The garden


The Boxerwood Education Association (BEA), manages the Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden as part of its mission: to educate and inspire people of all ages to be environmentally responsible stewards of the earth. In 2019, Boxerwood acquired and donated to the Virginia Board of Historic Resources a preservation and open-space easement on its Nature Center and Woodland Garden.  This easement protects in perpetuity the 15.46 acres of Boxerwood property and allows the BEA to continue promoting environmental stewardship.

Boxerwood pursues its mission and manages the property through the following major strategies:

  1. Protect the local and regional watersheds to which we belong, from Woods Creek to the Chesapeake.
  2. Ensure a resilient and healthy biotic community (flora and fauna) on our property.
  3. Implement pollution elimination strategies to protect our land, air, and water.
  4. Promote human-nature connections through inspirational and recreational activities outdoors.
  5. Facilitate stewardship actions in our local communities that pursue the same strategies above.

The Play Trail

a fenced-in acre of land designed for young children (ages 7 years and under) to explore nature and engage in unstructured free play. This area features play spaces created from natural materials and encourages imaginary play. Some of the structures include a Mud Kitchen with the “Dirty Bistro,” Dig to China (where children unearth “dinosaur bones”), Dales Creek, Tiny House Mountain, a Haiku Bird House, and our newest feature, The Roto-Rain Recycler. We incorporate the Play Trail in our Early Education Programs and also make it available to families free of charge.

play trail guidelines

  • Children must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or a designated caregiver who assumes full responsibility for their behavior and safety.
  • Visitors who are playing in a way that is not safe or friendly may be asked to leave.
  • The Play Trail is designed for children 7 years and younger. Older children are invited to explore the rest of the garden including the Fairy Forest.
  • Each area should be ready for the next visitors. Help your child “tidy up” — especially in the mud kitchen.
  • Small family groups of young children (10 or fewer) are welcome without advanced notice.
  • School visits may impact visitors and you may be asked to relocate to accommodate a learning opportunity.
  • Please refer to Boxerwood staff for advice.