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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.

ROCKBRIDGE AREA EVENTS

Friday, December 8 – Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. on the Cedar Creek Trail at Natural Bridge State Park.  Get into the holiday spirit, and enjoy an evening stroll under the Natural Bridge this December with our 2nd annual Luminary Nights. Cedar Creek Trail will be lined with luminaries and lit with festive colors.  Admission for the event is $2 per person and $5 per family. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center or the Contact Station.  On Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 16 the Lexington Carriage Company will offer carriage rides under the Natural Bridge. They will leave every 15 minutes starting at 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. with a limit of 6 people per ride. 
On Saturday, December 9, the park will host the Children's Choir of Central Virginia. They will perform under the Natural Bridge from 6:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and sing seasonal favorites.  For more information contact the Park at 540-291-1326 or NaturalBridge@dcr.virginia.gov.

Sunday, December 10 – Community Hike, meet at the big parking lot behind Hardee's in Lexington at 8:15 a.m. with a view to carpooling and leaving by 8:30 a.m.  Here are the hike details from Scott:
This hike starts north of Douthat on the Gilliam Run Trail going up and to the east to Beards Mountain Trail, then south into Douthat and along the eastern edge down to the southern end of the park ending on Brushy Hollow Trail. Good vistas east and west on the ridge 11 to 12 miles distance and a 7.5 mile shuttle.   We will be close to Jacks Tavern (and new brewery) in Clifton Forge for our end of the day food and refreshments!
Pleasedonot disseminate thisinformationwithout approvalfromthehikeorganizers. For more information please contact Natalie Shulkin atNatalie@RickAlfordTeam.com or 540-570-2000.

Tuesday, December 12 – “Nut Party” a talk on Foraging/Forest-based Agriculture, 7:00p.m. at the Lexington Makerspace (across from Brew Ridge Taps on Nelson Street).  West Virginia pear-farmer, Bill Whipple, will be coming to town (as part of his Nut Revival Tour) to give a talk about foraging/forest-based agriculture, specifically nut crops.  And how, as a community, we can utilize this nutritious native resource in innovative ways.  He is an engaging speaker and all attending will likely come away with new information and hopefully lots of inspiration.  Bill is working with various groups to include: environmental, food non-profits, secular, foodie (slow food), permaculture (transition/ agroforestry), artists/activists, etc. who are finding that this idea of open sourced local native nuts for food overlaps with just about anything.  For more information contact Kelly Kiyoko Morikawa at kellykiyoko@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 13 – Combined Lexington and Rockbridge Holiday Farmers Market, 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.

Thursday, December 14 – 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. This is a tentative date, contact the RACC office for further information: Barbara Walsh, Executive Director, at 463-2330 or  racc@rockbridge.net.

Saturday December 16 – Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. on the Cedar Creek Trail at Natural Bridge State Park.  Get into the holiday spirit, and enjoy an evening stroll under the Natural Bridge this December with our 2nd annual Luminary Nights. Cedar Creek Trail will be lined with luminaries and lit with festive colors.  Admission for the event is $2 per person and $5 per family. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center or the Contact Station.  On Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 16 the Lexington Carriage Company will offer carriage rides under the Natural Bridge. They will leave every 15 minutes starting at 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. with a limit of 6 people per ride.  .  For more information contact the Park at 540-291-1326 or NaturalBridge@dcr.virginia.gov.

Monday, December 18 – Addressing Climate Change Presentation Series, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.  Session #4 is “Mitigating Climate Change Through Recarbonization of Soil”.  This presentation will describe methods for and benefits of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and placing it back into the soil.  The concept of bio char as a method to re-carbonize the soil will be presented.  The last presentation in this series will be located at the Community Center of Lylburn Downing Middle School, 300 Diamond Street, Lexington.  Sponsored by the environment committee of 50 Ways Rockbridge.  Each session will last 90 minutes, including time for discussion after the presentations.   For more information contact Eli Fishpaw at belifishpaw@rockbridge.net.  

