The Boxerwood Vision Tree

By Catrien van Assendelft, Executive Director

We talk a lot about trees at Boxerwood, to our students, our guests, and among ourselves. There are many beautiful trees at Boxerwood, ones known to be frequently, literally, hugged. But we also have a new metaphorical tree on our minds lately – the Boxerwood vision tree which helps depict our thriving programs.

Imagine the trunk of our vision tree as our mission statement: To educate and inspire people of all ages to be environmentally responsible stewards of the earth. From that tree trunk grow three sturdy, flourishing branches – the avenues through which we fulfill our mission. These branches are our programs, themselves growing into multiple smaller branches.

  • Our educational programs reach over 2,800 preK-12 students throughout Rockbridge County. Our expertise in environment-based, project-based, STEM (Science – Technology – Engineering – Math) instruction, and learning wrapped in outdoor joy touches every public school child in the County multiple times during their school years. We also train teachers, provide adult workshops, and partner with like-minded organizations to reach all ages with our messages about caring for the earth.
  • Our garden programs include providing unique outdoor play spaces to the public, 15 acres of woodland gardens to wander and explore, a treasury of special plants, trees, and habitats, and demonstration sites showing stewardship solutions to landscape management challenges.
  • Our cultural events and programs encourage folks to enjoy the outdoors and inspire them to connect with each other and nature. Whether picnicking and dancing in the field during Music in the Garden, crafting fairy furniture with kids in spring, following the pumpkin trail through the woods in fall, or crafting nature-inspired gifts for the holidays, Boxerwood events help us all to experience the joys of interacting with nature.

These three branches, comprised of and leading into many smaller branches, bear the fruit we look for: environmental stewardship habits that build a thriving earth for us all. Recently, we strengthened the roots of our vision tree by protecting the Boxerwood property in perpetuity through a conservation and historical preservation easement, funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. For more details on the easement, CLICK

Now, when people ask what Boxerwood does, that apt image of a tree springs to mind, a tree that beckons us toward a flourishing future through our educational programs, our garden, and our events. We are able to do so with a small staff that includes just one full-time and 6 part-time employees, a robust group of volunteers and seasonal educators, and a growing base of donors. Thank you to all of our supporters!

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