The last year has been an eventful time for the Rockfish Valley Foundation. I thought what I would do is prepare a summary and send it out before the board meeting. It’s organized with some of the highlights of the past 12 months, a calendar of sorts followed by future plans:

  • 1. Biggest success of 2007 – we were the initiating partner in creation of Central Blue Ridge Master Naturalist Chapter. (Both Betsy and I graduated in the first class of 20 people. It is already a success. It would not happen without the efforts of Michael Lachance and Charlotte Rae. Charlotte has agreed to become something of the organizational leader for the foundation contributing a few hours each week. More about that later.
  • 2. Biggest surprise – it is a tie: receipt of two significant individual and unsolicited gifts which are being used for trail head development and birding trail development and the chairman being asked to serve on the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation Board.
  • 3. Biggest disappointment: grant rejection by VA Department of Conservation and recreation. Propose to reapply and we may be in a far better position.
  • 4. Biggest challenge – organizing and implementing invasive plant project to begin this spring. More than ½ dozen volunteers from Master Naturalist program. All have taken a workshop. VDOT has a commitment but no plan. They will adopt our plan if we have one. Resources include Virginia DCR, DEQ as well as VDOT, Ruth Douglas and others from Ivy Creek, books, pamphlets etc. We need a plan.
  • 5. Biggest investment: VDOT completion of river work – field remediation from equipment compaction and stream edge planting. Also Nelson county Service Authority restoration of 40 acre pasture – you will see winter wheat growing. Spreading of biosolids has been terminated. Field requires extensive work over 12 moths to restore and balance the field to acceptable level of hay production.
  • 6. Most exciting current project: Update of map and master planning opportunity. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission employee, Cory Anderson, is creating a new map and has also been retained on a piece work basis by RVF. He and Charlotte will be participating in the visit by McKee Carson landscape planners from Charlottesville. If that goes well I shall ask them to make a presentation to the board. Goal: successful grant from VA DCR to be filed in January 2009 and to other grant makers in the region for such things as permanent Farmer’s Market Home and community pavilion. Budget undetermined.

Current Calendar of projects and events:

  1. Completion of funded grant projects and reporting, 2007 tax reporting and various government filings; annual budget and treasures report.
  2. Earl Swift conversation and book signing: Partnership with Nelson County Historical society, Oakland Museum. March 28 – Nelson Center; March 29 at 10 AM ELK HILL.
  3. ELK HILL Cemetery project – VA Foundation for the Humanities grant application for $2500 in discretionary funds to cover cost of Sweet Briar College research project starting April 3.
  4. Stream and highway clean up… Waterways and roads are adopted. Volunteers are working. Spring action item.
  5. DEQ Rockfish monitoring workshop…late spring. We applied to be a studied site for 2008 and were successful. To partner with master gardeners and CBR Master Naturalist Chapter. Spring action item.
  6. Starry Nights Program May 16, 17. Partnership with CBR Master Naturalist Chapter and Charlottesville Astronomical Society. Music, sing-a-log and camp fire cookout.
  7. Camille anniversary recognition and dedication of VA Dept of Historic Resources Marker – Tuesday, August 19.
  8. Dog Agility Park steering committee formed – to be named Louie’s Place and requires a neighborhood capital fund drive for matching funds. Budget: $25,000.
  9. People Agility station trail – after dog Agility Park; budget $15,000.
  10. Croquet Court committee formed, court laid out, investigation continuing.
  11. Web site update – project of Bluewall LLC. Budget – in part donated.


  1. Undertake a county wide Environmental workshop – desired partners: Rural Nelson, Friends of Rockfish Watershed, VA Master Gardeners, Central blue Ridge Chapter VA Master Naturalist Chapter,VA Chapter The Nature Conservancy and Virginia Conservation Network.. Secure a professional facilitator, grant support. Outcomes: impact citizen awareness and channel energy for ordinance support in Nelson County. I have been asked to speak on opportunities for environmental outreach on May at the roundtable luncheon of grant makers May 6 at 11:45 PM for 20 minutes. Other part of program will be a presentation by Oak Hill Fund.
  2. 2. Create S. Rockfish Historic District to be recognized by state and federal agencies. Hope to enlist help of Bob Carter recently moved to the county, employee with VA DHR. Agency has already given verbal support.
  3. Obtain extended Scenic River designation – to extend the area of scenic designation already given to the rockfish to include area within S. Rockfish.
  4. Data Base building and preparation for late fall “first annual giving campaign”.
  5. Spring Fling Kite flying family day. Partnered with state and national kite flying organizations. Spring 2009.
  6. Plein Air Paint Out Fall 2009; planning committee identified

Grant prospects

Berkeley foundation – Dog Agility Park
Nelson Fund – people exercise stations – People Agility Park
Oak Hill fund, CACF and others – Environmental workshop

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce Charlotte Rea, a retired Army Colonel.. She and I became acquainted when she volunteered at the concept phase to help organize theCBR MN Chapter. We went thru the class together with her literally creating it and the chapter from A-Z. I believe if the RVF is to realize its potential we need to do two things – have a person to guide us organizationally and make sure we have the right Board of Trustees. Charlotte has agreed to attempt the former and I will be nominating Paul Davis, Chip Morgan and Hank Gibb as additional Trustees bringing the total to 12.

I firmly believe we are moving from the entrepreneurial phase of a one man show to the development phase of this organization. Our Mission is clear and our opportunity pretty good. At the meeting we will consider instituting active committees and considering goals for an annual campaign. The Foundation’s 501c3 permanent public status review is Spring 2009. If only money grew on trees!