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)
  • RVF Winter 2017 Newsletter



    Enhancing the Quality of Life and Celebrating the People, Land and History of the Rockfish Valley


    RVF Newsletter – January 2017

    We are closed for the season after the Christmas holiday and will reopen April 2, 2017

    The museum at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is closed for the season except for special arrangements for groups. It reopens April 2, 2017. Please call ahead or look for an open sign. We have more than 40 volunteers who staff the museum. We are training new volunteers in February and March. Remember it has a great little gift shop and is always free and open to the public.

    Where We Are Headed in 2017 With Our Environmental Literacy Focus

    The Virginia State budget for 2017 eliminates the State’s Environmental Education Department and its Staff is already gone. At the same time there will be more state requirement that the schools include more environmental literacy in their programs. How do we help the teachers get to that point? How do we share the resources of Spruce Creek Park and the Natural History Center? We have a plan. We must complete funding our 2017 operating budget through our fund drive to do this. But here is where we have accomplished:

    • Funding from Nelson County Community Fund and SCHAENEMAN Foundation

    • Selection of Nelson school liaison to Rockfish Valley Foundation

    • RVF education committee now includes 12 people but we seek to add more members with experience in education.

    In addition we are the initiator in seeking a large multi year grant that would help create tool box support for the teachers not only in Nelson but in surrounding counties of Louisa, Fluvanna, Albemarle, Greene and the city of Charlottesville. A number of non profits are collaborating on this with goal to file for grants in spring 2017.

    Trail Development


    Jeff McGann completing ADA surface of Native Plant Walk

    Nelson Natural day will take place in May at Spruce Creek Park again with a collaboration of the Western Albemarle Environmental Academy. This supports the 4th grade at Rockfish Elementary. We have two programs on the calendar for the 5th graders at Rockfish Elementary. Arbor Day programs at both Tye River Elementary and Rockfish River Elementary are being considered if we find the capacity. We continue to seek interns for both projects and on a paid basis from the schools. Our connectivity with the Scouts has begun. We have two Eagle Scout projects under discussion.

    The recreational trail grant from The Dept  of Conservation and Recreation requires a 20% match. That is $6000.  We do not have that in our operation budget. It allows us to seek reimbursement of $30,000 and complete the 11 projects.
    Would you please consider a special gift to provide those matching funds!  Also, our fund drive is within $5000 of success and this eblast is the only request we are making  to seek donations for the budget and the matching funds. 
    So your foundation is taking its education mission seriously

    2017 Programs


    In 2017 we are outlining plans for a number of programs. Already approved is a program with Lincoln Brower on the Monarch Butterfly. We are so fortunate to have him in our community. The second is a party at another historic house in the district. The South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic District will soon receive recognition form Governor McAuliffe as a Virginia Treasure. Already there are those encouraging us to extend the district boundary just established. That takes a community conversation but we could pursue that. Let us know what you think. One boundary considered would be Reid’s Gap. Probably the most Interesting program on the drawing board is an extensive one on invasive plants. It will involve PRISM of the Blue Ridge, VA DCR and USDA. We are assembling volunteers for that now if you are interested. It will be late summer. The last program is one on geology. Our Nelsonite program was a great success and there is obvious interest to learn more about Rockfish Valley Geology.

    Save the date:
    Kite Festival, April 9,
    2017 from 11-3

    We have updated much on our two websites so when winter keeps you in and you want to learn more about the neighborhood, take a look: and

    Grants for Spruce Creek Park are being implemented.

    We have 11 small projects to improve the Children’s Nature Trail, the Native Plant Walk and the Wildflower Meadows. We always need additional funding and volunteers but the bones are coming together so well you should stop and take a walk. One of these should be completed each month and all finished by fall.

    Rockfish Valley Visitors and Information Center is open


    Christmas Card photo after 100’s of hours restoring the Natural History Center

    As many of you know, we have rack card holders with over 100 venues’ brochures, maps and general help on what to do and see in the Rockfish Valley and in Nelson County. Stop by and look all the exterior painting was done

    P.S.- the huge amount of scraping, repair, priming and painting to the front of the building was done at no cost to the Rockfish Valley Foundation. Check it out. It looks wonderful. And no foundation funds were used to fight the pipeline impact on Rockfish Valley Foundation resources.




    Contact Us:

    Office phone: (434) 226-0446
    History center phone: (434) 361-0271

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