RVF Winter 2016 Newsletter



Email: info@rockfishvalley.org 
Office phone: (434) 226-0446 
History center phone: (434) 361-2071 



RVF Newsletter




RVF has again been blessed with the assistance of interns.  You will recall the good work that Evan Spears did in 2013-2014.  Now I want to introduce you to Stephen Tuso and Zachary Barnes. They are working on very different but important projects.  Here are comments in their own words:

Stephen Tuso

Websites, graphics, content creation, internet technology help

“Recently I have been working on the RVF and Nelson Scenic Loop (NSL) websites. I gave the NSL site a new look, and I am still working on reorganizing it to be more user friendly. The site will give viewers a clearer idea of what the loop is and how to get to it. It will also feature a greater emphasis on photos; I have added a slideshow to the homepage and will be adding more photos elsewhere on the site. On the RVF site we have primarily been updating and reorganizing its content, as some of it was years out of date. The RVF site has also received some smaller design changes. Apart from the websites, my work includes a flyer for the NSL and a map of the RVF trails.”


“I graduated from Nelson County High School in 2015, and am taking a gap year to travel and further explore mobile app development before going to college. I will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall of 2016, most likely for computer science. I enjoy programming, photography/graphic design, and playing sports and musical instruments. I created the Nelson County Public Schools app for Android and iOS, and have additionally published one Android app of my own to Google Play.”


It should be noted that our Nelson Scenic Loop site has had no work since it went live in 2010.  We are blessed with volunteers who come in with fresh ideas and a willingness to help. One such is Laura Burrows; not only did she focus us on the need for a brochure for the Nelson Scenic Loop but improvement in the website; she also introduced us to a funding source.  Stephen has been working under that grant and the results are amazing.  Stay tuned.

Zach Barnes

Spruce Creek Park Native Plant walk

“The new walking trail along the banks of Spruce Creek will be a short, colorful stroll that will be enjoyable for all manner of folk. The trail is a total of 440 feet in length, and will ultimately be divided into 50 foot sections to be adopted and landscaped by members of the community with strong emphasis on both native plant life and integration of new growth into the existing habitat beside the creek. At the time of this publication, at least three sections of the trail have been adopted for replanting in the Spring. The necessary work to turn an overgrown field-edge into a beautiful scenic walk involve the removal of grass and topsoil to be replaced with layers of number 3 stone (for proper drainage) and gravel dust (the actual walking surface), the mowing and clearing of undesirable brush and vines, and the placement of benches and informative signs in the final stages of the trail’s construction.”
“I am currently a senior at Nelson County High, and plan to attend VT’s college of engineering in the Fall. I have been an active member of the high school chapter of the Future Farmers of America for five years, and have developed a great interest in the environment as a result.”
It should be noted that the Native Plant Walk ties into the children’s Nature Trail and the larger DGIF birding trail and the new Butterfly Trail which runs thru the archaeology site of Old Wintergreen Village and the Coleman Mills. Zach came to us for a project.  It was about the same time we learned that our participation in LOCKN 2015 would result in RVF receiving a large gift.  It turned out to be around $2500. We have determined to undertake the last link of trails in Spruce Creek Park and applied that donation to getting the Native Plant walk underway.  Zach has really accomplished a lot.  Next spring we will look for funding and volunteers to take it to the next level.

South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District project has just begun the home stretch!  November 30th we learned that Mary Ruffin Hanbury and her firm have been awarded the contract to complete the district work.  We will attend a meeting December 17th to see what RVF can do to help but it appears this is the timeline:
According to our contract we will have the additional survey completed by the end of January, a draft nomination by the end of February, revisions by April 1, a final nomination by the beginning of May and it should be on the June 16 State Review Board agenda.
We received this communication from Mary Ruffin:
We are delighted to return to the Rockfish Valley.  Our initial survey efforts documented a variety of resources that tell the story of this unique place and we look forward to using those results with additional research to prepare the National Register nomination.  The nomination will document the district’s significance and integrity and articulate the character and the importance of the South Rockfish Valley. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our relationship with this special place and to use our skills and experience to bring it the additional recognition it deserves.

Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline news and resources:  The pipeline has been in the news for sure.  There are two things we wish to share with you.  One is a map and one is a newspaper article. 

Cultural significance inventory sought for proposed pipeline routes Nov 23 by Rachael Smith Charlottesville Daily Progress

View larger map

Tuesday, December 1 was national Giving Tuesday.  Here is a fund drive update for RVF.  Our goal is $30,000 for the fund drive.  It will end February 29, 2016.  It’s ahead of last year but we are a long way from goal.  Currently we have received nearly $20,000 to support the budget in 2016. .The one area we are behind in is the number of donors.  Our goal is 200 donors.  We have to date 125 donors.  That’s a short way of asking each of you to consider a gift no matter how small.  You can even do it by paypal on the RVF website. When we seek a grant for a project, the question is asked:   how much support do you have from the community?  Is it growing?  We are able to say the visitation to the trails continues to grow and is likely above 10,000 per year.  The visitation at the museum grows and we may reach 2000 in 2015 an increase of almost 1/3 from 2014.  And the kite festival has grown from 250 its first year to over 2000 in 2015!  BUT our donor base has not kept pace.  Please help change that.

RVF store – we have a new supply of playing cards and laminated nature guides. We have some stuffed animals as well as a few Rockfish Valley hats.  We have only 2 of Marshall Faintich’s Birds of wintergreen left.  His printing is nearly sold out!  We have lots of giveaways as stocking stuffers too so stop by Saturday or Sunday between now and year end from 10 – 4.

Playing cards

Nature guides

Stuffed animals

The museum will close December 31 and reopen April 6.  The kite festival is April 10 from 11-3.  In the meantime please enjoy the many trails.  Don’t forget we also have 9 picnic tables spread around and a wifi hot spot outside the Natural History Center.  With luck when fiber optic cable is completed down RT 151 we will have even better Wifi hot spot.

The Rockfish Valley foundation is affiliated with The Virginia Museum of Natural History.   This began in June 2012 when the Rockfish Valley Foundation opened its natural history center. VMNH is the state’s natural history museum located in Martinsville, Virginia founded in 1984. The museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, and has more than 22 million items. This includes the first intact stromatolite head ever found in Virginia, which is one of the largest complete ‘heads’ in the world, at over 5 feet in diameter and weighing over 2 tons.  RVF has borrowed materials including the biodiversity panels, the monarch butterfly panels and most of the taxidermy from VMNH.  Our community is very fortunate to have this relationship. If you have not travelled to the museum it is highly recommended.  Look at the website: http://www.vmnh.net/.  There are new exhibits opening.

Ice Age exhibit: View on VMNH website

Dino Day Festival: View on VMNH website

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