Place-Based Education


We encourage kids to play in the dirt. Put down the tablet and mobile phone and play outdoors. Spruce Creek Park is the perfect place to bring the whole family. Our extensive trail systems offer some of the best views in the value and are gentle enough your entire family can enjoy our story walks, native plants and birding.


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Why “Place-Based” Education?

Every place one visits is in the midst of its own unique story. It has its own unique past, shares its present with the visitor, and continues into the future long after the visitor has departed.

The Rockfish Valley Foundation is compelled by Nelson County places. During your visit, we invite you to immerse yourself in what you find here and be careful observers of your surroundings. Examine the stones beneath your feet, check the temperature of the Rockfish River, listen to the sounds of the bluebirds rustling in their boxes—keep an eye out for soaring eagles, inquisitive crows, or watchful red-tailed hawks.

At every turn, we invite you to ask yourselves: Why is this plant, animal, watercourse, or stone outcropping expressing in the way it is and not another? How are the things that I am hearing, seeing, and feeling the result of processes and events that occurred long ago?

We invite you to be curious, to ask questions, to wonder. Our job is to provide you with some things to think about as you wonder. If we do our job right, you will be able to discern the volcanic fury of hundreds of millions of years ago in the rocks, the symbiotic relationships that shaped the anatomies of flowering plants and pollinators, the origins and destiny of the water you hear as its makes its way to the Chesapeake Bay, and so much else.

Come Visit – Bring the Whole Family

Spruce Creek Park

If you have children you are going to love the park. Your kids are going to lean and play and love you for taking them there – and beg you to bring them back!

Rockfish Valley Trails

Open 365 days a year, the trials offer flat walking that isn’t strenuous. Walk for miles along the South Fork of the Rockfish river and take in the Blue Ridge mountains from the valley.

Natural History Center

CLOSED UNTIL APRIL. Open for special appointments.

The Mud Kitchen

A kitchen designed for any mess. 

This was the most fun part of our family trip to Nelson County, Virginia. The kids can’t stop talking about the Mud Kitchen!

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