Rockfish Valley Foundation New Years News 2018



      The Natural History Center is currently closed for the winter. It will re-open April 1, 2018. Of course, our trails and parks remain open year-round and offer opportunities for birding, exercise, enjoying solitude in nature or a family fun day at the Children’s Nature Trail. The winter season is a perfect time to view the completed work of the VDOT restoration of the South Rockfish River on the RVF trail system, directly across from Bold Rock Cidery.       The Children’s Nature Trail provides an experiential learning environment for families to explore geology, waterways, plants and animals in a place where they can climb, balance, run free AND make mudpies.        Elements include a rock spiral, balance beam, seesaw, climbing structure, tunnel, pollinator garden, firepit, chalkboard and a mud kitchen. Informational kiosks enhance each element of the trail. Save the Date! The 10th annual Kite Festival will be Sunday, April 8th, 2018. Last year brought approximately 2,000 people and a spectacular array of kites. Food and drink vendors, kite-making for kids and educational displays make this a great day to spend with friends and family in the Rockfish Valley surrounded by gorgeous mountain views.       The Rockfish Valley Foundation gratefully welcomed the return of the Harris Mill wheel and mill stones from the Wintergreen Resort Fall 2017. The mill was operational until the late 1960s, at what is now the intersection of SR 151 and Glenthorne Loop, across the road from the Natural History Center. These artifacts are a significant part of our efforts to discover and preserve the local history of Nelson County and we are pursuing archaeology of the site.
Please make a tax-deductible donation to our annual fund drive! PayPal/credit card payments can be made at or by mail to PO Box 235  Nellysford VA, 22958
We also accept another type of donation called Amazon Smile. Contribute to RVF simply by shopping on Amazon Smile! For more details visit Amazon Smile.
        We depend on volunteers as museum docents and for special events and projects! Please contact via email “Volunteers” to
      RVF was founded in 2005. Since then it has grown to provide the Rockfish Valley Trail System, Spruce Creek Park and the Natural History Center. All that has been done by a volunteer board of trustees, the Agelasto family and nearly 100 volunteers. We are in transition to where there is a turnover of trustees and the Agelasto family will take a lesser role. Over the past 6 months we have sought grants to support the first year of a part time managing director. The final interviews take place January 6. We have several excellent candidates and we hope to hire someone within our budget. At the same time we have new committee chairs for our trails, Spruce Creek Park, Finance and the like. We have a major collaborative effort underway with Nelson Schools but lack co-chairs for our education/program committee. There is lots of opportunity for community members to become involved. 
      You may not know that the ACP crosses lands of RVF in two places. One has been determined by FERC to have negative impact on the South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District we worked between 2009 and 2016 to have recognized. The crossing is at our archaeology site which we call the Coleman Mills in the old Wintergreen Village. As a result Dominion will be required to do mitigation if the pipeline project comes through. They have filed a proposal which includes archaeology at the site and other things. We want to have exhibits on the historic district and on the pipeline project itself.  

      You may not know that Dominion must get a variance for each flood plain crossing from the Nelson County Board of Zoning Appeals. This will require public hearings and votes by the BZA. Our crossing is listed by FEMA as one of the most risky. Much effort will be undertaken to educate the members of the commission so that they will strongly deny the crossing. That would require a reroute of the pipeline at RT 151. Our information from Dominion and others is that there is no other place in the Rockfish Valley they can cross. That would mean either no pipeline or one outside of Nelson. Please support our efforts.  

      We are so fortunate to have Elise Lauterbach , a new trustee, to head our Spruce Creek Park committee. She is the one who made the Children’s Nature Trail happen. She has many volunteers but this is a major project and she needs more. Jessie Carter and Martin Bush are new co-chairs of the trails committee. On Jan 4th, 2017, a trails committee group met with a representative of the VA Dept. of Conservation and recreation to walk through a grant for a WIFI technology enabled environmental literacy project on the trails. We will be the first in the state with use of such technology and content. STAY TUNED!
A LOT IS COMING IN 2018. Please get in touch with us and help us make 2018 the most successful year yet for the Rockfish Valley Foundation!
Best Wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
The RVF Board of trustees
Betsy Rawls Agelasto Craig Cooper
Christopher Gensic
Dale Weigel
Elise Lauterbach
Jessie Carter
John Lloyd
John Zawatsky
Liz Sargent
Michael Lachance
Peter Agelasto III
Peter Agelasto IV
Rick Winter
Sharon Hudson

