sam Comfort, and Jerome Blankenship will be presenting their ideas on beekeeping stewardship and how they have kept bee losses to a minimum. Cost of the 2017 Honeybee Symposium is $40 which includes a box lunch, certificate of completion, and membership in the Highlands Beekeeper Association. Contact the Washington County Virginia Extension Service at 276-676-6309 to register or www.highlandsbeekeepers.com. For more information, please contact Philip Ernst, Chairperson, 2017 Honeybee Symposium at email@example.com.
Pipeline Fighters voice their opposition to interstate pipelines in the Virginias for the transport of fracked gas to export terminals, and abroad. Natural gas procured through unconventional hydraulic fracturing, has been the gold rush of the last decade. Pipelines are needed to move this massive glut of natural gas. Through the voices of the Appalachian people we explore in microcosm the global issue of environmental predation, the legacy of the energy industry, their current production goals to DOUBLE the development of natural FRACKED gas coming out of the Appalachian Basin, and the great relevance this has on the geo political scene and climate change. For more information please contact the theater at 540-345-6377 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the organizers at http://preservefranklin.org/, https://www.facebook.com/PreserveGilesCounty/, and http://preserveroanoke.org/.
Saturday, April 22 – The March for Science in Washington DC. If you would like to participate in the upcoming March for Science, please sign up via the link below. The March is not just for scientists but for people who support, enjoy or appreciate science, or want to see scientific methods and inquiry back in our government discourse! The bus will leave from the W&L parking deck at 5:00 a.m. We hope to park at George Washington University and walk to the site of the march. The bus will leave DC for Lexington at 5:00 p.m. The cost is $71 plus an optional tip for the bus driver. If you want to come along please click on the link below. For more information on the march go to https://www.marchforscience.com/ Or contact Lisa Greer at email@example.com.
March For Science Round Trip Bus Ride from Lexington to Washington D.C.
April 23 – 25 – I-81 Corridor Coalition Annual Meeting, at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg, WV. The I-81 Corridor Coalition (I-81CC) is a consortium of stakeholders dedicated to improving the safety, continuity, and efficiency of commercial and personal travel along the I-81 corridor that extends from Tennessee to the Canadian border in New York. This partnership is comprised of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan and Regional Planning Organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private entities from the six corridor states. The primary focus of the I-81CC is to study and implement innovative solutions to address challenges specific to travel on a freight-intensive highway serving a wide variety of geopolitical regions and users. Current areas of focus include incident management, development planning, and truck parking. For more information contact Carolyn Blanton at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.i-81coalition.org.
April 25 – 27 – Virginia Land Conservation and Greenways Conference, at the Double Tree by Hilton, 50 Kingsmill Road, Williamsburg. Virginia’s United Land Trusts (VaULT) is excited to announce it will be sponsoring its annual conference with the Statewide Trails Advisory Committee. The three-day conference includes field trips, educational sessions, dinner at the winery, and opportunities to network with your colleagues. Topics will include everything from Communicating the Value of Land Conservation for Clean Water to Land Trust Standards and Practices to the Economic and Public Benefits of Trails. Field trips include Bike Ride on the Capital Trail; Walk and Talk on the Greensprings Trail; and Canoe Trip on Taskinas Creek at York River State Park. For more information about field trips, hotel registration, and other details go to http://www.vaunitedlandtrusts.org/ or email Ellen Shepard at email@example.com
Saturday, April 29 – The Climate March in Washington DC. There will be a bus going to the march from Lexington. Anyone interested in the details and to sign up should contact Bridget Kelley-Dearing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invasive Plants Project at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute:
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is looking for landowners willing to allow for non-intrusive surveys to be conducted on their land. These surveys are part of a study on invasive species in forests. Invasive species cause extensive damage to forest systems and are difficult to manage once established. If we can identify why invasives establish more readily in some forest patches and not others, we may be able to predict where they are likely to establish next or where they might cause the most damage. If successful, this knowledge would allow land managers to direct the use of their limited resources at the places most in need.
We are focusing our project on forested habitat within 15 counties in Northwestern VA. Conveniently, the PRISM area fits completely within this. In these forested areas, we are recording the presence and absence of a suite of 13 invasive plant species (Ailanthus (tree-of-heaven), Garlic mustard, Porcelainberry, Japanese Barberry, Oriental bittersweet, Autumn olive, Chinese privet, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass, Wavy leaf basket grass, Mile-a-minute vine, Kudzu, Multiflora rose). We have been successful in finding existing occurrence data and recording our own within the largest forested areas, e.g. Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest, but really need more representation from smaller forested areas in the Valley and Piedmont areas.
