Down in the River

All our streams and rivers in Rockbridge find their way to the James, and then the Bay. As denizens of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it’s our job to take care of our waterways, we teach the kids, and the land that drains to those streams. So our five-hour programs connect children to their streams in all the ways we can. You’ll be geologists today, we say, and biologists, and chemists, plus poets and painters.


Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is a tree now listed as endangered in its native range, due to habitat loss, although it is a rather popular landscape tree in many parts of the world. In Asia, katsura grows together with dawn redwood (also planted at Boxerwood), and like dawn redwood, katsura trees once grew in North America and can be found in the fossil record.

Paper Vultures

A bunch of buzzards rising on thermals is not a flock, but a kettle. When they hang out together in a tree, that’s a committee. When they partake, that’s a wake. These are some of the fun facts you forgot to learn during the most recent iteration of the Boxerwood afterschool bird club at Enderly Heights Elementary School, but you learned something else, though, and here’s the story.

Atlas cedar

Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) is native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria, yet it also thrives here at Boxerwood. Also of note, ancient Egyptians used oils extracted from Atlas cedar wood for embalming, cosmetics, and incense. It is closely related to the Cedars of Lebanon of biblical fame.

The Eye

From the outside, it looks like another one of those mysterious Boxerwood brambly places: dark, tangly, inscrutable. But observing the Eye from the outside is not how to see it. The Eye is best apprehended from above, or from within.

Bottlebrush for pollinators

Bottlebrush buckeye is not common in American gardens, but it is a very popular ornamental plant in Great Britain (and was even awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit). In the wild, it grows in the shady forest understory.

The Frog Princes

So, we say to the 3rd grader: what can we do to help the frogs? Usually we work in small teams to plant grass on the eroded hill.  But sometimes—as in this story—we become engineers: we build stick palisades in the stream gullies.

A Native Tree Comes Home

This week, a story about dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), a species that vanished from this part of the world, was found growing in a secluded valley on the other side of the earth millions of years later, and now flourishes right here at Boxerwood.

How Boxerwood Got Its Name

Dear friend, whether you are eighty or eight, or somewhere in between, we’re going to tell you how Boxerwood came to be. And we’re going to tell you in the way we tell 3rd graders, pitched as they are between wonder and capability.