Thanks to a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia, and the hard work of a lot of other people, the Park is building a pollinator meadow on a 1.4 acre plot between the RV camping area and the Park cabins. This gentle hillside contains marginal soil, collected when the cabins were built, which is perfect for wildflowers.
By spring of 2019 the field will have been turned into a flowering wildflower habitat and feeding area for many species of pollinators. A pollinator is an animal that fertilizes plants by moving pollen from one flower to another. Insect pollinators include bees, wasps, ants, flies, mosquitoes, butterflies, moths, and beetles. Without pollinators many plants and foods would not exist. Pollinators are critical in the reproduction of many major food crops, including Virginia staples, apples and grapes. Other wildlife like rabbits, turkey, and deer can use the seeds and insects for food and can use the tall grasses for shelter. The meadow will also feature a bee habitat. Bees that help with pollination will have hives in the meadow that can be viewed by Park visitors. The hives will be protected from bears and other predators by electric fencing powered by a solar panel. There will be interpretive signage along grass trails and tables and benches that will allow opportunity for rest and study.
The meadow, originally proposed by Park manager Tony Widmer, became possible when the Garden Club of Warren County proposed that the Park apply for a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia, which has accumulated a fund dedicated to projects in Virginia State Parks. With help from the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park, the Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah, and Park staff a plan was developed and submitted. The field has been cleared of trees and bushes and, over the spring and summer, will be sprayed to remove vegetation that would inhibit wildflower growth. Seeding will be done this fall and flowers should be up in the spring of next year.
Over 60 hikers, and a half dozen four legged guides, greeted January 1 with lots of spirit and energy. With temperatures in the low 20s – but a bright, sunny sky – our well bundled group hiked from the Visitors Center to the Cullers overlook and back – quickly.
The Park Friends helped everyone warm up with hot chocolate, cider, and lots of home-baked cookies and breads.
A Park Ranger said that several small groups had hiked in the morning and more were expected in late afternoon. Great to see everyone starting the New Year happy and healthy. Wishing you a wonderful year – join us January 1, 2019!
Do you love the outdoors? Would you like to help preserve our natural environment while doing things you really enjoy?
The Friends of Shenandoah River State Park invites you to share our love of Andy Guest / Shenandoah River State Park.
Each year we spend time improving the park, helping with programs for visitors, and helping to improve the environment. We are always looking for new faces and fresh ideas.
The Park has many great opportunities to help – pick ones you would enjoy. Assist with the Junior Ranger program – conduct trail inspections – help with the annual river cleanup – assist with the Parks wild animal habitat – help develop a river interpretive trail – and many more! If fact, you can probably design your own way to volunteer. Check out opportunities on our Volunteer page. We hope to see you at the park!
Thanks to over 40 volunteers the South Fork of the Shenandoah between the Bentonville bridge and Shenandoah River State Park is much cleaner. On Saturday, September 30, National Public Lands Day, our intrepid crew took to the water and pulled out an estimated 1300 – 1500 pounds of trash – everything from the usual cans to an unusual air compressor.
Saturday started out a bit chilly but by noon the air was warmer and the crew members generated their own heat pulling out trash and urging their canoes through the very low, but warm, water. Front Royal Canoe and Downriver Canoe contributed the use of canoes, buses, and helpers. Several volunteers walked the Park trails and collected lots of debris. Thanks to all for all the help!
Put Next September on your calendars now – we’ll be back.
Congratulations to Friends members Hannah Bement and Karen Fall for
wins in the Shenandoah Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists, 2017 photo contest! Hannah took 1st place in the VMN in Action category for her “Viewing an Egg Mass” and Karen won 3rd place in the Landscape and Habitat category with her “Pastel Clouded Sunset” taken at Abrams Wetland Preserve in Winchester. Karen commented that she “was stunned by the pastel colors in the clouds, and the way the late afternoon sun coming through the lower clouds made it look like there was a forest fire. Unforgettable” CONGRATS!
2017 Junior Ranger Day Camp, for age 7-12, at Shenandoah River State Park was lots of fun and all the new Rangers have great information about our natural world. Special mention goes to a great birds of prey program presented by Jennifer Westhoff of Raptor Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The river float and discovery was a hit as always. Congratulations to you, Junior Rangers.
The Junior Ranger camp program at Shenandoah River State Park is a joint venture of the Park and the Friends with activities designed to enhance a child’s awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural environment. The camp is held the last week in July and repeats the first week in August. Check back here in early Summer for information about the 2018 camp.
The Friends also sponsor a self-guided Junior Ranger Program for children and their parents. A free Adventure Guide and kit is available at the Park visitor’s center.
On Sunday, May 21st, Friends spent an afternoon at Twin Creeks Llamas.
Our adventure began in the barn where we learned about llamas, where they came from, how to read their body language, and what those ears are saying. Yes, they do spit, but we where surprised as to when and why. We took a walk with Santiago, Coffee Bean, Pete, and Prince along the creeks and through the woods. We stopped along the way for a cookie and lemonade break and hand fed the llamas a special treat for a job well done. Each person had an opportunity to harness and lead the llamas.
The Parkmans have lots of options for a fun and informative day. If you are interested in a great family adventure, contact them at twincreeksllamas.com.