Rockfish Valley Foundation Opening Celebrations Press Release

For immediate release


Please join the Rockfish Valley Foundation on Sunday, September 3rd, 2017 from 1 pm to 4 pm to celebrate our new Children’s Nature Trail in Spruce Creek Park and our new exhibit at in the Natural History Center. Ribbon cuttings at 2 pm.
The new kid-friendly exhibit is called NATURALLY NELSON and focuses on water, rocks, plants and animals. We’ll have interpretative guides at interactive stations along the Children’s Nature Trail and also docents at stations inside the center at the Naturally Nelson exhibit. We will unveil our new park shed built by Nelson County High School Students, new perimeter fencing and gate at our Glenthorne Loop entrance and a Nelson County geology kiosk. LOTS MORE.
Refreshments include Kona shaved Ice (truck), Lucky Duck Kettle Korn and watermelon. There will be a water melon seed spitting contest, horse shoes, pulpwood throwing and a brand new “mud kitchen”. We have new swings and a 42 inch x 8 foot concrete “play” pipe. (the size of the proposed Dominion pipeline)
LOCATION: 1368 Rockfish Valley Highway , just north of Bold Rock Cider, in Nelson on RT 151. Entrance off Glenthorne Loop. Check the foundation website for more information or email

Contact Peter Agelasto (434) 361-1296

9th annual Kite festival (archive)

Schedule of Events


11:15 a.m. Unfurl The GIANT AMERICAN FLAG at 11:00 a.m. provided by WILL SMOOT – all the kids assemble and unfurl to the Star Spangled Banner.

11:00 a.m. KITE DEMONSTATIONS with DICK AND JACKIE MACIEL, WILL SMOOT and others. Professional kite flying till 3 pm. As wind permits. Sound: Jim Peterson again donating his sound system. Announcements as appropriate by Will Smoot, Peter Agelasto and others…

11:30 a.m. PARACHUTE RACES  with prizes.  Also “BOL” races run at other times of the day.

12:30 to 1:00 p.m. Dick and Jackie Maciel demonstrate and talk about their constructed kites with Will Smoot. Tye River elementary kite building competition winners announced.

12:45 p.m. Annual KIDS Festival Poster Photo. Gather at sound system stage.

KIDS NATURE TENT – OPEN ALL DAY with exhibits and things to do. Register for a T-SHIRT GIVE AWAY.


2:00 p.m. DUCK RACE. Sponsored by BOLD ROCK CIDER.  RENT a yellow duck for $5 from the BOLD ROCK booth until 1:45 p.m. (next to KIDS NATURE TENT).  Follow the ducks down the South Rockfish River.

Contributions go to the Rockfish Valley Foundation

KITE STORE:  Life’s a Breeze kite store from Richmond, VA.   Kites to buy;  $15  to $60


Blue Mountain Brewery food truck
Blue Ridge Pizza
TIKIZ shaved Ice: food, drinks and water available
Bold Rock nonalcoholic cider available at Duck rental tent

at the corner of Glenthorne Loop and Route 151.
See animal skat, pelts, skulls, and skins.
The Biodiversity exhibit is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday.
Children can become a Rockfish Ranger.  Sign up for prize drawings.
The Natural History Center is free and open to all.


Kim and Jimbo Cary ~ musicians
Brian Bense ~ magician
Mary Niday and family ~ face painting

Full Moons Nelson County 2017


Full Wolf Moon – Jan 12, 6:34 a.m.

This full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.


Full Snow Moon – Feb 10, 7:33 p.m.

Usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon.

  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse visible in Nellysford on Feb 10
  • March

    Full Worm Moon – Mar 12, 10:54 a.m.

    At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.


    Full Pink Moon – Apr 11, 2:08 a.m.

    This full Moon heralded the appearance of the grass pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.


    Full Flower Moon – May 10, 5:43 p.m.

    Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.

  • Super New Moon: May 25
  • June

    Full Strawberry Moon – June 9, 9:10 a.m.

    The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.

  • Micro Full Moon: Jun 9
  • Super New Moon: Jun 23
  • July

    Full Buck Moon – July 9, 12:07 a.m.

    Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.