Landowners in the region can contribute to our efforts if they have forested land in their property that either completely includes or shares a forested path of a minimum of 14.5 acres in size. In other words, so long as there is enough of the forest patch for us to sample within a volunteer's property, we can successfully sample for our target species. This is because our surveys are only conducted between 60-75 meters into any given forest patch. We need forested patches of varying size that include AND do not include invasive species. Presences and absences are equally valuable to our research.
Our surveys take 1-2 hours per site and are non-intrusive. We only collect data, so, it's like we were never there. Aside from recognizing the contribution of landowners, and if they so desire, keeping them in our network for potential future surveys, we do not save any personal data. And, the only information that is distributed is the ecologic information we collect. Surveys are conducted between May and September. At this time, and unless a volunteer would like to participate in other field surveys we have, we only sample a site once.
We are particularly interested in conducting surveys in Augusta, Albemarle, Orange, Culpeper, and the very northern portion of Frederick County. But, really, any land owners wishing to participate, with forested property of minimum size, within the Valley and Piedmont, are encouraged to contact us.
If interested, please contact Dr. Lacher at LacherI@si.edu. She will place the volunteers in contact with our Invasive species field coordinator for this year.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline - Action Needed to Support our National Forests
We need your help to protect one of the wildest, most intact forests in the East. Dominion’s proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would cross 21 miles of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. Ask the Forest Service to reject Dominion’s efforts to shortcut the process for pipeline approval and Forest Plan amendment.
Before the ACP can be built across the national forests, the US Forest Service must (1) issue Special Use Permits and (2) amend forest management plans. To make these decisions, the Forest Service must review the impacts of the project according to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and its own procedures.
On December 30, 2016 FERC published an incomplete and inaccurate Draft Environmental Impact Statement that fails to address many Forest Service and public concerns. On December 13, 2016 the Forest Service wrote to FERC describing its own procedural requirements for reviewing the ACP application, including a timeline that is longer than FERC’s schedule for project permitting. The Forest Service stated that, prior to making decisions on the project, all requested and needed data and plans must have been submitted and disclosed to the public.
It is critical that the Forest Service stay committed to the process and professional standards it upholds as stewards of our public lands. Dominion has repeatedly requested “expedited” review of this complex project which has so much potential to negatively impact both public and private lands.
We are asking you to voice your support for the U. S. Forest Service’s commitment to its requirements for a careful, thorough review of the pipeline application.
Send statements of support to Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell, email@example.com and Regional Foresters, Kathleen Atkinson, firstname.lastname@example.org and Tony Tooke, email@example.com.
Copies should also be submitted to FERC (to be included in the administrative record). Submissions can be made through http://www.ferc.gov . The docket number is CP15-554. Click on Documents and Filings
and use the eComment feature. Or send by mail to: Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary, FERC, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in the Rockbridge Area Survey. Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in Rockbridge invites you to participate in an online survey. The survey will help us increase opportunities for outdoor recreation activities in our area. Please include your email address for an opportunity to win prizes! The survey will remain open for participation until July 31, 2017. To participate, use the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/outdoorrecreationrockbridge.
The Economic Impact of Bicycling in the Central Shenandoah Valley. Bicycling tourism in the Central Shenandoah Valley region is estimated to have generated $8.6 million in sales activity in 2015. The total economic impact of bicycling tourism, including multiplier effects, is estimated to have been $13.6 million that supported 184 jobs in the region in 2015. For the full economic impact analysis click on http://www.cspdc.org/documents/BikeEIA_Rev1_Sept2016.pdf.
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.
Help Make the Cardinal a Daily Train - Our National Network Is Only as Strong as its Weakest Link - The Cardinal Rail Service connects 32 stations across 11 states, but it only runs three days a week. It means only three days of ticket revenue for Amtrak. It means only three days of connectivity for passengers, and four days of inconvenience and confusion. Amtrak estimates that daily service would double ridership along the line, and increase the revenue per passenger by a third. The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) is coordinating a campaign of thousands of grassroots activists in communities all along the train's route to try to make this happen. It's good for passengers, it's good for communities, and it's good for business. Add your name to the list at http://cqrcengage.com/narp/app/sign-petition?0&engagementId=248793Earlier this summer, NARP launched a campaign to secure a daily Amtrak Cardinal Service for communities such as ours that benefit from this service. Locally the Cardinal connects the Rockbridge area to Washington and NY via Staunton and Charlottesville.
Last week, overflow crowds of state Department of Transportation representatives, federal officials, advocates and other partners gathered in Cincinnati to talk about a Daily Cardinal. At this meeting, NARP President & CEO Jim Mathews delivered luncheon remarks, highlighting NARP's grassroots efforts. For more information contact NARP, 505 Capitol Court NE Suite 300, Washington DC 2002 or 202-408-8362 or go their website at www.narprail.org .
Wednesdays - Lexington Farmers Market, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. winter farmers market 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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 email@example.com. 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.”