Bei Bei and Copper

Bei Bei and Copper

Our March meeting will feature Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer, Chief Veterinarian at the Department of Conservation Medicine at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal. Dr. Aitken-Palmer has played a critical role in conserving the giant panda with her work in the United States and China. She will talk about her fascinating work and the future of the giant and the red pandas.

Dr. Aitken-Palmer is a graduate of Kansas State University and earned her DVM and Masters degree at Kansas State in 2003. She also holds a PhD. from the University of Maryland. She completed her zoological medicine residency at the University of Florida and is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Join us for this most interesting program – Wednesday, March 16 at 6 PM at Samuels Public Library, 330 E Criser Road in Front Royal.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park and the Friends of Samuels Library.


The Park needs a new green vehicle. To help provide efficient, environmentally aware service within theelectric cart Park, we need to purchase a used electric cart for the staff to use in servicing the cabins and RV park. Please visit our Facebook Page (link at the right) or go directly to our GoFundMe page to learn more about this effort. Please contribute what you can and forward these links to those you know who love the outdoors.

Rafting on the River

Gundalow, circa 1880. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

Gundalow. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

At a special February meeting of the Friends Patrick Farris, Director of the Warren Heritage Society, spoke about commercial boating on the Shenandoahs in the 1800s. Remarkable rafts, called gundalows, were used to transport goods on the river for many years before the railroad was built. Patrick’s presentation was informative and filled with his special humor. Visit the Heritage Society, 101 Chester St., Front Royal, to learn more about our great Valley.


At the Friends 2016 February meeting Hannah Bement spoke about vernal pools and their value to our ecosystem. A vernal pool is a form of temporary, freshwater wetland that contains water for a portion of the year and supports a fantastic array of wildlife and plants, some specially adapted for these habitats and many being rare

Typical Vernal Pool

Typical Vernal Pool

species in Virginia. The Park has a number of such pools along the Cottonwood Trail. We had a large turnout and Hannah’s presentation was most informative.

Hannah Bement is a science teacher at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal. She has degrees from the University of Akron and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science. Hannah loves being a teacher, working with children, and working to make our environment a better place. She is presently volunteering with the Virginia Vernal Pool Monitoring Program which will attempt to identify all vernal pools in Virginia. If you know of a possible vernal pool on public or especially private property Hannah would love to know about it – hannahebement@gmail.com


Savannah, Jake, and Jinny take a break. (Photo: Warren Sentinel)

Savannah, Jake, and Jinny take a break. (Photo: Warren Sentinel)

Jinny Fox, Secretary of our Friend’s group, and family dog, Jake, have another life. Jake is a 6-year-old Golden Retriever adopted by Jinny and Dick in 2012. With his gentle temperament and love of people, it became obvious that Jake was suited to becoming a “therapy dog.” After completing training, Jake now visits local elementary schools where children practice their reading skills by reading to him. Once a month he also participates in a youth reading program, Books and Barks, at Samuels Public Library in Front Royal. Children find it easy and fun to read to dogs, and Jake knows how to put them at ease with his goofy smile and relaxed persona. Jake also loves senior citizens who always enjoy his visits. Thanks Jake and Jinny for sharing and caring.


What a great beginning to the New Year! Over 90 folks started 2016 off right by hiking in the Park and enjoying refreshments provided by the Friends. It was a beautiful day.

2016 First Day Hikers

2016 First Day Hikers


2015 River Crew

2015 River Crew

Our September 2015 cleanup was a great success with over 50 participants. We split the crew and were able to cover a stretch upstream of the Indian Hollow bridge as well as the Park. Lots of trash – we filled 2 dump trucks. There was a large cache of tires near Hazard’s Mill and those canoes were really loaded.

Front Royal Canoe and Downriver Canoe generously gave us free use of the canoes.

This was a wonderful opportunity to meet our neighbors, help our community and enjoy a great day on the river. Check in July for our 2016 plans. This event is hosted by the Friends.


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