    Full Sturgeon Moon – Aug 7, 2:11 p.m.

    Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.

  • Black Moon: Aug 21 (third New Moon in a season with four New Moons)
  • September

    Full Harvest Moon – Sept 6, 3:03 a.m

    The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.


    Full Hunter’s Moon – Oct 5, 2:40 p.m.

    This was the time to hunt in preparation for winter. This full Moon is also called the Travel Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.


    Full Beaver Moon – Nov 4, 12:23 a.m.

    For both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This full Moon was also called the Frost Moon.


    Full Cold Moon – Dec 3, 10:47 a.m.

    This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.

  • Super Full Moon: Dec 3
  • Micro New Moon: Dec 18
  • No Blue Moon in Nellysford in 2017 (third Full Moon in a season with four Full Moons)
  • Historic Garden Week Nelson County Tour includes Spruce Creek Park and Natural History Center!

    Sunday/Monday April 21 – 22, 10am to 4pm.

    In addition to the houses and gardens on the tour, there will be special tours of the new exhibit at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center in Nellysford, Virgina. Stop at Spruce Creek Park to picnic and enjoy the new exhibit called Rocks to Racing. Directions and other information will be provided those riding busses to the homes and gardens. The center will be open both Sunday and Monday, April 21 and 22, from 10 to 4. Spruce Creek Park has picnic tables so bring your picnic and enjoy lunch by the water.

    Rockfish Valley Foundation
    1378 Rockfish Valley Highway,
    Nellysford, VA 22958
    Email: info [@]
    Phone: 434 226 0446

    5th Annual Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Festival: April 14, 2013!

    11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
    Kite Demonstrations and Competitions!
    Free Kites and Assembly for FIRST 150 children!
    Bird and Stunt Kites Flown!
    Hundreds of Kites from $10 to $60 for sale by Life’s a Breeze!
    FOOD PREPARED ON SITE by The Blue Toad!

    Bold Rock Cider Field
    Route 627
    Glenthorne Loop next to ELK HILL Baptist Church.
    Behind Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center
    1368 Rockfish Valley Highway
    Nellysford VA 22958.

    New Exhibit at the Natural History Center! “Rocks to Racing” Opens April 6th, 2013!

    Rocks to Racing connects rocks, water and geology to Moonshine and NASCAR! The exhibit which comes from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Virginia ABC and the Bedford Museum makes the connection between water and rocks and the local geology to Moonshine and Nascar.

    Yes, there is a connection!

    The center does not charge an admission but donations are appreciated. The Rockfish Valley Foundation also offers walking trails along the Rockfish River with wonderful birding, Spruce Creek Park and the Natural History Center. Splendid views of the Blue Ridge and all within a mile or so of wineries, breweries, the cidery and restaurants. Spring is here and its time to check out the new geocache trail along the Rockfish River.

    The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is an affiliate of the Virginia
    Museum of Natural History located in Martinsville VA.

    The Virginia Museum of Natural History, VA ABC Board and Bedford Museum opens April 6 at 10 am; thereafter the center is open 10 am until 4 pm Saturday and Sunday and by special arrangements.

    2012 budget – Trustee adoped in Dec 2011

    2012 Budget Summary – rev. March 12, 2012
    Calendar Year Basis

    E X P E N S E S

    Operating expenses

    Utilities – RVF office: (pre Natural History Center ) $ 600
    Liability Insurance 165
    Septic – Bell’s Port-0-John 1200
    Communications Verizon: (pre Natural History Center ) $35/mo. 420
    Website maintenance: (does not include any development work) 300
    Equipment and maintenance (new vs replacement) 0
    Supplies 200
    Printing and copying for brochures and fliers 300
    Fund raising – Dec 2012 solicitation letter 500
    Publications 100
    Travel, meetings, ($200 reimbursable by others excluded) 0
    Dues and memberships VCN and CNE 200
    Annual meeting / state annual fees and registrations 100
    Special events: (subject to obtaining funding for each event) 0
    Trails Maintenance 1000

    Subtotal Operating Expenses $5,085

    Marketing expenses
    Rack card see VTC budget for NSL; also RVF rackcard 400
    Business cards 100
    2 Trifold brochures: trails and RVF also funds from VMNH budget 300
    Advertising: Nelson County Life at $95/mo. 1140
    Hats for resale 200