EVENTS BEYOND ROCKBRIDGE (BUT NOT TOO FAR):

Virginia State Water Control Board Meetings to Consider Additional Water Quality Certification Conditions:
Monday and Tuesday, December 11 and 12 – Meeting on Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), 9:30 a.m. at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond.
The State Water Control Board plans to hold two meetings to consider additional Section 401 water quality certification conditions on Erosion, Sedimentation and Storm Water Pollution for the proposed ACP and MVP.  Each meeting is scheduled to last for about two days.  On the first day of each meeting, those who made oral or written comments during the public comment period will have an opportunity to sign up to speak to the Board under the Board’s policy for public participation. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will present a summary of the public comments it received and will make its recommendations to the Board on the proposed additional conditions at each meeting.  For more information call 1-800-592-5482 or go to the sites listed below.
https://www.facebook.com/events/141298229939749/?ti=cl
https://www.facebook.com/events/322458638223062/?ti=cl

January 22-24 - 19th annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference, at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. This is Virginia’s premier gathering of organic farmers, gardeners and supporters.  There will be practical learning and insights from over 30 speakers, an exhibit hall packed with useful tools and services, delicious locally sourced meals, and the very best in networking – all at a luxurious and historic resort.  Visit www.vabf.org for more information on preconference workshops, conference sessions, exhibiting in the tradeshow, and online registration.  For more information contact coordinator@vabf.org or registrar@vabf.org.

ONGOING:
Wednesdays - Lexington Farmers Market, winter location, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 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.

Little Hat Creek Farm Bread & Vegetable CSA (community supported agriculture) - Eat like a farmer! Every Wednesday from June through October, get hand-picked ecologically-grown vegetables and a loaf of our wood-fired sourdough bread for your family. Lexington customers can pick up their share at the Wednesday Lexington Farmers Market. Sign up now at www.littlehatcreek.com/csaFor more information  call 434-277-9304 or email littlehatcreek@gmail.com.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND FYI:

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.

Rockbridge Area Master Gardener 2018 Training Registration Now Open:  For anyone interested in becoming part of RAMGA, the 2018 class will begin in January with graduation in June.  The course is available as a computer, self-paced study course accessed via a flash drive.  This new learning model lets participants complete most course work at home.  In addition to the self-paced course, students will participate in labs which are interactive learning experiences. 
As a public service to the Rockbridge area, master gardeners assist the Virginia Cooperative Extension agents in educating and informing the public.  Prior to fully qualifying, each student must complete 50 volunteer hours within a year of graduation.  The cost of the class is $135.  More information is available by calling the Extension Office at 463-4734 or go to www.mgclass.org.

Petition for Clean Water:  A student that I, Sam Stoner, have worked with through the Office of Sustainability at Mary Baldwin University has been working on an international peace and conflict resolution project to protect clean water in the Staunton area. Her name is Jessa and she is extremely committed to the environment and highly motivated to create change.
She has helped create a petition to be sent to Governor-elect Ralph Northam, asking to have the waters surrounding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline to be properly tested and certified. Please consider signing this petition and giving her the support for all of her hard work and dedication to bringing good to the community.
Again, here is the link to sign your name and feel free to pass this information on to anyone you think may be interested.  For more information contact Sam Stoner, Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Baldwin University at 540-887-7207.

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.

Take Action on Climate in Virginia Petition Drive - The Virginia Conservation Network (VCN), a coalition of conservation groups in Virginia, is seeking signatures for a petition to Governor McAuliffe to take the lead on climate change in Virginia.  According to VCN, “Last week, President Trump signed a broad sweeping Executive Order attempting to cancel the U.S. Climate Action Plan, dismantle the Clean Power Plan, and reverse significant policies on coal mining natural on public lands. These latest environmental attacks pose a significant threat to our public health and safety. Blocking the Clean Power Plan will cause 3,600 additional premature deaths, 90,000 more asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 more missed work and school days by 2030. Fortunately, Virginia has the authority to address climate on its own. Governor McAuliffe can start the process to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and protect communities across the Commonwealth. We can’t wait on Washington. Sign the petition at http://www.cleanpowerva.org/ to ask Governor McAuliffe to reduce carbon pollution by 30% by 2030.”

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.”