RVF Fall 2015 Newsletter

Fall 2015 Newsletter
Perhaps this logo is unfamiliar to you. On June 16, 2012 we opened the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center in collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  That does not mean funding but rather access to exhibit materials.  Our animal mounts and exhibits on the Monarch Butterfly and Biodiversity all come from the museum in Martinsville.  We are very fortunate to have the professional installers from there to help when exhibits change.
It seems just yesterday that Chris Gensic (trustee and head of Charlottesville trails) and Peter Agelasto laid out the trails along the South Fork of the Rockfish River which were, in turn, recognized and dedicated by the VA Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries as part of the state trail network in September 2006. Recently we have learned that the sale of Wintergreen Winery and adjoining property should lead to an extension of the trails around to Beech Grove Road.   Each year has seen growth and 2015 has been no different. 
We surfaced the Children’s Nature Trail in Spruce Creek Park, completed improvements to parking areas under the VA Dept of Conservation and Recreation trails grant  and planned our last bit of trail in Spruce Creek Park.  We also rebuilt Spruce Creek bridge #2 , saw over 2000 people at the free April Kite Festival and hosted  hundreds of families at the museum. By our count over 1500 people visited it between April and December.  We are really excited about the future.  In 2016 our focus is to connect our resources with Nelson Schools and thereafter to  Albemarle schools as well as private schools and home school children.  We have $7500 in grants for this. We are blessed by community support.
Loading day at Nelson County High School shop September 3, 2015. Thanks to Ed McCann and his students the Rockfish Valley trails and Spruce Creek Park each has a new hexagonal picnic table made from #1 kiln dried treated pine.  Thanks Nelson!  One has been adopted to recognize Chase a beloved Springer Spaniel. Since the trails were first created in 2005, we have gotten 6 tables from the high school.  The 10 year old ones are in great shape. Please enjoy them at the Rockfish River trail and Spruce Creek Park.
Mary Niday at our Lockn booth Over 4 days, 16 volunteers had a good time and entertained the festival goers with scat and tracks games; keep tuned to learn the distribution by Lockn, Head Count, Qello to the 22 non profits on Participation Row from the auction proceeds of one autographed guitar and one autographed poster.  The donation means a lot. By the way if you don’t know Mary Niday you have missed the person who participated the most at Lockn.
Spruce Creek Bridge #2 
Thanks to Bill Walters and the gift of his expertise the small bridge over Spruce Creek outside the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is being rebuilt. Decking and hand rails are white oak. Posts are treated pine. Thanks to Blue Ridge Building Supply for their contribution and to Richard Morgan of Heart Pine for milling the white oak.  This is going to be some bridge. Should be finished by the time you get this newsletter.
Coleman mill photo – taken by Gene Hughes in the winter of 2014.
You are looking at the remains of the Goodwin Mill built about 1800 and later operated as one of two mills by Hawes Coleman of Wintergreen. The water was supplied from Spruce Creek; it ran thru a trace dug by hand by slave labor; from the mill race it ran into another trace that carried the water to the lower mill pond.  From there it went by gravity to what is now the Harris Mill at the intersection of Glenthorne Loop and Rt 151. The distance of this marvel of two ponds, two mills and 1 mile of mill traces is incredible.  The Dominon pipe line route goes thru it.

South Rockfish Rural historic overlay map by Mike Crabill

This Nelson map combines land grants from James II  and Governor Gooch (think Goochland). Enlarge the map and see a depiction of the historic district.  The South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District is now supported with $10,000 in state and county grant funds to complete the process of its recognition with the state and federal government.  We initiated this project in 2009. Way before that we began to understand our archeology site which is now understood to be the Wintergreen Village and the Coleman Mills.  A professional study of that is now high priority since the Dominion pipeline route may cross both resources!  Suddenly we are looking at the need to protect that and our trails.  Visits by archeologists, state representatives, Dominion and FERC have underscored the sites’ importance.  As I write this letter it appears that Dominion will be forced to study both and perhaps undertake years of work before the pipeline can be constructed through them.  We do not know what funding we will need for this. Nevertheless, this has been a great year.
Last but not least are twelve fun facts you should know about autumn: In Greek mythology, autumn was the time when Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. During this time, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was distraught and the ground grew sparse and cold. When Persephone returned in the springtime, plants and life bloomed anew because of Demeter’s happiness. Hence the seasons.  Check out this link for 11 more fun facts: http://www.richmond.com/life/celebrations/article_aa9e91de-402a-11e4-8c0f-001a4bcf6878.html
Keep Nelson Beautiful and come visit the trails and museum

Heads up – it is time for our Annual Fund Drive

As you know we only solicit one time a year for our operational expenses.  As a public non profit organization,  our budget is determined by our donations each year.  We receive no operational funds from any government. For those of you for whom we have a mailing address, our formal letter will come out in several weeks.  For those of you for whom we only have an email, this is our request.  We should also be able to email to you our community request letter later.  The budget covers our operations and programs and projects for which we do not seek grants. Please consider making a gift.  Not only to we need to reach our budget goal of $23,000 but we need additional funds to take projects off our wish list to fund.  You should appreciate that when we go to foundations for larger projects, it is important to show we have community support.  For that reason a small gift makes a difference. Thank you.  None of these funds will be used in our active opposition to the pipeline coming through our trails, archaeology site and South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District.

YES …… you may rely on my support for your 2015 fundraising campaign to support the RVF mission.  Please accept my tax deductible gift payable to the Rockfish Valley Foundation.

___ $50  ___ $100   ___ $250   ___ $500   ___ $1000   Other  $ ___________

Name:  _______________________________________________________

Address:    ____________________________________________________

Telephone:  ___________________________________________________

Email address:    _______________________________________________

Comments: ___________________________________________________

___  I wish to volunteer for docent at Natural History Center or for trail maintenance

Send checks to Rockfish Valley Foundation, P.O. Box 235, Nellysford, VA 22958

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