    Subtotal Marketing Expenses $2,140

    Current Project Expenses – Restricted Funds

    VA Tourism Corp
    Funding approved $5000
    Spent 3500
    Balance Left 1500 $1,500

    2012 Budget Summary- continued pg. 2

    Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF):
    Funding approved $1500
    Spent 821.64
    Balance Left $678.36 $678.36

    Geology Trail II: (unrestricted but allocated)
    Funds approved $2500
    Spent 0
    Balance Left $2500 $2,500

    S Rockfish Rural Historic District: (unrestrictred but allocated)
    Funds available $1500
    Spent 0
    Balance Left $1500 $1,500

    Subtotal Current Project Expenses -restricted funds $6,178.36

    TOTAL EXPENSES: $13,403.36


    Funds available: $8403.36

    Accounts Receivable: (VA Tourism Corp.) $5000.00

    TOTAL INCOME $13,403.35


    2012 Grant Funding Commitments received for Natural History Center Project :
    BamaWorks $5000
    Nelson County Community Fund (NCCF) $5000
    Charlottesville Area Community Fund (CACF) $5000
    Subtotal Grant Funding Commitments $15,000

    1. Annual Fund Raising – community fund raising solicitation has been initiated with a goal of raising $40,000. As of March 12th RVF has reached the $25,000 threshold necessary to proceed with the VMNH affiliation project and Natural History Center.

    2. Plans are underway to raise an additional $15,000 to be dedicated to supporting the 2013 Maintenance & Operations expenses (est. at $10,000) and a new Kids In Parks program (est. at $5000).

    3. RVF has adopted a policy of allocating the first $40 of every contribution to the establishment of a perpetual two year Maintenance & Operations expense reserve for the Natural History Center, Spruce Creek Park and Trails system (an approx.$15,000/yr on-going expense item).

    4. S Rockfish Historic District –RVF has a summer intern to help with this planned project and has received funding for a budget of $1,500 . However the project could need $13,000. Support is under discussion with a prospective donor who has expressed interest in the project. Liz Sargent, Trustee, is meeting with UVA professor Rich Collins in the UVA Graduate School of Architecture program to determine the possibility of a graduate student program for the fall. Work is proceeding within the budget limitations


    Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center becomes affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Natural History

    Partnership to include shared exhibits, collaborative programs

    MARTINSVILLE and NELLYSFORD, Va. (May 2, 2012) – The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is now an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), providing both institutions with a variety of partnership benefits and collaborative opportunities. The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is located in Nellysford, Nelson County, Virginia.

    As the state museum of natural history for Virginia, VMNH serves all citizens of the Commonwealth through exhibits, education programs, scientific research and collections, and partnerships with other institutions. The VMNH affiliation program further advances the museum’s statewide mission.

    “This agreement allows VMNH to reach audiences with our exhibits and programs much more efficiently,” said Dr. Joe B. Keiper, executive director of VMNH. “We can also bring to bear the state’s natural history collections to support the missions of both organizations.”

    Officials with both VMNH and the Rockfish Valley Foundation (RVF) recently formalized the affiliation agreement that provides the Rockfish Valley Foundation and its Natural History Center with a variety of affiliate benefits, including loans of exhibits, discounts on traveling exhibits, collaboration opportunities for education programs, and free or discounted programs and lectures by VMNH curators and other staff members.

    “We believe Nelson County is the right place for this program, with our abundant natural resources on the east side of the Blue Ridge and our rural cultural heritage,” said Peter Agelasto, president of the RVF.

    The mission of the Rockfish Valley Foundation is to preserve the natural, historical, ecological and agricultural resources of the Rockfish Valley. The organization accomplishes this through enriching the lives of the communities served by supporting the Rockfish Valley Loop Trail system, Spruce Creek Park and the lands associated with them. The RVF supports conservation, recreation, preservation and environmental education and promotes a rural tourism experience in the Rockfish Valley of Nelson County, Virginia.

    “The RVF also sponsors the Nelson Scenic Loop, the Natural History Center, and a number of community events including a kite festival, stargazing nights, and others,” Agelasto said. “We want the community to understand the natural world and be able to make their own decisions as to how they interrelate with natural resources.”

    The Rockfish Valley Foundation’s Natural History Center was formerly home to the Spruce Creek Gallery and is a state and national registered historic landmark. It was built in 1903 by the Harris Family as a general store, survived the flood resulting from Hurricane Camille in 1969 and served as the first sales center for the Wintergreen Resort. As the Natural History Center, it will host exhibits enhanced by cutting-edge technology, allowing Nelson County audiences to interact with VMNH curators and staff in Martinsville. The RVF hopes to host two exhibits per year at the Natural History Center.

    “VMNH programs at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center provide a perfect place for residents of central Virginia to participate in the exhibits of the museum, The Center will also provide a resource to teachers, parents, and young scientists,” said Ann Mallek, central virginia education coordinator at VMNH. “Another home base for our outreach programs, and another chance to recruit more teachers and participants, will be a boost to our success.”

    As part of the grand opening of the new RVF Natural History Center on June 16, 2012, VMNH staff will be installing elements of the recent “Living off the Land” exhibit at the center in the coming weeks. The “Living off the Land” exhibit was on display at VMNH from June 4, 2011 to February 25, 2012.

    The exhibit will include an array of taxidermied native wildlife, including black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, possum and others. Other displays will give young visitors the chance to experience animal pelts, insects, rocks, and other artifacts.

    “There will also be a dugout canoe set in front of the animals; it’s a great photo op to have your child’s picture taken in the canoe,” Agelasto said.

    The RVF was founded in 2005 and dedicated its first birding trail through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in September 2006. Since that time, the scope of the foundation and its support from the community have grown significantly. In May 2011, it established its headquarters at the Wintergreen Country Store, which will now also house the Natural History Center.

    “Nelson County is indeed fortunate to have the engagement of so many of its residents who care about our culture, arts, history and natural resources,” said Connie Brennan, central district member of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. “The establishment of the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is another jewel in our crown, and will contribute much to our community’s and our visitors’ appreciation of this precious and special part of Virginia.”

    The Virginia Museum of Natural History became a state agency in 1988, and opened a new state-of-the-art facility in 2007. The museum is recognized as one of the nation’s leading museums in its field, with award-winning permanent and temporary exhibits, active scientific research and collections programs in a variety of disciplines, and educational programs offered both at the museum and though outreach programs statewide. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction earned by fewer than 5% of museums in the United States.

    “This affiliation agreement provides numerous opportunities for collaboration by the two institutions,” said Dr. J. James Murray, a member of the VMNH Board of Trustees. “We look forward to working with staff and board members at the Rockfish Valley Foundation on a variety of future projects.”

    For more information about the Rockfish Valley Foundation, visit or For more information about the Virginia Museum of Natural History, visit


    About the Virginia Museum of Natural History
    The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville seeks to increase understanding of and appreciation for the natural history of the Commonwealth through education, research, collections, publications and exhibits. The museum – an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution – is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction earned by fewer than 10 percent of museums in the United States. The museum is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Virginia Association of Museums, Heritage Preservation, and is an agency of the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on Sundays, as well as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission through January 2 is $5 for adults; $4 for senior citizens and college students; $3 for children and youth 3-18; members and children under 3 receive free admission. For more information about membership or volunteer opportunities, please call 276-634-4141 or visit

    About the Rockfish Valley Foundation

    The mission of the Rockfish Valley Foundation is to work cooperatively with the Rockfish Valley community and others to demonstrate and promote agricultural and non-agricultural land uses and activities that conserve, protect and sustain the natural, cultural and historic resources of the Rockfish Valley for the enjoyment and enrichment of residents and visitors. The RVF seeks to preserve the natural, historical, ecological and agricultural resources of the Rockfish Valley. This is accomplished this through enriching the community by supporting the Rockfish Valley Loop Trail system, Spruce Creek Park and the lands associated with them, the Nelson Scenic Loop, and the Natural History Center. The mission furthers supports conservation, recreation, preservation and environmental education and promotes a rural tourism experience in the Rockfish Valley of Nelson County, Virginia. The Rockfish Valley Foundation aims to inspire a healthy lifestyle by offering hiking trails, campsites, programs and events. The lands serves as an outdoor laboratory for students, the community and visitors alike. The Rockfish Valley Foundation is a public foundation recognized under Internal Revenue Code section 501c3 and as such is permitted to receive donations. A copy of the 501(c)3 is available upon request. For more information please call 434-361-1296 or visit